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Exports to Canada Program a Cross-Border Success

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: December 6, 2012

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From left: MBA students and ECIDA interns Colin Masterson, Andrew Wescott, Ian Trapper, Hung Duc Phan, Ruth Huoh and Mithra Pamaraju. (Photo: Beth O'Keefe)

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Business, education and government leaders on Nov. 30 celebrated the success of the inaugural Exports to Canada program, a collaboration between the University at Buffalo School of Management and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA).

The Exports to Canada program is an economic development program that connects School of Management interns with local businesses to help them increase their level of exports across the border.

Carrie Gardner, director of the School of Management's Credit-Bearing Internship Program (CBIP), and Maryann Stein, director of international programs for ECIDA, worked together to launch the program, which provides training to local businesses seeking to expand their customer base into Canada and then matches them with School of Management interns to help achieve that goal.

"We received strong support from our dean, Arjang Assad, and the UB Office of Economic Engagement, in getting the program under way," Gardner says.

Stein brought MBA students Mark Bortz and Chris Courtney on board as interns to help run program. Their internships were partially funded through Western New York Prosperity Scholarships.

Bortz and Courtney then matched MBA interns from the School of Management with participating companies: Ascension Industries, Buffalo Newspress, Life Safety Engineered Systems, RJR Engineering, Secura Technologies and ValueCentric.

MBA interns Ruth Huoh, Colin Masterson, Mithra Pamaraju, Hung Duc Phan, Ian Trapper and Andrew Wescott each assisted one of the companies and gained insights into the ECIDA's mission as well.

"While the anticipated benefit to the businesses is quite clear, this program has also provided our interns with access to some of Western New York's most fascinating companies and has given them insight into the ECIDA's mission," Stein says.

"At the start of this internship, I was pretty green when it comes to IDAs and economic development," Bortz says. "This experience has given me an appreciation of how economic development entities directly benefit companies and the community."

The Exports to Canada program will now be a recurring internship opportunity for School of Management MBA students, Gardner says. "It will be a valuable resource for students who wish to gain international business experience."

John Dunbar Jr., an adjunct instructor in the School of Management, served as the faculty mentor to all the interns in the program. He is principal of Strategic Investments and Holdings Inc., a private equity firm specializing in growth capital, recapitalization, acquisitions, family businesses and management buyouts of middle market companies.

National Grid provided a grant to assist the program through an approved economic development plan from the New York State Public Service Commission.

Special guests at Friday's event included UB Provost Charles Zukowski; Arjang Assad, dean, UB School of Management; Jean Michel Laurin, vice president, global business policy, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters; Robert D. Steele, director, partnership and project development, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Province of British Columbia; and Robert W. Swallow, trade policy analyst, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.

For more information on the School of Management's Credit-Bearing Internship Program, visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu/internships or call 716-645-3233.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu.