Thirty-five years ago, David R. Parker, chief operating officer, The Archstone Partnerships, and chair of the Florida International University Foundation Board of Trustees, received a life-changing opportunity upon completing his graduate work at the Harvard University Business School.
“Rather than leaping right into the workforce, I took advantage of a Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship that enabled me to combine travel and study at points throughout Europe during a seven-month period,” said Parker, who studied the automakers in each country—during the volatile period of the early 1970s—while getting a sense of each culture and gaining confidence that helped him later operate at the highest corporate levels.
With ties to Harvard and Europe, Parker opts for donating to his local public university.
A move to Miami, which brought him in contact with the university, prompted his interest in creating a similar opportunity for graduate students in the College of Business Administration’s International MBA (IMBA) program.
“Public universities are incredibly important, as I know from personal experience,” he said. “I would have been unable to obtain my undergraduate degree otherwise. As a citizen of Miami, I wanted to contribute where I lived, and to do so in a way that matched what I had experienced as part of my graduate work.”
Tomislav Mandakovic, associate dean, Chapman Graduate School of Business; Paola Moreno (MBA ’03), associate director, International Graduate Programs; Jessica Aristizabal (MBA ’07); and Tania Frederic, program coordinator, International Graduate Programs, meet with students at third “IMBA for a Day” on June 25, 2008.
Over the past several years, fifteen IMBA students with at least a 3.25 GPA have benefited from $1,000 awards from the endowment Parker established.
“The students select the schools they want to attend over the summer, with the Chapman Graduate School having established some guidelines for the programs, including the opportunity for the students to take courses, make company visits, study the language, and sightsee,” said Paola Moreno (MBA ’03), associate director, International Graduate Programs.
Each student writes a short report about his or her experiences to fulfill Parker’s modest requirement that he “be able to see how the study-abroad was useful to them.”
According to Dana Farrow, professor, Department of Management and International Business and IMBA faculty director, who also sees the reports, “All who go feel the experience is very important in giving them a different academic view and immersing them in another culture.”
New scholarships expand opportunities and reward excellence for graduate students.
Parker’s scholarship stands alongside two others that the Chapman School has more recently secured to help attract students with high GMAT scores to both the IMBA and Master of International Business (MIB) programs. Former Chapman School Dean José de la Torre was committed to expanding the number of scholarships the Chapman School offers.
“Thanks to the generosity of Espirito Santo Bank and Mercantil-Commercebank, we will be awarding at least three scholarships to outstanding students entering these programs,” Moreno said.
International MBA students get a taste of what awaits them.
Seven admitted students for the International MBA (IMBA) program in the fall of 2008 received “an opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to be an IMBA student,” said Paola Moreno (MBA ’03), associate director, International Graduate Programs, of the inaugural “IMBA for a Day” event on April 8, 2008.
The group met with an IMBA graduate; a current student; Tomislav Mandakovic, associate dean, Chapman Graduate School; Dana Farrow, professor, Department of Management and International Business and IMBA faculty director; and program administrators.
Tamara Benitez called it “a great eye opener. Speaking to the administration and the IMBA students gave me a much better picture of what to expect. Meeting my peers and sitting in on a class gave us a sense of unity, and the program hasn’t even begun. I left feeling excited and scared but more motivated than anything else.”
Sean Wiborg found it “extremely helpful in making my final decision, and I had a good time getting to know everyone.”
A second “IMBA for a Day” took place on May 28, 2008, with Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam participating. The day’s agenda included a Q&A session, lunch, a tour of the new building complex, and the chance to interact with program personnel as well as with current and past students. A third session took place on June 25, 2008.