Joint Master's Degree Mixes Business, Languages

Joint Master's Degree Mixes Business, Languages

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

The Carroll Graduate School of Management and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences have established a joint master's degree program that offers an advanced, integrated blend of management and foreign language education.

Developed by the Romance Languages and Literatures Department and CGSOM, the Master of Business Administration-Master of Fine Arts in French, Hispanic and Italian Studies degree program is now accepting candidates for the 2000-2001 academic year. Program administrators cite a strong interest among students in their respective schools for a degree with considerable practical applications in a global marketplace.

"We have superb business school contacts overseas, but students must have strong language skills to utilize them," said Romance Languages Chairwoman Assoc. Prof. Laurie Shepard. "Business executives speak about a greater need for language skills, even more than computer or personal skills."

The administrators point out, however, that the new degree should not be thought of as a language enrichment program for business students.

"Most of the students in our MBA program do not have strong business backgrounds," said CGSOM Curriculum and Research Director Jeffrey Ringuest. "Furthermore, not everyone has an opportunity to study abroad during his or her undergraduate years. So what we've tried to do is offer these students a way to sharpen their marketing and management aptitude and acquire a broad knowledge and understanding of the language and culture in their area of specialization.

"This is also a good avenue for students with a language background to enhance their career options beyond teaching or interpreting," he added.

Early on in the program, students take MBA-related courses in which they create business plan projects, do consulting or other related work. Since MBA students typically are matched with their interests, Ringuest notes, a candidate in the joint degree program might, for example, research a company planning an international marketing venture in Latin America or Europe.

The language and culture component of the program includes a core of literature courses that focus on strengthening writing skills, Shepard said. She added that all master's candidates in the department must take a reading exam in a non-native language.

"This is a rigorous program," Shepard said, "but from all indications, it will have a great appeal."

"We believe that this program takes advantage of some of our greatest strengths and offers students a unique experience," Ringuest said.

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