School of Business Strengthens South American Connections

The School of Business is enhancing its international presence with two South American initiatives. One builds on a 20-year relationship with an Argentinian university and another began in January with a school based in São Paolo, Brazil.

Argentina’s Universidad Del Salvador

The School of Business has a long history with the Universidad Del Salvador, the oldest private university in Argentina. For more than twenty years, UAlbany business faculty have visited Buenos Aires to teach finance, management and information technology. In the 1990s, UAlbany assisted in the development of the USAL MBA program.

When Interim Dean Hany Shawky offered to teach a class in research methods at USAL in October 2017, he recognized opportunities for collaboration. He immediately spearheaded efforts to expand and strengthen the connection. While in Argentina, Dr. Shawky met with Rector Juan Alejandro Tobias, Vice Rectora Luciana Tondello, and Decano Hector Damato to discuss the development of the UAlbany-USAL partnership and the potential for research collaborations.

A relationship with Argentina, and with USAL in particular, is advantageous for UAlbany. “Argentina is emerging as an important regional partner for U.S. business. USAL is a large, comprehensive university with a robust business program and a strong reputation in Argentina,” said Shawky, “a student and faculty exchange program would be great for both schools.”
Interim Dean Hany Shawky with USAL Vice Rectora Luciana Tondello

Two USAL-UAlbany initiatives are currently underway, while another two are in the planning phase. Supporting the efforts of UAlbany professors who visit USAL each year, the 20-year ad-hoc teaching relationship has been formalized. UAlbany School of Business faculty are responsible for a significant part of the MBA curriculum, 20% of the total course hours of USAL’s programs.

This summer Universidad Del Salvador MBA students will spend ten days at UAlbany, learning about U.S. business and then leaving the classroom to visit companies in the Capital Region and New York City.

One proposal in the works is a 2-2 undergraduate degree in business, in which USAL students spend two years at their home institution and two at UAlbany to earn their business degrees. Another project is a 10-day international experience for students in the Financial Analyst Honors Program.

USAL Vice Rector Tondella visited the School of Business in February to sign an MOU formalizing the relationship. She was impressed with the diversity of programs at UAlbany and is exploring further opportunities for collaboration.

Brazil’s International Business School

Eighty young business managers traveled to the University at Albany from Brazil, Argentina and eight other countries for a three-week training program during winter break. This is the first time UAlbany has opened its doors to the International Business School.

Each day began with English language instruction and ended with business classes. To complement coursework, students visited Capital Region businesses: Transfinder, GE Renewable Energy, Vicarious Visions, Regeneron and Wealth Advisory Group. They also took advantage of UAlbany’s close proximity to New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston, touring on the weekends. Many also went skiing and saw snow for the first time.

Raul Sarkissian of Florianópolis, Brazil, came to UAlbany, “looking to improve my business skills and to look for job opportunities in the U.S.” Sarkissian is in his seventh semester as a mechanical engineering student at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, in Florianópolis.

Francisco McCluskey of Buenos Aires noted that the professors at UAlbany are more involved with students than his Argentinian professors are. “That interaction with professors is the main difference,” he said.

More than a half dozen School of Business professors offered classes. Finance faculty Louis Piccotti and Rita Biswas, management faculty Paul Miesing, Bob Downey and Rich Johnson and marketing faculty Ioannis Kareklas and Gopal Sundaramoorthy taught classes in strategic thinking, marketing, finance and project management, while familiarizing the students with U.S. business practices.

International Business School Dean Daniel Pitelli de Britto joined his students for the entire three-week program. “We bring this opportunity to more than 2,000 students per year from more than 70 countries. One of our goals is to change lives through education. We do that by offering the opportunity for students who thought they could never study abroad. Partners like UAlbany collaborate with us in this great mission.”

The university expects to host the students again in 2019.

UAlbany School of Business management faculty Paul Miesing (far left)and Bob Downey (far right) with IBS students on a company visit to Regeneron