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Career Calling 

Eighty international students studied business, business English and visited local businesses over winter break.

Paul Miesing and Bob's Downey's class of international business students visiting Regeneron over winter break.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 22, 2018) – Francisco McCluskey of Buenos Aires grew up in Argentina and always wanted to study abroad. He finally got the opportunity – to study at the University at Albany.

McCluskey was one of 80 international students from Brazil, Argentina and eight other countries who joined a three-week training program for young international business managers over winter break. This is the first time UAlbany has offered the program, which is a partnership with the International Business School in São Paolo, Brazil.

While waiting for Paul Miesing and Bob Downey’s class on strategic thinking in business to start, McCluskey said the professors at UAlbany are more involved with students than his Argentinian professors are. “That interaction with professors is the main difference,” he said.

As class started, Miesing explored some of the challenges faced by companies looking to expand a product globally. “What happens if you go to a country and these customers have a different demand,” he said. “And what if you go back to headquarters and they don’t listen to you?”

What sells in one country may not sell in another.

He noted how a company needs to learn the culture of the country before introducing a new product for sales.

Another student in the class, 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.

Sarkissian and McCluskey said they value how the professors here weave into their lessons current examples of how businesses are solving real-life problems.

“This is a great opportunity [for UAlbany] to broaden our international reach and to introduce these students from many disciplines to the latest business practices in the U.S.,” said Associate Vice Provost for International Education Mark Rentz of the Center for International Education & Global Strategy.

In addition to the strategic track, the international business students could take marketing, finance and project management with UAlbany business professors.

“Every morning the students spent three and a half hours with excellent UAlbany business professors,” said Rentz, “and in the afternoon they improved their business English with teachers from UAlbany’s Intensive English Language Program (IELP). Then, at the end of the week, they visited top local companies to learn from experts in these fields.”

The students went to Transfinder, GE Renewable Energy, Vicarious Visions, and Regeneron and Wealth Advisory Group in visits arranged by UAlbany Director of Community and Economic Development Matt Grattan.

“The opportunity to enrich these international students’ experience by visiting some of our most dynamic businesses in the Capital Region is what makes this program so invaluable,” Grattan said. “It shows our industry partners that UAlbany is a globally engaged university and we wish to thank those businesses for opening their doors to these students.”

International Business School Dean Daniel Pitelli de Britto joined his students for the entire three-week program. “We have been offering international programs to young students and senior executives since 2003 in several areas of business management, giving them a great opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural and business environments of host countries such as the U.S., England, Italy and Brazil, bringing 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 students also took advantage of the weekends and the close proximity to New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston. Many also went skiing and saw snow for the first time.

A few weeks later, another group of 19 graduate students, this time from Shandong Normal University in Jinan City, Shandong Province, China, came to campus to take classes in the IELP, including English for American art, film and history. IELP is looking to host more English programs in the future with University departments specializing in business, art and computer science.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.