Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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College of Business & Technology
Atlantis program celebrates fifth year
May 2012 Atlantis graduates from l to r: WIU supply chain management major Derek Winston ‘12 (Monmouth, IL), Marion Boiteux (Lyon, France), WIU management major Paul Kolkau ‘12 (Darien, IL) and WIU finance major Andrew Newcomb ‘12 (Godfrey, IL).
Riding on the success of a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) project named the Transatlantic Dual Degree Program, four students recently graduated with their M.B.A. from WIU and a brand new cohort of students are beginning their M.B.A.
Professor Doug Druckenmiller started the program in 2007 and funded it with $696,000 in federal grant money. It’s based on a reciprocal relationship with Ecole Commerce European in Lyon, France and Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden. Since its beginning, the goal of the program has been to prepare both WIU and European students for the “triple convergence” of new technological infrastructure, innovative business processes and global networks. Over the years, the grant project has become known as the “Atlantis Program.”
In the beginning, the international student exchange program worked like this: WIU students entered the program in their junior year and after studying abroad in Lyon and Linköping for one year, they completed a bachelor’s degree from Sweden. They then returned to the U.S. to finish their bachelor’s degree from WIU.
“When we finished the grant (in 2011), we transitioned the program into a 3-plus-1 dual degree program with the U.S. students returning from Linköping with a bachelor’s and then beginning their M.B.A. at WIU, and the European students enter the program as M.B.A. students in SCM (Supply Chain Management),” said Druckenmiller.
And, according to Druckenmiller, the benefits are tremendous.
“Within four to four-and-a-half years, these students have a bachelor’s from a European university, an MBA, and they have lived abroad for one year. That really sets them apart,” he said.
In addition, students from all institutional partners participate in intensive language and cultural curricula that build their professional ability to work in a competitive global environment and help them develop communications skills with diverse business partners from other countries and cultural backgrounds. Participating students receive language and cultural instruction in Swedish, French and English.
In all, 21 WIU students have earned bachelor’s degrees through the program, which aims to prepare students for highly skilled 21st century jobs that place a premium on managing a diverse global workforce and innovating new business processes. Three WIU students are entering the program this fall and are scheduled to begin their studies in Lyon in early September.
“We’re really excited about the future of this program— especially with its new integration with the M.B.A. from WIU,” said Druckenmiller.