INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— Since 2004, the Kelley School of Business has been engaged in international graduate education through the International Graduate Business School (IGBS) in Zagreb, Croatia. The purpose of this program, which is jointly run through the Kelley School and the Economics Institute of Zagreb, is to provide a U.S. style MBA program in central Europe.
Kelley instructors from both Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses teach classes at Zagreb’s Economics Institute, a think tank that focuses on economic policy issues. In a review of the institution, the Croatian government determined that the program would improve if it had stronger ties between its research mission and its teaching mission.
“I think that is a huge advantage that the U.S. system has over some of the programs in Europe, explained Kelley Indianapolis accounting professor John Reed Smith. “The Economics Institute in Zagreb provides cutting-edge research, but there is little interaction of this research with the teaching mission at IGBS.”
The school would need someone to help foster that cohesion.
“For years we talked about getting someone from the Kelley School to work with the Institute, basically as a visiting staff member,” said Smith. “It was suggested that someone affiliated with the school apply for the Fulbright grant, so Idid.”
Smith is spending six weeks in Zagreb in June and July 2012.
“I can go over there, present my work, go to their seminars and try to find some joint research that we can do to tie together the research mission and the teaching mission of the Economics Institute and the IGBS.”
Smith has taught in the Kelley School of Business MBA Program at IGBS since the program’s inception. “They were coming out of communism and going into capitalism,” Smith said of the Croatians. “It was a good experiment, and also a natural fit because there are a lot of ties between the U.S. and Croatia. Almost everyone there speaks English fluently.”
Smith will go back to Croatia in February to teach his seventh class in Zagreb. He says it’s a project close to his heart.
“I have committed part of my soul to this IGBS program so I care a lot about what happens to that program, in part, because I have relationships with these people after eight years. It’s important to me that this program continue,” he said. “On a more fundamental level, it provides a better understanding of the business world in the two different places. It is still very different in Croatia. There are still soft remnants of the communistic area. It’s something that we can learn from, and they can learn from the ways we do things. We can both get better learning from two very different systems.”
Smith says the program also provides increased visibility to both the American and Croatian schools as faculty research and publish work at both institutions.