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New Executive MBA Program Strengthens Fordham’s Global Presence


Fordham University has expanded its international reach by launching a dual-degree global executive MBA program with Istanbul’s Kadir Has University.

Nilgun Akcay, vice president for strategic planning at the Istanbul-based Garanti Bank, will receive diplomas from Kadir Has and Fordham Universities upon completion of the new dual-degree Global EMBA program. Photos by Gina Vergel

The program, which runs for 22 months and spans three continents, opened on Nov. 15 with an introductory week in New York City for 20 Kadir Has students.

“We are delighted with our partnership with Kadir Has University,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., senior vice president/chief academic officer at Fordham.

“As business practices become increasingly international, so must business education,” Freedman said. “This program speaks to Fordham’s increasing breadth in global business education, which enhances opportunities for our students and reaffirms the University’s increasingly worldwide recognition for leadership in the field.”

The inaugural cohort of students, who possess backgrounds in finance, law and entrepreneurship, will complete much of their coursework at Kadir Has and finish the program with a capstone project in 2011 at Peking University in Beijing. Graduates will receive diplomas from Fordham and Kadir Has.

Robert F. Himmelberg, Ph.D., interim dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) and co-dean of the business faculty, said the program exemplifies the benefits of global partnerships in business education.

“The mutual exchange of business theories, principles and practices transcends borders and fits our strategic vision for the school,” Himmelberg said. “I am confident that this program will flourish.”

The idea for the program was conceived nearly four years ago at a conference on global development in the digital age that was held on the Kadir Has campus. The event, of which both universities were among the sponsors, resulted in a commitment to forge a global program that would educate top students.

“It really turned out to be the ideal university—and country—in terms of creating a good partnership,” said Ilhan Akbil, associate dean for corporate outreach and international programs at GBA. “They have a spectacular campus. The people are great. Turkey is advantageous because it connects with Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and it also covers the Middle East, in a way.”

Fordham’s EMBA is designed for business professionals and managers on the fast track toward challenging managerial and global assignments. The program focuses on building each student’s personal portfolio in management development with tools that can be implemented immediately in the workplace.

Classes will be held one weekend per month and include distance-learning courses developed by Fordham professors. Those professors will travel to Turkey on several weekends next year to teach between 10 and 12 courses in the program.

“It’s truly a unique global connection and experience in New York, Istanbul and Beijing,” Akbil said.

The EMBA students from Kadir Has University participated in a jazz simulation exercise at one of New York’s most famous music venues: Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Sedat Aybar, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and director for the Center for African and Middle Eastern Studies at Kadir Has, agreed.

“This program is very exciting because it’s the first of its kind in Turkey,” Aybar said. “We have a select group of students with very interesting backgrounds. Learning business strategies from top faculty from Kadir Has and Fordham will be very fruitful for them.”

The students were certainly excited to be in the Big Apple.

“Fordham is a global university and I wanted a global education,” said Alper Kalyoncu, 36, an investment trader on the foreign exchange desk with Garanti Bank, Turkey’s second-largest private bank, which sponsored half of the students in the cohort.

“At work, I deal with American, English and Asian banks. To have the opportunity to visit New York was just perfect,” he said. “Plus, the city is the center for everything that I’m interested in— business, music and dance.”

On that note, the students’ time in New York wasn’t all business and books. They saw a Broadway musical, toured WFUV—Fordham’s noncommercial radio station, visited the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, Bloomberg, L.P. and a live taping of the NBC show Fast Money.

“What Fordham organized for us in this one week is perfect—it’s more than I ever expected,” Kalyoncu said.

The group participated in a jazz simulation exercise at one of New York City’s most famous music venues, Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The exercise is part of a management course taught by John Hollwitz, Ph.D., professor of management systems at GBA, and Eli Yamin, head of instruction for the Middle School Jazz Academy and training specialist at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and is meant to fast-track the students’ bonding and teamwork skills.

The students also discussed interfaith and cross-cultural perspectives with Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham, and the future of Wall Street with John Tognino (FCLS ’75), chairman of the Fordham University Board of Trustees and former executive vice president of NASDAQ.

“Fordham University started in 1841 with one building, six students and one professor,” Tognino said to the students on Nov. 16. “Today, we have 10 schools, 14,700 students, three campuses, and programs in London and Beijing. Now you are part of the Fordham family, which is one of great academic excellence and service to others.”


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