International ties expand

December 20, 2013

WVU opens first alumni chapter in China

The College of Business and Economics is becoming more interconnected with the world and last month played an important role in creating the first WVU alumni chapter in China, a country of 1.35 billion and an Asian economic powerhouse.

China, an old partner

Alumni Chapter
Liming Tang, deputy president of Shanghai No. 1 People’s Court, 2003 B&E alumna, and Dean Sartarelli, hold official chapter banner.

Since the late 1990s, the College has built and expanded a relationship with China through the Center for Chinese Business. With approximately 1,000 alumni in China, many in leadership positions, the College has held numerous gatherings of former students during the past two decades, but the alumni chapter, in Shanghai, is a milestone.

Dean Jose Sartarelli officiated at the chapter's opening and visited with several Chinese business leaders in Shanghai. 

"Our College, along with WVU, is spreading its wings and deepening global contacts," he said. "We have often thought of ourselves as educators to the world, and indeed we have excelled in that role. Yet in today's world, Western institutions have much to learn from nations in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Our intent is to ensure that our students and faculty learn and share through expanded global ties."

The dean said establishing firm relationships with individuals and institutions in The Group of Twenty, commonly called the G-20 Nations, is critical for U.S. educational institutions. He called the College's interest in global education "paramount," citing a recent report issued by the Asian Development Bank predicting that large Asian economies, China and India in particular, would have an increasing role in global economic issues into the future.

Global Ed Fair
WVU’s booth at the Global Education Fair in Shanghai in the East Asia Exhibition Hall. From left, Geng Lei Wei, 2011 B&E alumnus, Candace Wilhelm, Michael Zhao and an unidentified visitor.

Indeed, to demonstrate that education is a "two-way street" the dean and WVU officials announced during the final days of the fall semester an agreement with Tianjin University of Finance and Economics officials to partner in an application for a Confucius Institute at WVU focused on language and business.

While in Shanghai for the chapter opening, several from B&E participated in a recruitment effort sponsored by Zinch China, a company that helps students and colleges connect. Along with Dean Sartarelli were Michael Zhao and Candace Wilhelm. Zhao is a program specialist with the College's Center for Chinese Business and Wilhelm is B&E associate director of master's programs.

The WVU recruiting team attended the China International Education Exhibition held in Beijing, Xi'an, Wuhan, Shanghai, and Chengdu. Approximately 600 universities from around the world attended.

Nearly 2,000 students and parents visited WVU's booth, said Zhao. "We spoke with about 800 students and parents during this event. We also gave 12 information sessions at Chinese universities and high schools, and about 400 students attended our information sessions," he said.

Chi Zhou
Sartarelli talks with Chi Zhou, 1994 B&E alumnus and former chairman of the board Shanghai Airline. Zhou is now board chairman of Shanghai Tongsheng Investment Group Co., the largest investment firm in Shanghai.

Yaozhon Qian
Yaozhon Qian, B&E 1998 and Deputy President of Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co., center, along with Dr. Victor Chow, left, and Dr. Sartarelli.

Visitors to the WVU booth asked about rankings, the University's strongest subjects, tuition and where, exactly, Morgantown is located, he said.

In addition, the College's delegation visited with several prominent Chinese leaders, many of whom are alumni.

The B&E group, joined by Dr. Victor Chow, professor of finance, made a stop at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and visited with its president, Shuhai Cong, a 1995 B&E alumnus. That institution helped initiate B&E's Chinese exchanges back in 1994.

Also visited was the deputy president of Shanghai's subway system, Yaozhong Qian, an alumnus, and Zhihao Dai, president of Bao Steel Corp., also a B&E alumnus.

Bao Steel is the world's fourth largest steel manufacturer, according to the World Steel Association's 2012 figures, with nearly 43 million tons produced annually. A company headquartered in Luxembourg, ArcelorMittal, leads the world with 93.6 million tons produced in 2012.

Bao employs 130,401 and, as of the end of 2012, had annual revenues of approximately $21.5 billion.

The delegation also visited Shanghai Finance University, established as the Shanghai Banking School in 1952. That institution signed a cooperative agreement with WVU in 2012.

Russia via Switzerland

Zhihao Dai
Zhihao Dai, president of Bao Steel Corp. Ltd and a 1995, master's in economics alumnus, with Dean Sartarelli.

In November the College and representatives of the College of Law and Office of International Programs met in Morgantown with representatives of Lomonosov University in Switzerland and discussed possible collaborations.

"We're excited about possible teamwork," Sartarelli said. "As an affiliate of Moscow State University, The International Center in Sweden, I believe, will be a great partner in education."

The institution was founded in 1997 as a Russian education, science and culture center in Geneva, Switzerland. Today, the school is establishing new links with leading European and U.S. universities through joint educational programs.

Fraud seminar for Bahrainis

In November Dr. Richard Riley, accompanied by David Stewart of WVU's Office of International Student Affairs and Global Services, offered a three-day forensic accounting and fraud examination (FAFE) seminar in Bahrain. This was the second time B&E has given the seminar, and Riley said twice as many students attended this year's session. "There is no language barrier, as most of the students speak English," he said.

"The program focused on money laundering and information gathering this year, and we had very good participation by the students."

Riley in Bahrain

The seminar was presented at the Royal University for Women (RUW), an institution that was recently created by a gift from King Hamad-Bin-Isa-Al-Khalifa and established by the Al Zamil family, who are part of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Waleed A. Al Zamil received his bachelor's degree from the College of Business and Economics in 1986. Today, he serves on the board of directors for Zamil Group Holding Co. and is a founding member of the RUW. Fahad Al Zamil is chairman of the board of the RUW and a 1976 graduate of WVU's Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

"My first day was interesting. The seminar participants were about 50 percent male and 50 percent female. Initially, the women were quiet and seemed reluctant to participate, and getting the discussion going was a challenge," Riley commented. "However, by the morning of the second day, lively discussions occurred not only in the classroom, but during breaks and lunch."