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International Business Association

International Business Association

Motto: Just because they say it can't be done does not make it so.

The International Business Association came into fruition in 1990 at Northern Michigan University. Founded with a mission to educate the students of NMU and residents of Marquette and the Upper Peninsula on the cultural, business, and legal environments of international business, it soon realized a position in the global business world educating students, building bridges between colleges and businesses, and fostering educational and business cooperatives. The IBA brought forth the first ever student formed study abroad program, the first ever elementary education program devoted to international studies, and the first ever international business seminar to bring international business leaders to NMU to teach and mentor students and form lifelong relationships.

From its inception, the International Business Association was touted as a non-traditional associations, partly due to its founders, Jodi Golisek (IBA, IBS, IEP, Sigma One Group), a non-traditional student at NMU and its faculty spounsor, Professor Hal Dorf, a graduate of IMEDE (Lausaunne, Switzerland), and its many non-traditional leaders: Matt Schlientz (IBS, Celebrating Excellence), Haroon Syed (Schneider National), Axel Wenger, Holgar Wagner; and always due to its exuberant synergistic relentless and every persistent spirit.

In 1991, the IBA planned the first ever student-run study abroad program. Focused on Central Europe, 24 students studied the infrastructure, governmental, legal, manufacturing, and business environments in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. And that was just the beginning. In each subsequent year, the IBA planned and executed study abroad programs entirely managed by students of NMU (joined by faculty members and President William Vandament), and hosted by leading companies throughout the Pacific Rim, Southern Europe, Australia, South African, and Northern Europe

In 1992, the International Business Seminar (formed and chaired by Matt Schlientz) held its first ever seminar at NMU hosting global business executives from leading companies such as Adidas, Kodak, Henkel, K-Mart, Rubbermaid, and Arthur Anderson. Members of the first Central European Study Abroad Program were also invited to study at many of these companies.

The International Education Program (formed and chaired by Jodi Golisek) was founded to bring international experiences and educational opportunities to elementary students, and later that year expanded nationally to also include universities such as William & Mary, Vanderbilt, University of Arizona, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University, Ohio State, Harvard, Cornell, Texas A & M, and the University of Georgia. NMU students of IEP developed the founding philosophies of inverting the management pyramid, which were featured at several universities during annual educational seminars.

In 1993, IBA president Jodi Golisek, having formed a strategic alliance between the International Business Association, the International Study Abroad Program, the College of Business, and the National Educational Foundation served as the first ever student NMU Delegate (appointed by NMU Vice President Johnson) to a symposium for international education held in Washington D.C. Jodi was the first student to have ever attended the educator's planning sessions, and the IBA was the first ever and only student-managed program to receive direct federal funding. That earned the IBA an administrative office (on "Capitol Hill") - the Office of International Affairs.

In 1994, the IBA founded a business mentoring program for NMU students under the wings of the International Business Seminar, which brought managers to NMU for one to five-day sessions in classrooms, and continued a mentor partnership with one or more students. The win-win partnerships frequently developed into career opportunities for students, and continuing projects for the IBA. Out of those efforts, Celebrating Excellence formed an international division managed by IBS founder Matt Schlientz.

In 1995, several students developed individualized study abroad programs. (Mine was on the international legal environment.) As well, several students were awarded scholarships to continue their studies abroad, as well as in the United States. Those included a Bright's Scholarship for an Intellectual Expert System (Jodi Golisek - Anti-Trust Law), the Walker L. Cisler College of Business Scholarship (Matt Schlientz, Jodi Golisek, Haroon Syed).

In 1996, the South Africa Coalition (chaired by Axel Wenger, an exchange student from Switzerland) embarked upon creating and continuing a student exchange program with South Africa’s educational institutions – a program that continues yet today to foster business and education exchanges.

All of these projects were made possible under the guiding wings of Professor Hal Dorf. While they didn't end in 1996, your BLOGGer's terms at NMU did (she graduated in 1994).

Today, the Office of International Affairs, a regulated educational program managed by PhD's and touted in the annual handbooks and the transcripts of many, is more than a mere launching board – it is the nexus to job security – it is business as usual.

Our special thanks and deep appreciation to Hal Dorf, Arlene Dorf, Ellen Schroeder (Attorney at Law), Ed Havlik (President, United Development), William Vandament (President, NMU), Michael Perradauin (Vice President, Adidas; President International Sports Federation), Michael Winkler (Winkler & Associates), Bob St. Amour (Bob's IGA), Robin Ball (NMU), and Dr. Marge Sklar (Professor, NMU). If I missed anyone, please accept these apologies, and write me when you can - I'm sure I have, given the wonderful evening we had tonight recalling all that everyone did to support our many efforts.

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