Dean Uses International Experience

May 15, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Davenport University is expanding its scope of international business with the addition of Kojo Quartey, new dean of the Donald W. Maine School of Business.

While he said he is still acclimating himself to the university, where he started in January, Quartey said he feels strongly that the incorporation of international business and relations is important to Davenport’s goals, as well as for its students.

The old adage “When America sneezes, the whole world catches a cold” is outdated, he said.

“Now, it’s a global marketplace where if anybody sneezes, we all catch a cold,” said Quartey, who is multilingual and has lived in four countries.

For students to be able to function in the business world, Quartey said, it is important that they recognize international influences.

“Everything affects something else somewhere in this world,” he said. “The more aware we are of that, the more effective we could be as business people.”

Quartey said he realizes as the world becomes more connected through technology, it also becomes more competitive.

“As the world develops, those who have a better understanding of international business will be able to effect those changes in the long run,” he said.

To help students understand other cultures and countries, Davenport requires international business students to study abroad.

The faculty in the program also supports that goal.

“Most of our faculty have either lived or worked abroad or worked with an international firm,” he said. “We want our students to be aware of what’s going on in the world so they can compete globally.”

Davenport has relationships with universities in The Netherlands, Canada and China, and is looking to expand to other countries such as Ghana, where Quartey was born and has recently visited on behalf of Davenport.

As the son of a diplomat, Quartey has had international experience throughout his life. He initially wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, after moving to the United States when he was 10 years old and then finishing high school in Ghana, he returned to the states to attend Morgan State University in Baltimore, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s in economics before earning a doctorate in applied economics from Mississippi State University.

Most recently, Quartey was dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies at Lincoln University in Missouri.

As the new dean of Davenport’s school of business, Quartey oversees both the international and the domestic students in the program.

Davenport has about 200 international students from about 40 countries. An International Students Association has recently formed, and Quartey said he is looking at the next step: forming a Cross Cultural Association to bring the international and domestic students together to learn more about one another’s cultures and experiences.

If there is one goal Quartey has for his students, it is to learn to function effectively in the marketplace and be successful.

“We’re opening up the entire world to our students here,” he said.

Randy Flechsig, president of Davenport University, said all students will likely need to work with companies on an international level, even if they are not in international business.

“The idea that we have to look beyond our state and our nation and into the world is a given in higher education,” he said. “It’s come to a point now where even if you do not plan on working internationally, there are a lot of international companies that are coming into this country.”

Considering the global business economy, Flechsig said Davenport is focused on preparing students in international business across the board.

“Our philosophy is that international business is as much a core function of a B.A. in business administration as an accounting class or managerial class,” he said. “It’s basically the fundamentals of business.”

Flechsig said Quartey is a good addition to the university with his international background and his work building partnerships with other universities and other nations.

“We want to prepare our students from this country to be prepared to work in international settings, and we want international students to seek Davenport University as a business school that will broaden their experience,” he said. “It’s just broadening our students’ vision of the world and gaining a greater appreciation for the richness of culture that now makes up what we call the world economy.”    

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