College of Business aims to partner with universities abroad

$20,000 grant will develop collaboration skills, help along ‘Drive to 25’ goals



Sung Ahn, associate dean for international programs, discusses how recent funding from the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan can lead to the building of partnerships with Kazakhstani universities on Wednesday in Todd Hall.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Evergreen reporter

The WSU Carson College of Business created a plan to increase the university’s global footprint by building partnerships in Central Asia.

Sung Ahn, associate dean for international programs, said they will be developing a relationship with universities in Kazakhstan to collaborate in research and education programs.

The College of Business was awarded $20,000 by the American Council for International Education, with support from the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan to establish partnerships, Ahn said. WSU was one of five universities to receive this grant.

Ahn said this partnership will add to WSU’s Drive to 25 initiatives by increasing international engagement and intercultural understanding among students.

Everything in business has to do with building partnerships, especially in different countries, said Jessica Cassleman, assistant dean of the international business institute.


Jessica Cassleman, assistant dean for international programs, says the partnership could be used to further WSU’s Drive to 25 by increasing the number of degrees awarded.


“The idea is to have faculty, student [and] staff members realize the importance of being internationalized,” Cassleman said.

They will focus on creating strategies to strengthen business programs at Kazakhstani universities, such as with entrepreneurial courses. The faculty members said they want to support students in Kazakhstan with innovation and creativity through courses offered through their universities, as well as with online WSU Global Campus courses.

Ahn and Cassleman said they will travel to Kazakhstan in May for two weeks and visit four universities: Al-Farabi Kazakh National, L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National, Narxoz and S. Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical. During this visit, the WSU faculty members will determine how their partnership will advance WSU and the involved universities, as well as whether the locations are safe for students, Cassleman said.

Ahn said once the pair finish their visit, they will start writing a proposal and contact the universities in Kazakhstan to see if they want to connect and exchange. The report is estimated to be submitted around the end of September.

Nam Nguyen, senior international business and marketing major, said going abroad helped him make connections that will last his entire life. Nguyen traveled through WSU programs to all seven continents. Being a business student in this era is challenging because information crosses borders in an instant and international partnerships are increasing, he said.

“Studying abroad will help [students] realize what the world has to offer to them,” Nguyen said. “Having a global mindset of how to work with people from a diverse background … will be beneficial for them in the future.”

The university wants to expand its reach outside of European countries in order to provide different experiences, Ahn said. Past partnerships involved hospitality programs in Switzerland, entrepreneurship programs in Tanzania, and other business courses in Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, South Korea and Mexico.

“There are all sorts of possibilities. It’s like a candy store,” he said. “There are a lot of things, but you cannot have them all … we just need to see what we can have and what would benefit us the most and go from there.”