Thomas Moore, dean of the Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion (CBA) at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, sat down recently for a look at his college’s suc­cesses, including the rise of the inter­na­tional busi­ness pro­gram and the recruit­ment of top fac­ulty, and its goals, such as exploring the effi­cacy of online edu­ca­tion for undergraduates.

Northeastern’s inter­na­tional busi­ness pro­gram is one of the best in the nation, according to last year’s U.S. News and World Report ranking of top col­leges. What makes the pro­gram so strong?

The Bach­elor of Sci­ence in inter­na­tional busi­ness is a unique pro­gram that com­bines busi­ness and lan­guage courses at the uni­ver­sity with at least one year of expe­ri­ence in a for­eign country. If stu­dents choose, they can spend a second year abroad, earning a dual degree from both North­eastern and one of our partner institutions.

Stu­dents who grad­uate from the pro­gram are very attrac­tive can­di­dates for inter­na­tional com­pa­nies looking for employees who bring cul­tural aware­ness and lan­guage skills along with their busi­ness degree.

Will Northeastern’s move to a new four-​​year co-​​op model prompt the devel­op­ment of online courses for CBA undergraduates?

With the four-​​year model accel­er­ating the time to degree, we are exam­ining our entire cur­riculum for inno­v­a­tive ways to improve the delivery of our courses and give stu­dents more flex­i­bility in their choices.

We are cur­rently devel­oping an optional freshman study-​​abroad pro­gram that will run for four to five weeks during the first summer ses­sion. It will allow stu­dents to earn eight credits and still get home by mid-​​June.

Another new pro­gram in devel­op­ment, Field Research Studies, will allow stu­dents to take one course during the year, and do field research here or abroad during the summer.

We are also looking at online courses and hybrid courses to see if the delivery of infor­ma­tion can be improved. For under­grad­uate busi­ness minors, we have already begun to design our first fully online course.

Through the college’s Social Enter­prise Insti­tute, busi­ness stu­dents have trav­eled to impov­er­ished regions of South Africa and the Dominican Republic, over­seeing micro-​​loans and working with locals on small busi­ness ven­tures. How has this expe­ri­ence changed stu­dents’ per­spec­tives on the role of busi­ness in an increas­ingly global marketplace?

Stu­dents have gained a greater under­standing of how busi­ness can be a force for elim­i­nating poverty and cre­ating social good. Within a few years, we hope to expand our experiential-​​learning oppor­tu­ni­ties to include such places as Thai­land, Vietnam, and Belize, where we could work with locals to gen­erate green busi­ness opportunities.

Should all under­grad­u­ates have an inter­na­tional experience—whether it’s on co-​​op, through study abroad, or as part of the inter­na­tional busi­ness program—before they enter the job market?

Most com­pa­nies see inter­na­tional work expe­ri­ence as a plus. Even if grad­u­ates aren’t hired for inter­na­tional assign­ments, many will work on global teams. Having had global expe­ri­ence gives them a leg up on the com­pe­ti­tion. Employers often see that our stu­dents have a high level of matu­rity and a global per­spec­tive, and stu­dents with inter­na­tional busi­ness expe­ri­ence are par­tic­u­larly attrac­tive to multi­na­tional companies.

How has busi­ness edu­ca­tion changed over the past few years?

It’s changed in a number of ways. Last year, for example, we added an under­grad­uate course on inter­na­tional busi­ness and ethics. We also intro­duced a core under­grad­uate require­ment in supply-​​chain man­age­ment and oper­a­tions, because of the impor­tance of the supply chain in today’s busi­ness environment.

In addi­tion, we’ve added an elec­tive course on inno­va­tion. We plan to intro­duce more courses that focus on sus­tain­ability and the busi­ness of health care. And we’re set to begin an exten­sive review of our cur­riculum, with an eye toward devel­oping inno­v­a­tive, effec­tive and effi­cient ways of deliv­ering our courses.

Entre­pre­neur­ship is a sig­na­ture strength of the North­eastern busi­ness stu­dent. How are stu­dents honing their entre­pre­neurial skills?

For the past 50 years, entre­pre­neur­ship has been both a theme and an atti­tude that has run deeply through the col­lege. The under­grad­uate entre­pre­neur­ship major con­tinues to grow, and stu­dents are showing an increased desire to be more active in their education.

Both the Entre­pre­neur­ship Club and a new pro­gram called IDEA—which helps under­grad­u­ates launch their own businesses—are great illus­tra­tions of how inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship per­meate the col­lege, not only through the courses we teach, but also through student-​​run initiatives.

Recruiting top fac­ulty is a university-​​wide ini­tia­tive. How is CBA responding?

Over the past five years, we’ve recruited more than 35 new fac­ulty mem­bers, attracting fac­ulty from top doc­toral pro­grams as well as from other top busi­ness schools.

Like North­eastern, CBA is on the move: Fac­ulty mem­bers are engaged in a wide range of research projects, and take the lead on cur­riculum devel­op­ment and inno­va­tion. They’re con­stantly looking for ways to improve the aca­d­emic expe­ri­ence. And they work with senior man­agers of com­pa­nies to remain on the cut­ting edge of what’s going on in the busi­ness community.

To learn more about the Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, visit: http://​cba​.neu​.edu/