Business Alumni Competition for Support

Award applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis.


Enhance your career and company’s competitiveness by applying to the Center for Global Business’s Business Language Opportunity, provided in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education, today.

The Center for Global Business (CGB) is actively seeking to support alumni from the State of Maryland University System who are in global business positions in which enhancing their foreign language skills will advance their career and/or support the growth of their respective company. Though English is a common language in business, acquiring and mastering a foreign language leads professionals to greater career opportunities and a competitive advantage when doing business abroad. Language competency can be the gateway to understanding cultural and societal norms and will lead companies to success with international clients.

Who is eligible?

  • Alumni of the Maryland University System alumni with a graduate date of three years prior to the date of application (i.e. 2017 or prior).
  • Eligible applicants who are employed full time in an industry position that is comprised of business activities that involve cross-border transactions of goods or services, or, production and operations in several countries.
  • Eligible applicants can be a beginner up to professionally proficient in the language of their choosing as long as their intent in learning is to help advance their professional career and/or industry.
  • Alumni who have not received the award in the past two years.

How do I apply?

  • Applicants must complete the application, which includes the selection of language, language program preference, the rationale for their language choice, and an explanation of how acquiring additional language proficiency will enhance their career, support their industry, and advance U.S. competitiveness.
  • Applicants must include a resume and a letter of support from a supervisor or human resource representative of their company (please contact the Smith School Center for Global Business if this does not apply).
  • Application materials should be sent in one e-mail message to Marina Augoustidis, associate director, at

What happens once I’ve been awarded?

  • Once applicants are notified of their expected award, they will be asked to submit the program description/syllabus and information for the program point of contact to CGB. (Chosen language program must be offered in-person or online but cannot be conducted through CD-ROM or applications through smartphones and/or tablets.)
  • Upon verification of the program by CGB, recipients will be responsible for enrolling themselves (this includes payment upfront) in the approved language program.
  • Upon enrollment, award recipients should submit their registration confirmation to CGB.
  • The monetary award will be provided by reimbursing the recipient. Once recipients approach the halfway mark of their instruction, they will notify CGB, sign an honorarium form, and provide W-9 documentation. The award money will then be reimbursed up to and not more than $750.00. If the program fee is less than $750, the reimbursement amount will be the equivalent of the cost of the program.

Are there any conditions of accepting the award?

Award recipients will agree to submit one deliverable to CGB:

  • Upon completion of instruction, learners will submit an updated two-page document reflecting on how the experience has impacted them professionally and how a program such as this can promote U.S. business abroad.

Is there a timeline for completion?

Yes, the awards are offered on a biannual basis. The timeline is as follows:

  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis within the deadline identified.
  • Awards will be announced on a rolling basis throughout that period.
  • The timeline of programs for each individual may vary but they can begin as soon as they are verified by CGB or later, but programs must culminate by August later that year (specific dates will vary for each award winner).
  • Reimbursement is provided depending on when each instruction is halfway through its course.
  • The final impact report will be provided to CGB one month after instruction is completed which is dependent on each course.

Language Provider and Program Examples

Berlitz Training Solutions

A web-based option that brings live instruction to anyone’s desktop using the Berlitz Method and course materials as traditional face-to-face instruction. BVC can take place anytime, anyplace. It features live instruction and real-time interaction with a highly-trained native fluent Berlitz instructor and other learners. Curricula can be customized to suit the needs of the learner’s industry.

International School of Languages

The International School of Languages currently provides adult group classes to learn a variety of different world languages. All programs are taught by experienced teachers of the foreign language with an educational background and at least one year of experience. All classes are small, between 2 and 6 students, which lends the opportunity to work in a more personable way with each student in-class to make sure everybody is making progress and have consistency in their knowledge of the foreign language. Classes meet once a week for 1.5 hours or 2 hours. Sessions are ongoing and students may join at any time as long as their proficiency level meets the level of the class.

CIBE Background

The CIBE at the Smith School of Business is one of 15 federally-funded programs located at universities across the US. The CIBE grant was created by Congress under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 to increase and promote the nation's capacity for international understanding and competitiveness. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI, Part B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the CIBE network links the manpower and technological needs of the United States business community with the international education, language training, and research capacities of universities across the country.

At its core, the CIBE grant at the Smith School of Business emphasizes the importance of foreign language in business to advance the competitiveness of U.S. industry in a global marketplace. For these reasons, CGB encourages language and area studies education for business students here at the Smith School and in the region, faculty development, and industry professionals in international business.

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