A delegation from Nichols partner European University—a growing international business school with campuses in Munich, Barcelona, and Geneva—descended on the Nichols campus on Friday, October 19th.
The visit included a meeting with Nichols undergraduates interested in studying abroad; lunch with the College’s Board of Trustees and Board of Advisors; and a brainstorming session with Nichols faculty to explore new initiatives for the five-year-old exchange program between the two institutions.
“Right now, some of the Nichols students who come to us are some of our most valuable assets,” says European University President Dirk Craen. “We’re looking at how we might do more business together.”
At the heart of the current program is the opportunity simultaneously to earn dual undergraduate degrees, a B.A. or B.S. from Nichols and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from European University.
“It’s a two-way street,” explains Tom Cafaro, Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing at Nichols. “Nichols students can spend the first two years at the Dudley campus and a third abroad at one of the EU campuses and come back to Nichols for their final year.” The schedule works in reverse for EU students.
Both institutions are working on extending their collaboration. Some ideas under consideration include having students on both sides of the Atlantic tackle case studies via videoconference, developing a course in Reputational Management, and adding a dual-MBA program.
“We really believe that this partnership gives a real-world value to our students,” Cafaro points out. “Global concerns are entering into even small businesses,” which, he says are benefiting from an increase in international trade, including the prominent role of the Internet in commerce.
The visit by the EU officials to Nichols was preceded Thursday by a tour of the Massachusetts State House in Boston and a session with a representative from the International Chamber of Commerce to discuss the knowledge and skill set needed by graduates in today’s international business world.
The EU administrators were feted that night with a reception and dinner at the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester.
Nichols also is exploring a separate collaborative program in Lithuania, and Cafaro will visit the capital city Vilnius this spring. Cafaro also hopes in the coming years to forge an academic partnership with a Russian university.
The International Business program at Nichols has already begun to make inroads into South America. Last May, Department Chair Marcus Goncalves led almost a dozen graduate students on a 10-day trip to the coastal Brazilian city of Victoria.
There they studied international business practices at Salesian University while making site visits to well-established Brazilian companies. Goncalves is looking to extend the arrangement with Salesian College, which has campuses throughout Brazil, and he figures that the 10-day program could become a fixture during Nichols’ spring break.