Briefing: AU’s MBA Program offers four concentrations: international business, new venture development, finance and leadership. Shana Clatterbuck and Jill Guion, assistant directors of the MBA programs, weigh in on our first-ever round table.
Q: We’re here today to talk about our international business concentration. But first, I have to ask—what is your experience with the AU MBA Program? How did you become our experts?
Jill: We are both alumni of the MBA Program—
Shana: I’m technically an alumna of the RMBA Program and Jill is an alumna of the traditional MBA Program.
Jill: But we’re both assistant directors too, so it’s our job to learn and know about the program.
Shana: We advise students on what their concentration entails, too.
Q: Ok, a bit of context. What exactly is a concentration?
Shana: It’s like a specialty.
Jill: It actually prepares an individual with a few more of the tools necessary to succeed in an increased international environment. Each concentration is specifically designed—
Shana: To work in that niche.
Q: If you could describe this concentration in two words, what would they be?
Shana: International business.
Jill: I don’t really have two words – it’s so much more than two words can adequately describe.
Q: What makes international business unique?
Jill: With the advancement of technology, all businesses either have gone global or will be going global. It is also important to have an understanding of the way other cultures do business.
Shana: Some of the curriculum is different too. You go on a trip internationally. You get hands-on experience with international companies and learn in real time what it’s like to work abroad.
Q: What can someone do with an MBA in international business?
Shana: Well, no matter where graduates work, they’ll be better equipped to help companies—especially smaller companies. But this helps give companies an edge because the graduates can bring in new perspectives and maybe even new target markets.
Jill: This concentration is only a few years old, so there isn’t a huge database of where our graduates have gone since it’s so new and there are so few of them thus far. But graduates do have a heightened awareness and sensitivity of the cultures of different areas in the business world.
Q: If everyone got an international business concentration, what would the program look like?
Shana: Everybody would be taking the same classes, sort of unidirectional. The program would just look different. One of the reasons we have concentrations is because we can bring in different angles. Maybe someone with a finance concentration can look at a plan someone else made and say, “There’s no way that would look good.”
Jill: All of the traditional MBA program includes an international component already. I think one of the biggest differences would be that the international trip would be really large. I mean, 125 people would be taking a trip together. And you’d need to change something with the faculty. Our faculty is split between the MBA Program and their responsibilities with undergraduate students at the Falls School of Business, so that would have to be navigated.
Shana: But there are probably not 125 people right now who want a concentration in international business. The point of a concentration is to allow a small group of students to pursue interesting, relevant topics so we can meet the smaller needs within the group.
Thanks, ladies! I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me.