Two years ago, many American universities and business schools began looking abroad for ways to expand their enrollment, broaden their contacts, build their brand and attract top talent. That’s when Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business announced its plan to establish campuses in five foreign cities. Now, foreign business schools are setting their sights on the U.S., and one of the first plans to start a campus at N.C. State University in January.
No contracts had been signed with the French business school Skema — N.C. State officials refused to discuss the topic for that reason — but no major roadblocks to a deal are expected. Indeed, Skema has already announced its intentions. Considered Ivy League-level, it was formed last year by the merger of Ceram Business School in Paris and the ESC School of Management in Paris and Lille. Skema mulled sites in Florida and California but picked State because of its proximity to Research Triangle Park. The first 300 students will come from Skema’s management, finance and technology colleges. Eventually, there will be 600 students in Raleigh.
State already has a College of Management that offers an MBA and a master of accounting, among other degrees and programs. The university isn’t saying how its management school will be affected. Skema says the deal will create opportunities for cooperative research that could benefit both universities.
Foreign business schools have only recently turned their attention to the U.S. market, says Juliane Iannarelli, director of global research for the AACSB International, a Tampa, Fla.-based accrediting body of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. “At a time when there’s increasing demand among students for an education with a global perspective and demand among employers for graduates that have some additional exposure to international business and the ways that it’s practiced differently in different contexts, that’s driving a lot of schools to take on cross-border initiatives such as this one.”
Skema also has reached an agreement with UNC Chapel Hill for student and professor exchanges and is working on a similar deal with Duke. Along with three campuses in France, Skema has outposts in China and Morocco and plans to open others in India and Brazil.
Attracting the campus was a major victory, according to Charles Hayes, CEO of the Research Triangle Partnership, which markets the 13-county region. “It’s definitely put us more on the international radar.” While the partnership already has contacts within France, he says, “it will help to solidify our brand as one of intellectual capacity and education and innovation.”
Layoffs prick plant
Pfizer Inc.’s decision to eliminate 400 jobs at its vaccine factory in Sanford will be painful for a part of the region hit especially hard by recession. In April, Lee County had the Triangle’s highest unemployment rate, 12.3%. It could have been worse. At least the Sanford plant will remain open and retain about 450 workers after the layoffs are completed by the end of 2015. Other Pfizer plants weren’t so lucky. The New York-based drug maker announced in May that it will close eight of its 78 factories to cut costs and eliminate excess manufacturing capacity. Six others, including the Sanford plant, will reduce employment. Pfizer acquired the plant when it bought rival Wyeth in October.