By Anil K. Makhija
Dean, John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business
The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business
If there is one sentiment to which leaders at business schools around the world can relate, it is that the world is shrinking. This shift has prompted our institutions to examine how we are preparing students for careers in a globally connected and competitive world.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) 2015 Corporate Recruiters Survey, nearly half of the employers who intend to hire recent graduate-management degree holders plan to place some of their new hires in a region outside of the company’s home location.
To equip business school students with the globally relevant skills and workplace experience required by employers, colleges around the world continue to evolve their curriculum, programming, and partnerships. At The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, this emphasis on globalization has fine-tuned our approach to delivering on our mission.
As a 21st-century land grant institution, it is our duty to address society’s most compelling needs; to help build Ohio’s future; and to connect the state, its businesses, and our students with valuable opportunities beyond the nation’s borders. One area in which our modern land grant mission complements our commitment to students is Fisher’s efforts to improve the scope and scale of Ohio’s exports.
According to the most recent report issued by the International Trade Administration, small- and medium-sized businesses in Ohio generated nearly 25 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports in 2013. To increase this output and transform Ohio into an exporting leader, our college partnered with the Ohio Development Services Agency to create a program that fully integrates the hallmarks of a Fisher business education.
The Ohio Export Internship Program (OEIP) is an initiative in which undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in real, hands-on experiences with companies that reach across the world. The program provides classroom instruction on exporting principles before pairing students with small- to medium-sized companies in Ohio for 12-week internships.
These internships are building students’ global business competencies while fulfilling our land grant mission by helping companies in the Buckeye State expand their market potential. And whether they’re traveling to Nicaragua to install a water controller system for water play equipment or facilitating the sale of fire trucks to cities in China, OEIP students have had a measureable impact for partner companies. Since its creation three years ago, the program has expanded from nine Ohio State students to include 102 students from eight universities across the state. These interns have generated more than 10 million USD in increased export sales for 60 companies throughout the first three years of the program, and nine students have been offered full-time jobs with their internship companies since the program began.
One crucial measure of the success of a business college is the academic accomplishment and job readiness of its students. At Fisher, these students have the knowledge to make immediate and measurable impacts, and we are working to connect them with businesses around the world. Fundamental to our college is a curriculum that provides students countless opportunities for experiential learning and engagement with businesses and industries on real-world issues.
Programs such as the OEIP demonstrate Fisher’s strong relationship with the Ohio business community and its commitment to partnerships that are creating a robust statewide economy. They also serve as examples of how institutions of higher education can successfully recognize, adapt to, and make immediate impacts in a shifting business landscape while still remaining committed to an established vision and mission.
As the world gets smaller, our ideas, our partnerships, and our commitment to providing globalized, experiential learning opportunities must grow—to not only meet the needs of companies and industries around the world, but also to meet those of our students, the business leaders of tomorrow.
As business schools, the depth of our programs must be more profound, our impact greater, and our reach wider.
Anil K. Makhija serves as dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business of The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business. Makhija is recognized as an expert in the field of finance, particularly capital structure, corporate governance, and valuation, and has more than 20 years of experience in academic leadership roles. Prior to his appointment to dean in October 2014, Makhija served as senior associate dean at Fisher and has served on the faculty of the business college since 1998. He chaired Fisher’s Department of Finance and served as an associate dean of executive education programs, where he was responsible for the development of Fisher’s top-ranked Executive MBA program. He also played a key leadership role in the development of the GE Capital-funded National Center for the Middle Market, serving as the center’s academic director. Makhija previously served as associate dean at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. He holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MBA from Tulane University, and a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.