The Center for Global Business closed out the spring semester successfully with the completion of several thought-leadership initiatives and the launch of a new summer program. Although spring delivered unexpected disruptions due to COVID-19, the center remained committed to its mission of being the driving force behind global learning at Maryland Smith. Some highlights from the academic year thus far include the participation of over 900 Maryland Smith students in on-campus and study abroad programs, the safe return of 180 students from 19 different locations due to the global pandemic, $226,000 of scholarship funding awarded to students, and the launch of new initiatives designed to support students during a remote environment.
The center presented 31 live and virtual thought-leadership activities featuring a range of experts who covered some of the most significant global business trends of the year. The center also launched two new web-based series — The Global Pulse and the MAPIT Alliance export webinars series. The Global Pulse is a video series featuring Maryland Smith faculty providing commentary on trending international business topics and their significance, which now includes 26 videos and over 7,000 views. The MAPIT Alliance webinars, delivered in partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce, the U.S. Commercial Service, and the MD-DC District Export Council, provide technical assistance to support the export activities of Maryland companies during this global pandemic and connect companies with existing resources offered by partners in MAPIT. In the spring, the center also hosted several high-profile speakers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Speakers covered a range of trending international business topics such as global trade, workforce development, and climate change to name a few.
In March, the Center for Global Business acted quickly to safely return all 180 business students from study abroad programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon their return, the center supported the students in completing their academic semesters virtually and created a returnee toolkit to help students navigate their re-entry experience.
In response to the cancellation of both study abroad programs and many internship positions, and to support the economy of the state during the pandemic, the center developed a new international business summer program. The Global Marketing Virtual Internship program provides students with a globally-focused internship experience and Maryland companies with the talent to grow their export markets. Students were matched with local companies to help them find new customers abroad through eCommerce, website globalization, and market research. In its first year, the center received over 100 applications and matched 22 Smith students to work with nine Maryland companies for a 10-week internship this summer.
The center supported students by providing $226,000 in scholarship funding for their participation in programs including semester exchange study abroad, short-term study abroad, and the Global Marketing Virtual Internship program. In addition, the center partnered with Maryland Smith’s Office of Career Services to create a new workshop for study abroad returnees focused on leveraging their global mindset in a career setting.
“While the spring semester certainly presented unexpected challenges, the center was able to quickly respond to student and community needs and pivot our portfolio of activities to support them,” said Rebecca Bellinger, executive director of the Center for Global Business. “International education, for students as well as business leaders, is more important now than perhaps ever before, as it will take collaboration on a global level to overcome the pandemic crisis. The center will continue to deliver innovative, high-quality global business education to help our students and the business community adapt and succeed in the new normal.”
Visit CGB’s website to learn about our existing programs and upcoming events, read wrap-up stories, and watch videos of some of our thought-leadership initiatives that took place during the academic year.
— Santiago Luna, coordinator, Center for Global Business.