Amid a rapidly evolving corporate landscape, international perspectives beyond the classroom can provide future business leaders with rich cultural experiences and enhance their global mindset. With access to over 260 programs across more than 60 countries, Broad Spartans can tap into education abroad experiences that not only span continents but also integrate a global perspective into their education.
Here at the Broad College, we encourage all students to engage in education abroad opportunities during their time at Michigan State. Students who participate often find that stepping outside of their culture and experiencing daily life in a foreign country influences their career and educational choices, increasing self-confidence, deepening cultural awareness and laying a foundation for a rewarding international learning experience.
“Education abroad at the Broad College [is] a pivotal element in cultivating a global mindset among our students,” Guanglong Pang, assistant director of education abroad, said. “As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it’s imperative that our students have ample opportunities to integrate global learning experiences into their academic journey.”
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Thanks to generous and ongoing support from many Broad alumni, the college can continue providing exceptional opportunities for an even greater number of students to engage in education abroad. Tamara Steffens (B.A. Marketing ’85), managing director at Thomson Reuters, serves as a member of the college’s Advisory Board and has given a total of $100,000 to support education abroad opportunities at Broad.
“Championing study abroad with the Broad College is an investment in nurturing students’ ability to cultivate a global perspective and foster cultural empathy, two essential pillars for achieving success not only in the realm of business but also in life itself,” Steffens said.
For some, giving back means supporting something they got to do while they studied at MSU, having experienced the transformative impact of education abroad firsthand. Jerry Jonckheere (B.A. Accounting ’81), retired partner at Plante Moran, said, “My overseas term abroad to Rotterdam was my first trip outside of the Midwest and ignited a love of travel. The term was a huge factor in my future career in international taxation, as well as a love of travel that my children have.” He has given $250,000 to the college’s education abroad programs.
In addition, Brad Lazorka (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’96), CFO of Canam Steel Corporation, and his wife, Cassandra, gave $50,000 in May. Brad noted that as an undergraduate, he wanted to study abroad but it was not financially feasible for him, which inspired him to give back.
“During an MSU visit, my wife and I met with the program director, Sarah Scott,” he said. “We felt her passion, energy and commitment toward the study abroad program and were impressed with the amazing curriculum … we were sold.”
The unwavering support from our alumni is already having an immediate impact on Broad Spartans. For example, Steffens’ gift is providing scholarship money for students to participate in a select number of programs each semester. This summer, thanks to that scholarship, marketing senior Hayley Saste became the first Spartan to participate in a global exchange program in Germany.
“This program was located in Vallendar, Germany, which is about two miles from Koblenz, one of the most history-rich cities in all of Germany,” Saste said of her time at the Otto Beisheim School of Management (WHU). She cherished the opportunity to “not only explore the art of business management and international exchange but [also] the opportunity to meet and discuss real-life scenarios with some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs from all over the world.”
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Looking ahead to the spring semester, a further three Broad students have received scholarships from Steffens’ gift to study at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and at the Católica Porto Business School in Porto, Portugal.
“Tamara’s generosity has been critical to allowing the college to offer targeted scholarships to encourage applications to new semester partner programs at leading universities around the world,” Sarah Scott, Walters Family Director of Education Abroad, said. “Word of mouth is so important to students’ decisions, but the promise of a very generous scholarship encourages students who are on the fence about a new location. For example, in the coming year, students applying to study at the National University of Singapore and the University of Nicosia in Cyprus can look forward to benefitting from this gift.”
Saste also works with Pang as an education abroad student ambassador, a program that was made possible through a gift from alumni Peter and Carol Walters. Their support also created an endowed fund for education abroad at Broad and deepens our impact going forward.
To ensure students have meaningful experiences, the Broad College continues to align our offerings with the ever-changing demands of the business world. Take, for instance, a program launched in spring 2023 that gives students a close-up look at a critical supply chain artery: the Panama Canal. The program, led by Justin Jagger, fixed-term faculty member in the Department of Supply Chain Management, is an immersive one-week experience filled with site visits and real-life exposure.
Jagger underscores the importance of his new program by emphasizing the benefits: “Education abroad is the most important thing we can do to promote global learning. I think we have a tremendous responsibility to get our students to interact socially and culturally.”
In addition, a program dedicated to social entrepreneurship will launch in spring 2024, led by Beth Hammond, managing director of the Center for Ethical and Socially Responsible Leadership. Venturing to Cambodia, this opportunity is a partnership between the Broad College and MSU’s College of Social Science, providing students with the chance to meet business professionals who have put their acumen into action to disrupt and address social problems in their community.
“Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in southeast Asia, and together with its complex history, this makes it a very interesting place to learn about business practices, a global mindset and the intersection of business and social responsibility,” Hammond said. She intends for students to “learn about ethics and social responsibility and how these values intersect with business practices and being a business leader…. Our students will be inspired to use the skills and knowledge they gain by being MSU students to make a positive difference in the community they choose to call home after they graduate.”
Education abroad is one of the best ways for students to gain insights into the world and to expand their global mindset. With generous support from dedicated alumni and friends, the Broad College of Business is able to deliver exceptional experiences for Broad Spartans.