The Merrick School of Business has six Fulbright Scholars on faculty, each sharing their expertise with the global community. Ven Sriram, professor of marketing and Fulbright Specialist just returned from spending two weeks teaching in Russia on a trip sponsored by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and Kazan State Finance and Economics Institute in Kazan, Russia.
Since returning from Russia where he taught master’s level courses in Innovations Marketing and Marketing Systems, he has been sharing stories about his experience.
“Russia is one of the important emerging markets,” Sriram said recently. “The visit afforded me the opportunity to meet with university and other officials. Spending time with them gave me a better understanding of the country. Going forward I plan to use this experience both in my research and to enhance my student’s understanding of this fascinating country. There is a wealth of good business and marketing talent in Russia.”
When asked about the similarities and differences between U.S. and Russian students, Sriram said the latter are comparably well-prepared, and impressively aware of what is going on in the Russian business and economic landscape. Although Russian students are sharply focused on their country’s domestic affairs, they still have a “global radar” tuned into Western Europe and the United States.
“I tried to emphasize to them the importance of emerging markets such as Russia itself to U.S. and European companies, as well as other large, growing countries such as China, India and Brazil,” Sriram said. “They were aware of some U.S. marketing practices but were curious about the cutting-edge things here with the use of technology in marketing.”
Sriram pointed to the Russians’ emphasis on tactical rather than strategic solutions to economic problems as being a major difference between them and their American counterparts. They look to the government for a lot of answers. While they were strong in absorbing and analyzing information, Sriram said, just like American students, they need more practice in making decisions and recommendations.
The classes Sriram conducted overseas were in English, then translated into Russian since only about half the class spoke English. The students presented a group case analysis on the last day, he noted. At the end of his two-week experience, students were awarded certificates for successfully completing the program.
Sriram’s passion for research in emerging markets will continue in the Fulbright program, as he gains new perspectives on the nuances of this awakening giant and adds other developing countries to his internationalist portfolio.