Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Internationalizing Business Curricula: Introducing the Study of Canada into International Business Programs

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Internationalizing Business Curricula: Introducing the Study of Canada into International Business Programs

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Since the inception of NAFTA, trade between the U.S. and its southern and northern trading partners has grown immensely. Much of the debate about NAFTA has focused on Mexico and the phenomenal growth of its trade with the U.S. Lost somewhere among the debates on American jobs lost to Mexico, illegal Mexican immigrants, trade deficits, plant closings and machiladora plants on the border of Mexico and the U.S., is the fact that Canada remains the largest single trading partner of the U.S. In fact, the Canadian government reports growth in bilateral trade between Canada and the U.S of almost six percent over the last 10 years (Government of Canada, 2007). Ironically, in spite of its importance to the American economy, very few studies have addressed Canada as a relevant topic in undergraduate or graduate business programs.

Using the extant literature on internationalizing the business curriculum, this paper uses a number of sources of research data to argue for the introduction of the study of Canada into the business curricula of American business schools and colleges. Attention is given to specific reasons the study of Canada, called Canadian Studies, should be included in business curricula. This research suggests a variety of options for incorporating Canadian Studies into business programs. The study concludes with a brief discussion of the option that would require the highest level of commitment, sending students to Canada to learn about Canada. The Laval University Summer Business School is used as an example of an effective way to immerse American students in Canadian Studies, an option that is far more affordable and practical than trips to Spain, Japan, or Brazil.

In this study, we (1) briefly review the extant literature on internationalization of American business education, (b) discuss the significance of Canada as a topic of study in international business, (c) discuss four ways American schools and colleges of business can incorporate the study of Canada into their business programs, and (d) offer our concluding comments on this important topic.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In the following section, we briefly discuss the extant literature on internationalizing American business education. After perusing the literature it becomes quite clear that a very large number of studies have been conducted that examine "various aspects of business school internationalization" (Kwok, Arpan, & Folks, 1994, p. 606). These studies have ranged in both their depth and breadth of coverage in subjects such as, but not limited to, characteristics of international education (Trevino and Melton, 2002), ways both AACSB and non-AACSB schools and colleges have tried to internationalize their curriculums, and student motives for study abroad (Albers-Miller, Sigerstad, and Straughan, 1999).

We generally tell our undergraduate students in business in the United States that we live in a global economy. In our efforts to support this assertion, we often times point out interesting facts, such as Japanese firms manufacturing automobiles in the United States, the sale of American products overseas, and the reliance of Americans and American businesses on foreign oil, to name a few. The war stories we tell our students are simply one example of attempts to internationalize the business curriculum. In fact, the emphasis on international business among business programs in the U.S. has been due to not only the real increase in international trade among nations in the world, but also in response to the accreditation standards adopted by

AACSB International (AACSB website, 2006).

AACSB has two standards listed under the heading 'Assurance of Learning Standards.' The first standard indicates that an undergraduate degree program will include "learning experiences in such general knowledge and skills areas as:.... multicultural and diversity understanding ..." (AACSB International, 2006, p. …

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