Altman Program at Tulane University
It’s often said that the world is becoming a smaller place through advances in technology, transportation, communications… the world is becoming more interconnected, more globalized. I think some of the challenges our graduating class is going to face when we enter the workforce is an increasingly interconnected global environment as well as a highly competitive and highly-skilled workforce. Students that are going into the job market need to have more international experience and that’s just it. Students who are graduating today face challenges that my generation surely did not see. Studying abroad isn’t good enough. You need to have had the background knowledge that will make your study abroad experience even more enlightening than it could possibly be. That is something that definitely the Altman Program focuses on and that’s why it’s special is because it teaches us how to increase our cultural competency and our linguistic competency so that we can apply our business knowledge on a global scale. This program offers students a very, very unique opportunity in that they’re able to complete two full degrees in just four years. I’m going to receive a BA in political economy and the BSM in business management. I’m going to receive a BA in economics and a BSM in finance. Outside of the dual degree, our students receive advanced language training in their target language. The goal being that students achieve full professional proficiency by their senior year. Altman scholars are able to study in a variety of countries, of course based upon their chosen target language. The Spanish-speaking countries are the largest selection. We have French- speaking, German, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese. We’ve been very fortunate to partner with universities around the world, allowing students the opportunity to study and travel inside such countries as Colombia, Chile (inaudible) I studied Spanish and I studied in both Latin America and in Spain. If you’re studying Italian you’re going to Italy… … universities in mainland China, also in Taiwan… My year abroad I spent in Argentina so I lived in Buenos Aires… I spent my time abroad in Sao Paolo, Brazil. My target language is French and I’ve chosen to study in West Africa and in France. I’m hoping to spend half the year in Brazil for my Portuguese language and I’m hoping to spend the other half of the year, possibly in Argentina… Each summer after an Altman cohort’s freshman year they go on an international trip to do two courses and a service learning component. We went to Costa Rica and the cohort after us is going to go to Vietnam. My junior year abroad I spent in Argentina, so I lived in Buenos Aires and I got to explore this massive city of just 13 million people. That’s what really made my experience in Buenos Aires in Argentina – just always doing something new. I think the goal of the Altman Program is to prepare future leaders to take on a series of challenges that our global economy is going to provide us. Our liberal arts education is going to give us a broad critical thinking background and our business education is going to enable us to solve real-world problems with a language focus that’s going to allow us to communicate with people all across the world. Altman Scholars are prepared for a variety of career paths including traditional business avenues, whether that be here in the US or abroad, but also in a variety of non-business areas whether it be governmental work, whether it be going into politics, preparing for law school, going on for graduate work. The nice thing is that, of course, having two degrees and the experiences from both business and liberal arts does nothing but open up the world of opportunities for these scholars. The core part of the program is getting a liberal arts education alongside of business education, and for me I’ve always known that I want to focus on business. I’d have tried to, you know, take a finance route. That’s been my goal, is to work in finance when I graduate. Even though I truly care about language and culture, I know that everything will come together in the end and I will be thinking 10 years from now, “Wow, I’m really glad that I took that financial accounting course.” The Altman Program gives students the knowledge and experience to become true global citizens. If there’s one aspect of the program that I would say is the most important or at the heart of the program, that is the cohort. You’re able to be in a group of people who are facing the exact same challenges as you, and you help each other work together, you help each other study, you motivate each other, and I think that’s one of the best parts about being an Altman. From day one when you step on campus as an Altman Scholar, it’s kinda like joining a new family. You have four cohorts of students on campus that are like-minded, they have a passion for traveling and learning languages and they’re really there to support you. It’s really great to have a group of students that are really like your family. We have two great coordinators that I can’t speak enough about just how much they’ve helped us on campus with our classes and trying to organize different programs. And, for me, having professors that are there… you have, we have a liberal arts professor who’s focused on political science, we have a finance professor who is one of the best that Tulane has to offer… My advice to a future Altman Scholar would be to keep an open mind when you come in and to really be ready to challenge yourself, to step outside of your comfort zone. To me that’s the best part about the Altman Program.