SHU partnerships allows students from around the world to study in Austria

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — As educational institutions restart their international exchanges after COVID-19 lockdowns, MCI: The Entrepreneurial School in Innsbruck, Austria, and the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University have leveraged their collaboration agreement to mount an innovative way to engage students to study abroad. In late May, the two institutions fashioned a blended class in organizational behavior. In this class, 10 students from Seton Hall, led by Seton Hall dean emerita professor Karen Boroff, joined with a group of 12 students from MCI.

“In the class were students from Germany, Spain, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Thailand and the United States. The discussion of topics such as leadership, motivation, job values, and more was incredibly enriched by the cultures and experiences of students from around the world,” Boroff said. “While textbooks regularly address topics of global implications of concepts, our students were able to apply immediately these concepts from the rich dialogue they had with each other.”

Ondřej Pešek, the International Short Programs coordinator at MCI, said, “It was a pleasure to support such a project. It underlines our strategy of current business issues and intercultural aspects.”

Susanne Lichtmannegger, head of international relations at MCI, oversaw the orientation for all students, providing them with insights about MCI and Austrian culture. 

“It was so exciting to restart in-person orientation and we welcomed our colleagues from Seton Hall in this novel approach to exchange relationships. The model was a first for us and has not been replicated elsewhere,” she said, noting that MCI recently earned top global rankings and accolades for its international orientation for its academic experience from U-Multirank, an organization under the auspices of the European Commission that evaluates international universities. “Our latest blended class structure is just another way MCI continues to be at the forefront of offering superb international educational experiences.”

The entire experience was structured so that students attended classes over five days, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., from May 30 to June 3. They were on their own during evenings and lunch breaks. Seton Hall students appreciated the ability to set their own arrangements to travel to Innsbruck and to find lodging that best suited their needs. 

“MCI in Innsbruck was the perfect location to study,” said Robert Callahan, a rising Seton Hall senior majoring in sport management and marketing. “The city was incredibly easy to navigate and the cultural and natural settings were beautiful.” 

Fellow student Danielle Sikowitz, who is studying for her MBA in international business, at first wondered whether not knowing how to speak German would be a barrier, but soon learned that the city and fellow MCI students were bilingual. 

“I found my favorite cafe in two days and felt at home quickly,” she said.

In addition to everything else, Seton Hall rising senior and finance major Miguel Mendez Perulles said that the timing for the course was perfect. 

“I was able to immerse myself in an international experience, visit nearby cities like Munich, and still have the summer months to pursue my internship back home,” he said. 

Along with his classmates, rising junior Ehsan Mirzai, who is majoring in mathematical finance and finance, easily traveled to Italy with fellow students for a boat ride in the Dolomites. 

“Of course, seeing the Alps just outside your classroom window was awesome,” he said.

MCI exchange student Guntinun Bonkrathok, who joined the program from Thailand, enjoyed the course and praised Boroff’s lectures. 

“She structured the class well and always encouraged discussions. She was very supportive and was always available to her students,” Bonkrathok said.