The Seminar in Business course, a Kelley initiative designed for students to directly experience hot and emerging markets, is one of five preparatory business courses—referred to as the Sophomore Block—for high-achieving sophomore students, in preparation for the Integrative Core (I-Core), the heart of their business education. I-Core is a semester of integrated coursework where students learn the key functions of business in team-based environment, similar to common business practice. Taken during junior year, I-Core is often described by students as "intense", an academic milestone, where business understanding "just clicked".
The undergraduate program already has 300-400 students studying abroad through various programs and internships. Many students feel their experiences abroad are life changing.
Impact on students
Kelley parents, Tom and Tina Jaskowiak, saw the growth in their son, John, who was part of last year's team who traveled to India. "In fall 2006, he traveled to India as part of Kelley's sophomore block curriculum—and he came back a changed man. "India had a tremendous impact on him," say his parents. "He learned about the culture, the global business environment, and government. He often talks about this trip, what it meant to him, and how it has shaped his thinking about the business world, and we know that he will remember it for the rest of his life."
This year's course on India is taught by Vijay Khatri, Assistant Professor of Information Systems and a native of Jaipur. He was voted Outstanding Faculty of the Year for 2007 by MSIS graduates. Prior to their trip abroad, students in the seminar will learn about Indian business and culture, as well as a range of topics including history, religion, customs, politics, the media, and the environment. They have assigned readings supplemented by guest speakers from various IU schools, providing an opportunity for learning and discussion.
Venkat and Khatri will be accompanied by several other faculty and staff chaperones, taking students to visit cultural sites such as the Taj Mahal, Santhome Cathedral Basilica, the resting place of St. Thomas, and Temple Town, Kanchipuram, known for having hundreds of unique temples.
Four countries, four continents
Venkat's enthusiasm and vision for global experiential learning for undergraduate students will continue throughout the school year. He's planning another emerging markets course where small groups of 10-20 students will visit China, Brazil, Croatia and Ghana. "Four countries, four continents—that's our goal for spring," he states. Venkat wants students to understand emerging markets and appreciate diversity from a historical context. He also sees the importance in students learning to identify opportunities and understanding "why we need to stay ahead of the game."
Making lifetime bonds
In addition to experiencing globalization first-hand, many of the students from last year's trip felt the personal rewards were equally worth it. Kelsey Schroeder explains, "I have never before grown so close with my peers in an academic setting. The opportunities the Block presents, especially traveling to India, creating bonds unparalleled by any other academic experience. I cannot imagine not having the 50-some fellow blockers in my life everyday."