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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Landmark exchange agreement opens the door to Australia for business students

Photo by Courtesy

Supply Chain Management Junior Savannah Brilliant and finance and economics sophomore Grant Griffiths are the first participants in the exchange between Mays Business School and Queensland University of Technology. 

A university in Brisbane, Australia, welcomed its first Aggies in a recently-established exchange agreement between two schools of business.
A new chapter in reciprocal exchange relations between Texas A&M and Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, has business students joining in on the arrangement for the first time.
Texas A&M’s long standing reciprocal agreement with QUT was originally only open to architecture students, but a new deal between Mays Business School and QUT Business School established on August 30, 2016, accommodates business students.
“[After doing the] research, I was like ‘I think I’m going to look more into it,’ and I got some of the details, Australia was the best option, QUT was the brand new one, and really the only one the Mays Business School partnered with in Australia,” said finance and economics sophomore Grant Griffiths.
According to Mays Business School Center for International Business Studies website, Texas A&M’s only dedicated business exchange is between Mays Business School and QUT Business School. Alternatively, business students can partake in a university-wide agreement with the University of Adelaide, South Australia.
Supply chain management junior Savannah Brilliant, who along with Griffiths are the first to partake in the new agreement, commenced their study abroad on Feb. 19 of this year – the start of the school year in Australia.
“With supply chain, you kind of have to deal a lot with importing and exporting, at least, that’s kind of what I’m interested in, so I thought it would be pretty interesting to go to another place and see what the business classes were like over there,” said Brilliant.
Mays Business School Professor and Jenna and Calvin R. Guest Professor Xenophon Koufteros said the nature of business disciplines today requires students to develop an international awareness.
“Supply chain management almost by definition is global nowadays and you’re going to have to learn how to interact with people from different cultures and different customs and different attitudes,” Koufteros said. “For instance, time conventions or religious accommodations; they are very different in some parts of the world and you need to gain that understanding so you can be a better communicator.”
Koufteros said about 60 percent of supply chain management students assume placements in the purchasing sector, where they are buying from suppliers abroad and may be required to visit other countries as part of their core operations.
Brilliant said studying abroad has solidified a stronger sense of direction for her career.
“It has sparked more of an interest in looking at maybe working abroad or more doing importing exporting kind of role where I could work with other countries,” Brilliant said.
Griffiths said there is a significant international emphasis at QUT and he has enjoyed collaborating with a mix of nationalities including from China, Japan, Sweden, Norway, UK, Canada and Germany.
“[This mix] is something you definitely miss out on at A&M, just because a big part of A&M’s population comes from Texas,” Griffiths said.
Griffiths, who is earning credits in international finance, international business, supply chain management and philosophy at QUT, said his experience abroad has defined the importance of developing adaptable communication skills.
“You need to know what appeals, what doesn’t appeal to different people, what’s advantageous to different countries — what that looks like, opposed to your own country,” Griffiths said.
Peter Whelan, lecturer of finance and economics of QUT Business School, said exchange students create a greater learning experience in his classes because they bring unique insights that Australian students, particularly those looking to work overseas, can learn from.
Griffiths said he went on the exchange to develop himself personally, both regarding his faith and professional development. Working toward his goal of becoming a financial consultant, he said these types of experiences are an asset that employers look for.
“For study abroad, I mean, for the most part, companies love that, just because it shows that you’re willing to really do some radical things to grow and push yourself and try to look beyond what your already know,” Griffiths said. “Specifically for real estate, they want to see you making connections, seeking out opportunities within that industry to really, really grow.”
For business students aspiring to study at QUT, the key is to wholeheartedly pursue it, according to Griffiths.
“My advice is to really pursue it, because this is the one time in our lives where we get the chance to live abroad for an extended period of time and really experience a different culture, a different way of life that we’re not used to,” Griffiths said.
Brilliant said students wanting to go on exchange should learn their degree plans and if possible save-up their general and international electives for later on because these courses are more flexible in transferring from university to university.
“If you do apply, try really hard to find classes early because it can be a bit of a stressful process, especially for people like Grant and myself who are the first ones to get through,” Brilliant said. “It all works out in the end but if you start early it’s way better.”

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