Global Entrepreneurship Exchange
2018 Heiskell Award Winner: Study Abroad
Nomination submitted by: Ashwin Mehta, Senior Lecturer
UMass Lowell Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation study abroad program
Global Entrepreneurship Exchange (GE2) is a strategic program in UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business which was established to develop and promote global partnerships and collaborations between the university and leading international institutions in the area of entrepreneurship education and research, in the belief that aspiring U.S. entrepreneurs benefit from the knowledge of global markets and non-U.S. entrepreneurs benefit from access to technology and resources.
U.S. students from University of Massachusetts Lowell have an opportunity to study abroad in China and India and take part in global programs with students and faculty from India, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Pakistan, Vietnam, Guyana, Haiti and Nigeria.
The initiative began with a pilot study abroad program which brought nine U.S. students to work with 30 students from KLE Technological University in Hubli, India. Since launching in 2014, according to Provost Michael E. Vayda, the program has grown to become a major university initiative, with 11 sessions conducted in the U.S., India and China, involving more than 600 students from 10 countries.
“That’s because we have so many faculty, staff and guests at UMass Lowell who have supported us throughout,” says Manning School senior lecturer Ashwin Mehta, who runs the program along with Nitin Kulkarni from KLE Technological University.
GE2 brings students from diverse academic disciplines and cultures together to collaborate in small groups on entrepreneurial projects, with a winter session in India and a summer session in Lowell. A new session added in China last summer, led by Mehta and Associate Professor Yi Yang, chair of the Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department, took UMass Lowell students to Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunication, where they collaborated with 20 KLE students as well as students from Nanjing.
The program incorporates both Study Abroad and an incoming Student Exchange during winter and summer breaks, attracting 150 to 180 students and faculty annually, across disciplines and levels. Over a two-week period, students experience multidisciplinary and multicultural immersion in entrepreneurship complete with project-based activities and field visits. The program seeks to offer total immersive learning, with class discussions complemented by experiential learning involving local tech companies and alumni.
Sophia Laura DeAraujo participated in last winter’s India course before graduating from UMass Lowell in May with a concentration in international business. She says the experience was a major factor in landing a full-time job at Alcyone Lifesciences, a Lowell biotech company whose CEO hails from India.
As part of their two-week summer session, visiting Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation students took part in group project work, heard guest lectures from a dozen Manning School faculty members, took a tour of the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub business incubator and visited local tech companies. Students visited Amazon Robotics in North Reading, Wintriss Controls in Acton and MKS Instruments Inc. in Methuen where they were hosted by university alumni. The program plans to expand to involve more local technology companies and bring in mentors from these businesses to complement faculty contributions.
As the program has grown in its first four years, it has engaged more UMass Lowell faculty members, expanding its capacity to conduct both study abroad and student exchange programs in more locations. In 2017, the program included 15 Manning School faculty members in entrepreneurship, marketing, management and accounting in four sessions held in Lowell, India and China in 2017. In 2018, five sessions are planned, involving more than 300 students from international institutions.