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01-03-2011

Clarkson Students Expand Their Business Education Beyond U.S. Borders

[A photograph is available for media use at: http://clarkson.edu/news/photos/business_Itlytrip.jpg]

"We were exposed to so many wonderful small business owners and becClarkson Students Expand Their Business Education Beyond U.S. Bordersame aware of the importance of family in every business decision," stated Marc S. Compeau, director of Clarkson's entrepreneurship program. "The Italian approach to business is so very different from our approach, and as an American it is refreshing to consider a new, simpler outlook that is focused on quality of life and the connection to family."

According to Compeau, who accompanied the students to Italy, this summer's pilot excursion was part of a goal to establish a new entrepreneurship course at Clarkson. The course would be offered each fall and would require the summer visit as a component.

"The hope is that we can create a course which follows the summer travel experience and exposes students to entrepreneurship from a more global perspective," Compeau stated. "Bernelli has spent years developing case studies about Italian entrepreneurs in the Trentino region. Our initial plan is to use these case studies as teaching tools in the classroom. The students' exposure to these entrepreneurs during their summer visit will make the case studies far more meaningful."

Compeau also noted that the students who traveled this summer can now demonstrate their ability to adapt to change, to problem solve and to be open to new and ambiguous experiences.

The four Clarkson students who went on the trip were seniors Jeff Truskowski and Phil Robillard and juniors Leah Murphy and Crystal Cockayne. They were part of a larger group of high school and college students from all over the world who took part in the Bernelli program.

The most significant thing Truskowski says he learned while interacting with the Italian entrepreneurs wasn't a business method, but rather the importance of simply enjoying one's work.

"In the Italian culture in general in the area we visited, there was such a high level of enthusiasm and passion for everything they do," he said. "If you can't enjoy what you're doing, to me it's pointless."

Bernelli University is an international graduate school founded in the early nineties with a mission to prepare each student to become a global leader with innovative skills to manage diverse problems and populations. The university's core values include developing in each student excellent research skills, oral and written presentation skills, project management skills, entrepreneurial thinking, cross-cultural understanding and a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving.

PHOTO CAPTION: Clarkson University Business Students (L-R), Leah Murphy, Crystal Cockayne, Jeff Truskowski and Phil Robillard recently returned from a two-week study tour to Northern Italy.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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