Aanchal Garg studied business at Delhi University, took post- graduate courses in India and then decided her career goals would be far more easily met with an M.B.A. from an American university. Garg, who will begin classes at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) this fall, is one of thousands of Indian students streaming into the United States to take advantage of its educational opportunities. Over the past two years, applications from India to GBA have jumped 74 percent, from 14 in 1999 to 54 in 2001.
Last year, the number of Indian students in American colleges and universities increased 13 percent, surpassing Korea as the third largest country of origin for international students in the United States, according to a study by the Institute of International Education. “A few renegade students test the waters and spread the news of their successes back home. As soon as a comfort level is created and the return on their investment is shown, the interest grows exponentially,” said Frank Fletcher, the director of GBA admissions.
Fletcher said Fordham has the increased advantage of being in the heart of New York City, which is more enticing to its Indian students who come from Mumbai and Delhi, India’s urban enclaves. Garg, 23, said American schools are attractive because many of them offer flexible programs that allow students to study multiple subjects and gain cross- cultural business experience. She chose Fordham after participating in an executive development program hosted by Fordham faculty members in India this summer.
“Fordham will give me invaluable insight into diverse cultures and work practices around the world and thus provide me with a cross-cultural advantage,” said Garg, who will study accounting and finance. “Such exposure in India would have taken many years.” Fordham management professor Vipin Gupta, who is researching Indian CEOs, forged an informal partnership with Entrepreneurship Management Process International (EMPI) Business School in New Delhi last year. He and Fordham marketing professor Jukka M. Laitamaki visited and lectured at the school. “The partnership gives Fordham international exposure and helps students from an emerging market gain business experience and learn about the global marketplace,” Gupta said.
This year, five Fordham business professors – Catherine Combellick, Sarah Maxwell, Richard Columbo, Marcia Flicker and Donna Gitter – volunteered to travel to India to lecture at the private entrepreneurial management school. Travel expenses were paid by Fordham’s Business Opportunities in India Project. EMPI arranged for housing, site-seeing tours and cultural events for the professors. During their visit, the Fordham faculty presented an intensive five-day, 30-hour program that included an additional 70 hours of assignments and projects.
They lectured about business law, cross-cultural marketing and business communications, among other subjects. The participants received a certificate of completion from EMPI. In addition to the India program, Fordham has an international MBA program in Beijing, where it became the first foreign MBA program to be approved by the Chinese government. Fordham is the degree-granting institution of a consortium of 26 American Jesuit business schools that provide the faculty to teach the program.