03/02/07

For the second consecutive year, a group of graduate business students from India spent two weeks learning at Saint Mary's and touring various Bay Area businesses. The Custom Executive Education Program allowed students from the Pillai's Institute of Management Studies and Research in Mumbai, India, to experience America and its teaching styles.

"We came to learn about business strategies and new technology," said Kishore Raju, who is pursuing a master's degree in international business. "The sites we have visited have shown us a more international side of business. Plus, we love the climate here."

Students visited global giants such as Yahoo! and Microsoft during their first week in America, and attended a series of lectures by Saint Mary's faculty members.

"I really liked (Associate Dean of Saint Mary's Graduate Business Department) Guido Krickx's talk because one of the subjects we covered in our first semester was strategy, and we got to hear about it from an American perspective," said first year MBA student Elvis Pink. "We love the American style of teaching. It's been a great experience."

The graduate business department helped keep costs affordable for the 25 exchange students by providing some meals and arranging the most inexpensive transportation. Saint Mary's is now trying to set up a trip for Saint Mary's business students to travel to India, and plan to continue the annual two-week trip to Moraga for the Indian students.

"We're kind of in the beginning stages of the program," Associate Professor Linda Herkenhoff said. "We feel it is important to give students global knowledge in all aspects."

The College's connections with Bay Area companies allowed the Indian students to visit key business leaders and experience business on a global level.

"For us, exposure is important," said first year MBA student Girish Gopalkrishnan. "The trip shows us how American business is run."

An exchange program that will offer Saint Mary's graduate business students the opportunity to travel to Barcelona to study and visit Spanish businesses this summer is now being finalized, and an exchange program with Austria may also be in the future.

"By having students come to our campus we hope to develop better global business leaders," Herkenhoff said. "In the true sense of the Lasallian mission, we hope through this outreach to enable Indian students to gain a better understanding of our culture, while at the same time allowing our professors, alumni and students to do the same."

--Kevin Damore
Office of College Communications

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