Austrian Students Study International Business at Montclair State

Business Administration students from Graz, Austria study and experience life in the United States through new Montclair State summer program.

Photo: Mike Peters

Steve Fastook, Vice President of Technical and Commercial Operations for CNBC (left) explains the workings of the company's headquarters to students from Karl Franzens University of Graz, Austria.

Representing the inaugural class in a new program created by Montclair State University’s Global Education Center and School of Business, 12 graduate students from Karl Franzens University of Graz, Austria spent the month of July at Montclair State studying international business, visiting companies in the area, and experiencing life and work in the United States.

The students, all of whom are studying Business Administration at Karl Franzens, joined U.S.-based Montclair State students in an International Business course, and worked side by side with them on various projects. In addition to classroom work, a major feature of the new program, called the “MBA and American Studies Program,” is the opportunity for the students to visit, attend presentations, and meet executives at a number of companies in the area. Some of the locations visited included the CNBC Studios and Macy’s Department Store in New York City, as well as Newark Liberty International Airport and JP Morgan Chase in Montclair.

The group also toured the United Nations and was honored with a private briefing given by Dr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, the Austrian Ambassador to the United Nations.

“The program is designed to provide an in-depth and well-rounded learning experience for the students from Karl Franzens,” explains Chandana Chakraborty, chair of the Department of International Business and one of the developers of the program. “It augments classroom instruction with site visits, and the opportunity for the students to interact with American executives in a variety of businesses.”

In keeping with the idea of a well-rounded learning experience, all is not work for the Austrian visitors. In addition to excursions to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the group toured the Federal Reserve and the city of Philadelphia. Their schedule also included the chance to experience traditional American pastimes such as a New Jersey Jackals baseball game and the Montclair Township Independence Day fireworks.

Although the MBA and American Studies Program is new, Montclair State has had a long-standing relationship with Karl Franzens University and the city of Graz. According to Marina Cunningham, executive director of the Global Education Center, the relationship began nearly 60 years ago and has grown to encompass faculty and student exchanges, as well as a Sister City program between Montclair and Graz.

“This summer program is part of our recent academic expansion with Karl Franzens University,” says Cunningham. “We are planning for this program to be an annual event and have a corresponding program for our MBA students.”

Among the University faculty involved in the program were Department of International Business professors Dong-Kyoon Kim, CN Jayachandran, Ikechi Ekeledo, and Luis Portes who taught courses and accompanied the students on their field trips, as well as Department of Broadcasting professors Marc Rosenweig and Patricia Piroh who arranged the visit to CNBC and accompanied the students there.

In addition to earning 3 academic credits for the program, the students from Graz will return home with a better understanding of the United States and international business. They will also return with the benefit of their many new experiences, and a wealth of memories of their time at Montclair State.