Within the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Business, one trade mission, set up by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and then-Governor, now University President, Brian Sandoval, continues to have a lasting impact within the University’s College of Business. In 2017, as part of the GOED Trade and Educational Mission to Poland, the College signed a memorandum of understanding with the Warsaw School of Economics, guided by the desire to expand cooperation and exchange ideas between both scholars and students at the two universities.
“I have not exaggerated when I say it is one of my best memories as governor and one of my proudest moments when we were able to sign the agreement with all of you,” President Sandoval said at a recent virtual meeting held by the College of Business and the Warsaw School. “I tell people that sometimes dreams do come true and it was a dream of mine to have the relationship that we have now with all of you and to see how much its progressed under all of your leadership. It really means the world to me to have an opportunity as president of the University of Nevada, Reno to continue this relationship and even strengthen it in so many ways.”
Since signing the original agreement in 2017, both universities have remained dedicated to the partnership. In 2018, they held their first symposium where the Warsaw School brought 15 people to Reno, Nev. for idea exchange, collaboration and networking to expand the already established relationship. The next year, 15 people from the University, including five students, traveled to Poland for the next symposium, which was focused on research and entrepreneurship. Both events were made possible through a grant the Warsaw School of Economics received that included the University.
“Our partnership has been grounded in ongoing communication, collaboration and mutual respect,” Mehmet Tosun, director of international programs, economics professor and the Barbara Smith Campbell Professor of Nevada Tax Policy within the College of Business said. “Our research exchanges involve all departments within the College, and as part of our last symposium in Warsaw, different units from the College were represented.”
Tosun credits GOED’s Pawel Pietrasienski, who was the person responsible for originally bringing about the partnership. In addition to his role as director of international trade within GOED, he is also an associate professor of the Warsaw School of Economics. Pietrasienski and Tosun have frequently worked together and are currently working on a paper related to COVID-19 response efforts.
“The GOED partnership is pivotal to helping foster these relationships,” Tosun said. “It was under President Sandoval that the governor’s office placed major significance behind educational partnerships, invited educators from across the state to attend the trade missions and even started calling them ‘Trade and Educational Missions.’”
In addition to the partnership with the Warsaw School of Economics, The College of Business has ten other international partner schools, totaling 11 University partnerships. According to Tosun, this is in large part thanks to the strategic vision of the College’s dean, Greg Mosier.
“Our dean has an international vision,” Tosun said. “Under his leadership our college vision is ‘to be a premier business school that produces research and graduates that enable economic vitality and inspire positive change in Nevada and the world.’”
The College of Business international partnerships are in China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. It also has nine short-term study abroad Nevada Global Business Programs in different locations around the world including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Poland and Singapore.
“International trade, finance and public policy dramatically influence the way we do business, which is why we frequently stress its importance,” Mosier said.
Tosun added that getting students to understand and see the value in international partnerships can, at times, be especially challenging. According to National Association for Foreign Student Advisors, the International Student Economic Value Tool shows that the estimated economic contributions of international students amounted to about $41 billion and 458,290 jobs in 2018-19.
“Nevada had 2,520 international students (ranked #44 among 50 states) and had a lower number of international students than all of its neighboring states,” Tosun said. “Nevada also had a lower number of international students than nine of the 13 Western states. It had more students than Alaska, Montana and Wyoming, all of which have significantly smaller populations. While Nevada is lagging behind most other states in terms of the number of international students, those students brought in about $80.8 million to our state, which is a nontrivial economic contribution.”
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Tosun added that he understands these numbers will likely not increase anytime soon. He said that partner institutions, like the Warsaw School of Economics, continue to reach out to students in an effort to connect and share ideas. In fact, faculty from the Warsaw School of Economics are active contributors to the College of Business International Business Blog, providing nearly half of the blog’s content.
“While COVID-19 has proven our entire world must take this pandemic seriously and find new ways of going about business, we are still managing to strengthen our international partnerships and build upon these mutually beneficial relationships,” Tosun said.