2017 FLEAP – study international business and accounting FAR FAR away!

FLEAP is the term Robert Morris uses for study abroad – it stands for Faculty-Led Educational Abroad Program. In May 2017, 26 RMU students took part in this trip with me ~ exploring Japan and Taiwan for 14 days. Although I have been doing this program at my previous institution for many times, the first time at running it at RMU still gives me many gray hairs. Fortunately I received many help from KPMG, PwC, IFRS Foundation, and National Chung Hsing University to make this trip another success.

Running a trip like this is a lot of work – however, nothing can beat the sense of satisfaction and achievement when students wrote:

I am thankful for the many experiences we had in both countries and for the new friends I have made during the trip. We had various opportunities and meetings that normal tourists to Japan and Taiwan wouldn’t be able to experience. Both the educational visits and cultural excursions were interesting in different ways. I learned a lot about business cultures in different countries and how important culture is in the workplace. This will definitely be beneficial in my future career. 
From someone who had hardly even left Pittsburgh, to becoming a world traveler, I have learned many valuable lessons. I think my favorite, and the most important lesson that I learned is that being open-minded can change your life. I thought I was open-minded prior to the trip, but how could I have been when I had never been anywhere? This trip was exhausting, both mentally and physically, but now I have an understanding of how the world outside of the United States works, and that to me is invaluable. I would like to thank my professors who organized and chaperoned this trip. I don’t know how you did it, but you managed to keep all of us safe and sound while still having some fun.
It has been just an amazing trip.  These have been two of the best weeks of my life.  Dr’s. Peng and Lin did just a phenomenal job putting this trip together.  Certainly not something I could have done.  I will never forget these experiences, the friends I have made and the sights I have seen.  Trips like this really make you appreciate everything we have that so often we take for granted.  I hope that I become a better person because of this trip because I feel like it can certainly have that kind of impact.  

I enjoy traveling with these 26 juniors and seniors – they represent the best of the best in the RMU’s Accounting Program. Everyone was eager to learn, try, and explore everything around them. Sometimes I felt bad that I had to give them so many instructions telling them what to do and said so many “NOs”, but they all took it with smiles. Simply a wonderful group! This program was also supported by many folks at home – they cover our backs!

Here is the collection of student blogs: https://sites.google.com/view/fleapblogs/

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Japanese TV Show

Our study abroad in Japan in 2013 was featured in one of the Japanese national TV shows – it was quite fun that the crew followed us to several business and cultural visits in Japan. In this 13-minute program you will see our visit to the temple, traditional Japanese shops, and Yamaha factory. Making wagashi probably will never be anybody’s future career but it is definitely fun! And it tastes….sweet!!

Guest from far far away

In October 2013, I was honored to welcome Professor Shu-Jou Lin to visit School of Management from National Taiwan Normal University. When I was in Taiwan this year with study abroad students, Professor Lin was one of the NTNU faculty members who gave us the warmest welcome on earth! They organized student buddy (which was a HUGE help for the group leader like myself), company visits, and classroom immersion experiences. Professor Lin is also well-known in her research field, and she is in Michigan for a research trip. Welcome Professor Lin!

Pictured with Dean Johnson and visiting scholar Prof. Lin
Pictured with Dean Johnson and visiting scholar Prof Lin

Sync class that is not constrained by distance

I coordinated a sync class focusing on a case discussion with MBA students from UM-Flint and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in Taipei. With the input from my colleagues (both of them marketing professors at UM-Flint and NTNU) students thousand miles apart were able to contribute to a case discussion about Walmart’s marketing strategy in China. The new classroom with necessary IPTV equipment built by the School of Management had just finished construction and immediately was put to a good use. The quality of video and audio was amazing – you don’t really feel that people on the screen are actually 11 time zones away!

Read about the story published  by UM-Flint News here:

UM-Flint MBA Students Connect with Taiwan via Technology

The same story was also published by NTNU’s press office (in Chinese): http://pr.ntnu.edu.tw/news/index.php?mode=data&id=12541&fb_action_ids=400071200075983&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=hovercard&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366

A new page of life in Beijing

A former student of mine, Feben Teklemicael, who is a proud graduate of UM-Flint BBA-Accounting program, contacted me recently and shared her new adventure: master’s program in Tsinghua University, China. Feben went to China after she graduated from UM-Flint, got into a Chinese language program in Beijing, received a scholarship and started her master’s degree program in computer science. For her, it’s definitely an adventure. We wish you all the best, Feben!

Visited NTNU’s Mandarin Training Center

It was very nice to visit Taipei again (on a raining day)…..especially National Taiwan Normal University, which is located in central Taipei that is not too far from where I spent my teenage years. Time flies….Anyway this time I visited NTNU’s College of Management and met with faculty there to talk about possible international collaboration ideas. Hopefully we (SOM at UM-Flint) are able to continue to nurture this relationship and commit more resources in international collaborations!

NTNU campus

In addition to College of Management, I also visited world-renowned “Mandarin  Training Center” at NTNU. This center has many famous alumni including former prime minister of Japan and Australia. They enrolled almost 1,600 students every year and 40% of students come from the U.S. Students take Mandarin language classes on week days and participate in cultural activities when they are free from heavy work load on weekends. Sounds like a perfect place for me to take my next study abroad group!

Pictured with executive secretary of MTC
MTC's student lounge
MTC class