Holland Fellows program takes business majors to China

Two powerful countries. Two very different cultures.

Students from Appalachian State University and China's Fudan University have the opportunity to learn each others' culture and business practices through a prestigious exchange program. It's called the William R. Holland Fellows for Business Study in Asia.

Fudan, one of China's elite universities well known for its School of Management, has collaborated with Appalachian on the Holland Fellows program since 1996.

The program works like this:

Each year, 12 Appalachian students and 12 Fudan students analyze business case studies in small groups through a semester-long class called International Business in China. First, they communicate through e-mail. Then, they work together in person when the Fudan students travel to the United States for two weeks in April and again when the Appalachian students visit China during the summer.

For their project, this year's participants are researching the 2008 global economic crisis and how it affects both China and the United States. The students will present their research findings to a panel of Chinese and American business leaders in Shanghai at the conclusion of the program.

During the visit to each nation, students participate in lectures given by the host university's faculty, visit major businesses and cultural attractions, and meet with business leaders. They also tour the major cities of New York, Washington, D.C., Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

"Our program's motto is 'Friends Forever.' These students are going to be leaders in both countries—either civic, business or political—so to have each other's acquaintance is very positive for both groups," says Dr. Lyle Schoenfeldt, Appalachian's L.M. Baker Jr. Partners in Excellence Professor in the Department of Management.

"The Holland Fellows Program distinguishes Appalachian from other universities because of the program's focus on undergraduates," says Dr. Unal Boya, professor of marketing.

The program also accepts select graduate students. Admission to the program is based on a student's grade point average and passion for international business.

The Walker College of Business recognizes the importance of international study and has led student groups to other countries as well, including Germany, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, India, Belgium, Brazil and Austria. Appalachian's Office of International Education and Development offers additional overseas experiences with 41 institutional partnerships in nearly 20 countries.

The Holland Fellows program is made possible in part through the support and generosity of businessman William R. Holland.