Michigan State University has a long tradition of commitment to international business. Serving as the guiding force for this commitment is the Broad College’s International Business Center.

With connections to more than 170 countries and its status as the only Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in Michigan (and one of the 15 centers in the U.S.) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education, the IBC is a global leader and MSU’s epicenter for international business.

Beyond running MSU’s international business minor, IBC systematically works with faculty to secure grants for international research and teaching, assists public policy makers and facilitates a global mindset in all Broad Spartans.

Notably, IBC has held a prominent role with the Academy of International Business, the premier global community of international business scholars. Since 2004, IBC has served as AIB’s home base, earning MSU the title as the longest running university to do so.

With this role comes the responsibilities of managing AIB’s operations, three journals, 13 chapters, 3,500 members and its annual conference.

Hosting a global conference online

This year’s AIB conference, “How Crossing Borders Changes Business,” posed a special challenge as it was the first in AIB’s 60-year history to be held completely online. The conference site typically rotates around the world, being hosted at different universities after 15–18 months of planning. This year, IBC staff pulled the entire event together in a virtual format within two months.

“As president of the AIB, I have long been aware of the exceptional dedication of [Broad College IBC] staff, but I have to say that their achievement this year has exceeded the most optimistic expectations I could have had,” AIB president Jeremy Clegg said in a letter to Dean Sanjay Gupta.

“The achievement of your IBC has attracted considerable admiration and enhanced the reputations of the Eli Broad College of Business, your University and AIB,” Clegg added.

Professional headshot of Tunga Kiyak, executive and managing director of AIB and fixed-term faculty of marketing at the Broad College of Business

Tunga Kiyak, executive and managing director of AIB and fixed-term faculty in the Department of Marketing

From July 1–9, more than 1,250 people from 63 countries attended the 2020 AIB conference, marking the second highest participant count in AIB’s history and another accolade for IBC.

“The event was widely regarded as a big success, not only for being able to deliver quality content in a virtual space but also for some of its innovations in addressing the disadvantages of an online event,” Tunga Kiyak, executive and managing director of AIB and fixed-term faculty in the Department of Marketing, said.

Kiyak and his team, who have planned the AIB conference for the past 16 years, were pivotal in making this year a success, ensuring that the conference was time-zone neutral with sessions running 24/7 for nine days and recordings made available to participants.

Kiyak explained that the conference was wide-ranging and multidisciplinary, with 50 panels and over 500 paper presentations given through YouTube and Vimeo. There were editors from 16 different business journals present to answer questions through “Meet a Journal Editor” sessions, along with preconference developmental workshops and one-on-one video conference meetings.

There was also a special portion of the conference that examined COVID-19 and its impact on international business, international trade and teaching.

Growing MSU’s global ties

“Through the work of dedicated individuals here at the Broad College and our IBC, we have achieved our status as a global leader for international business, which has been illustrated by the exceptional results of the recent AIB annual conference,” Dean Sanjay Gupta said.

“I am particularly proud of my IBC colleagues who continue to lead the Broad College through such unique and distinguished opportunities, hosting and engaging with global organizations and bringing these connections to the broader MSU community.”

Ahmet Kirca

Ahmet Kirca, director of IBC and MSU-CIBER and associate professor of international business and marketing

Gupta noted that IBC’s role in hosting the AIB annual conference is not a stand-alone effort; the Broad College continues to play a role in hosting global events of this caliber. MSU is one of three universities worldwide to cohost the Global Management Accounting Research Symposium and is home to the Global Hospitality Business Organization, for example.

Looking ahead, the Broad College is on track to further grow its own and MSU’s international stature and has recently named a new director for IBC and MSU-CIBER: Ahmet Kirca, associate professor of international business and marketing.

Kirca took over as interim director of IBC last October. Now, he is looking forward to fully taking on the role of director and expanding IBC’s impact on both a local and global scale.

“As the new director for the IBC and MSU-CIBER, my main objectives will focus on enhancing IBC’s impact locally and globally by building stronger relationships with our internal and external partners,” Kirca said.

Under his leadership over the past nine months, IBC successfully continued its mission to support faculty, students, public policy makers and the business community, consistent with the strategic priorities of the Broad College. In addition, IBC launched a quarterly newsletter to share information on its global initiatives and improve communication among partners.

Gupta added, “I believe that under Dr. Kirca’s leadership, the IBC will play an even greater role in building on its mission of outreach and engagement while expanding our education abroad programs, strengthening the theme of global mindset throughout the curriculum, creating new global partnerships, expanding our relationships with other colleges at MSU, enhancing support for international research and securing additional external funding for the Center.”