by Rachel Stengel
If you have traveled through the halls of Gee, you may have encountered a lively bunch of French students milling about the halls. They are students from the Centre d’études Franco Americain de Management (CEFAM) in Lyon, France, and they say they are excited to be studying in America this semester.
Three years ago, Rider University Dean of Business Administration Larry Newman, and CEFAM Dean Jean-Michel Perrenot began discussing an international program in which fourth-year students would have the opportunity to study abroad at Rider.
The program only has five partner schools; Rider has the honor of being among the few schools selected to participate. The others are Northeastern University, Siena College, Pace University and Temple University.
Last year, the program officially began and Rider had its first batch of students from CEFAM. The first class consisted of seven students who had the option of studying finance, marketing, business administration, international business, human resource management or global supply chain management. Students enrolled in the program may also continue at Rider for an M.B.A.
The most popular major of the CEFAM students is, appropriately, international business.
“Almost all [students] double major with international business,” said Newman. “They receive a dual degree from Rider and CEFAM when they complete the course.”
This fall, the second class of students from CEFAM arrived. Thibaud Pages, David Trouve, Jerome Blanchard and Alexandre Verliere are just four members of the latest group of 12 students. They agree that Rider was the best option because of its small size.
CEFAM is located in the heart of the business center of France. Rider’s suburban campus is quite a change from the urban streets of Lyon. In fact, CEFAM does not have residence halls; commuting is the only option. The students speak English quite fluently because all classes are taught in English, except for math.
The transition to Rider has been smooth so far. The only major complaint the boys have is with the food. “The food,” groaned the four at once.
It seems the Rider campus cannot replicate the sophisticated palate of the French gastronomy.
Rider has had past success with international exchange programs. Since 2005, Rider enrolled students from Sanda University, a private university in Shanghai, China to study business.
The CEFAM program may be the newest addition to Rider’s international market, but it has much promise for expansion. There are many plans currently developing.
According to Newman, the business department wants to establish new partnerships with countries such as India, Spain, Korea and possibly Eastern Europe. It also aspires to have teachers from China and France come to Rider to teach classes, as well as have Rider teachers travel abroad.
The latest agreement allows 25 CEFAM post-baccalaureate students to take M.B.A. classes this spring following graduation.
“We have hopes that [the CEFAM program] will grow in the future,” Newman said. “I feel strongly that students, especially business students, need that international experience. Interacting with international students in the classroom will make them so much stronger in the global economy.”
The introduction of new cultures can benefit everyone. A global perspective enhances our understanding and appreciation of other cultures.
“[The CEFAM program] internationalizes our classrooms to expose our students to people all over the world,” Newman said.
The globalization of the marketplace is a crucial factor, espcially in the business world, said Newman.
Rider facilitates this interaction in order to prepare students for the global economy. Rider alumni will have an advantage as they set foot into the fast-paced business world.