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WKU PMBA students work with French students to assist Handicap International

Professional MBA (PMBA) students from WKU recently worked with international MBA students from Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 (Lyon University) in France to assist Handicap International as part of a faculty-led study-abroad program. Handicap International, a charity headquartered in Lyon, France, won the Nobel Peace Prize and is best known for assisting victims of land mines around the world.

WKU PMBA students visited Cite de l’Environnement in Lyon, France.

WKU PMBA students visited Cite de l’Environnement in Lyon, France.

WKU’s PMBA students were hosted by Lyon University and worked before, during and after their May French study-abroad trip on international teams to address the Handicap International project. Ten WKU and 12 Lyon graduate students in business were asked to come up with ideas to expand the direct sales the charity uses to raise funds.

“The project was valuable as a real-world international business experience. Working with French students and experiencing the French social and business culture was enlightening,” said PMBA student Jim Gaffney, Medical Director at Hosparus.

PMBA students at the Handicap International exhibit in Geneva, Switzerland.

PMBA students visited the Handicap International exhibit in Geneva, Switzerland.

The PMBA program received an email June 20 showing Handicap International advancing marketing ideas in Germany into which the MBA student teams had suggestions. Eric Frandeboeuf, Manager of Marketing, Communication, and Sales for Handicap International was particularly impressed with the presentation of the ideas generated by the MBA teams, saying “(They) made me feel like I was a real client” and “their ideas were excellent.”

WKU’s Professional MBA (PMBA) students visited Lyon to learn about business in France and the European Union.  “Lyon is the second largest city in France and the center of many French businesses,” said Dr. Bob Hatfield, Associate Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business.

PMBA students made visits to French businesses such as Compagnie du Rhône, a leader in hydropower; Cité de l’Environnement, a pioneer in construction which generates more power than consumed; and Hameau du Bœuf, the largest winery business in the Beaujolais region.

The visits were coordinated by Lyon University, the large and influential business college in Lyon with more than 6,000 business students, including PhD students.  WKU has a relationship with the Lyon University and has hosted French MBA students for visits to WKU.

WKU’s PMBA program is an “executive” program preparing the current and next generation of organizational leaders.  WKU PMBA students have ranked in the top category of MBA programs based upon the standardized exit exam in the past two years.  Students on this trip had the excellence of their WKU preparation highlighted.

WKU PMBA students visited Compagnie du Rhône, Lyon’s largest producer of hydropower.

WKU PMBA students visited Compagnie du Rhône, Lyon’s largest producer of hydropower.

PMBA student William F. Skaggs, WKU’s Director of Annual Giving, said: “It was rewarding to work with students from a well-respected international program and know that the quality of our WKU performance was highly respected.”

According to Jeff Katz, Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business, “We are an applied college of business and very proud that our professional MBA students are able to experience global business on a first-hand basis. Our excellent faculty-led study abroad programs are designed to provide unique learning experiences for students in all degree programs offered by our college. We encourage our students to be global business leaders.”

To learn more about WKU MBA program options, visit www.wku.edu/mba or call (270) 745-5458.

Contact: Bob Hatfield, (270) 745-5458.

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