For much of the global economy, “international” is at the core of business. The Fox editorial team caught up with Joan Allatta, the chair of the Department of Strategic Management, to talk about the value of an international business (IB) education and how the school has adapted its IB programs over the past year.
Allatta is a seasoned strategic management researcher and practitioner. She specializes in research on knowledge networks, organizational capabilities and communication technologies. She holds a PhD in Strategic Management, MA in Management and Applied Economics, MS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and BS in Marine Engineering Systems.
Why is international business housed in the Department of Strategic Management?
Our department is home to four areas of study: entrepreneurship, strategic management, international business and consulting. Strategic management focuses on the decisions faced by the firm’s top management team, like resource allocation, competitive positioning and implementation. IB is a natural fit because of its cross-disciplinary nature. You can’t think about international business without thinking about how to market overseas, how to manage human resources from different cultures, the potential of a global supply chain, or differences in currency, legal system or taxes. All of these disciplines need to come together to compete effectively overseas.
What can students in the undergraduate program expect?
In short, our IB programs offer educational experiences designed to arm students with the knowledge, perspective and confidence to thrive in the global workplace.
Students in our undergraduate IB programs learn about business and cultural differences across nations, either on our main campus, online or at one of Temple’s overseas campuses in Rome or Tokyo. Many travel to other countries as part of our immersion programs, intern while earning course credits, master foreign languages and engage in enriching activities to help build a global mindset.
The faculty and deans of the Fox School are also active members of CUIBE, or the Consortium for Undergraduate International Business Education. Temple was a founding member of this group of schools that share ideas that promote and foster innovation in IB teaching. Additionally, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) includes a “Global Mindset” as part of its accreditation process. The IB program supports that objective by educating students on the global nature of business.
What can graduate students gain from an advanced degree in international business?
At the graduate level, students are often looking to advance or build upon their careers, and some are looking for new career opportunities abroad. Employers consistently highlight the importance of a global perspective, derived from cross-cultural literacy skills, so an IB education strengthens the marketability of our graduates.
Have the faculty at the Fox School contributed to the field of international business?
Yes! The Fox School has been and is home to leading scholars in the field. Frank M. Speakman Professor Ram Mudambi is an Academy of International Business (AIB) fellow and prolific researcher. Washburn Chair Professor Masaaki ‘Mike’ Kotabe, who is also an AIB fellow, was the editor of the Journal of International Management (2002-2019) and president of Academy of International Business (2016-2017). We also are honored to have Laura H. Carnell Professors Jay Choi and Arvind Parkhe, and Laura H. Carnell Professor Emeritus Arvind Phatak. Our IB faculty provide leadership both in the school with our PhD students and in the field more broadly, which speaks to the high reputation of our program.
How has the program been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
By definition, international business is business that occurs across geographies. This generally requires virtual communication and coordination across distances. Our students get that. So, while the pandemic unfortunately stopped travel abroad, our IB students were still able to keep connected virtually.
What’s more, our faculty and staff have created a full, immersive experience for students with the non-curricular programs. Our International Business Association is a student professional organization that helps IB students network with corporate speakers and prepares them for global job opportunities. Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), a research center funded by the U.S. Department of Education, continued much of its programming to support research, curriculum development and outreach. Excitingly, the Fox School and CIBER co-sponsored a global certificate program, called Fox Without Borders, to give students and alumni the chance to immerse themselves in the culture, customs and business practices of a country without leaving their homes. This innovative program offers educational sessions combined with cultural activities like virtual coffee tastings, cooking classes and more.
In some cases, we are able to bring in high-caliber guests to speak from around the world that we otherwise may not have been able to hear speak. After the pandemic is over, the IB programs will continue to host select events virtually due to how accessible and successful they have been.
Our IB programs are strong because of our talented faculty, strong students and creative staff who, pandemic or not, innovate to meet continually changing needs of international businesses.
Learn more about the International Business program.