Executive Education program strengthens Austrian connection

While much of Atlanta bid farewell to its international visitors when the Olympic Games ended, the Goizueta Business School received a group of Austrian business executives for a month-long program designed to introduce them to American business practices and theories. The program, presented under the auspices of the Office of Executive Programs (OEP) in cooperation with the Linzer International Management Akademie (LIMAK) in Austria, brought 17 senior-level executives to Atlanta on Aug. 7 for sessions with business school faculty, individual meetings with American counterparts and tours of American company sites.

Rebecca Setliff, director of Executive Programs, explained that the LIMAK program was developed as the international component of a degree program for senior-level business executives, the Linz Institut Für Internationale Management Studien. After three weeks of academic instruction at the institute at Johannes Keppler University in Linz, Austria, the participants travel to Emory to complete their degree requirements.

Setliff noted that the OEP was the ideal outlet for such a relationship because of the office's infrastructure, designed to handle short-term and intense non-degreed programming.

Of the participants, 5 percent are chief executive officers, 25 percent are managing directors or general managers while the remaining 70 percent are division or department heads or other positions. The executives attend classes in finance/accounting, marketing and management with business school faculty. The third week of the program involves a study trip to New York City and Washington, D.C., where participants meet with officials of several major U.S. companies.

But the LIMAK program is not all business and no play. Cathy Stepp, program manager for LIMAK, stressed that one of the major benefits of the program is the exposure to American life offered to the participants. The executives get a taste of American culture through excursions in each of the cities they visit. While in Atlanta, they will attend a Braves game and experience an authentic southern barbecue. A bus tour of Atlanta will include stops at Wheat Street Baptist Church and Grady Hospital. They will visit The Yale Club and attend a Broadway musical in New York City and tour the White House in Washington, D.C.

Setliff explained that the cultural exchange is reciprocal. Business school faculty and staff benefit from the relationships they are able to develop through the institute. "Faculty are invited to serve as guest scholars in Austria," she said. "They, in turn, are able to create a richer experience for their students here."

--Matt Montgomery

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