July 23, 2014  

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Southern Miss International Business Students Honored by French Chamber

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Southern Miss international business students and faculty were honored by the French American Chamber of Commerce - Gulf Coast chapter recently. Pictured left to right: Dr. John Lamber, associate professor of international business at Southern Miss; Southern Miss senior Rachel McDuffie; Southern Miss graduate Samantha Briggs; Eric Belin, president of the French American Chamber of Commerce - Gulf Coast chapter; Southern Miss senior Bethanie Miller and Dr. David Duhon, chair of the Department of Management and International Business at Southern Miss. (Submitted photo)

Three University of Southern Mississippi international business students have been recognized by the French American Chamber of Commerce-Gulf Coast Chapter (FACC) for their efforts in producing a critical economic development report and for developing directories and promotional materials for the organization.

Bethanie Miller, a senior from Hattiesburg, Miss.; Rachel McDuffie, a senior from Ocean Springs, Miss., and Samantha Briggs, a May 2013 graduate from Vicksburg, Miss., were presented certificates during a VIP Reception in New Orleans last month and also served as guests of honor at the French American Chamber’s Summer in Provence Food and Wine Festival.

For this applied experience, students responded to a request from the Midi-Pyrénées organization of the American Chamber of Commerce in Toulouse, France; developed social media resource materials and directories for contacts; focused their attention on the bio-tech sector; and supported companies that provided support for the Airbus facility that broke ground this spring in Mobile, AL. Brochures, presentations, directories and global interactions permeated the semester of learning.

“Working with the French American Chamber of Commerce provided me with vital hands-on learning experiences such as the importance of research and development and networking to expand opportunities,” said Miller, who is majoring in international business and political science. “Through this project I not only learned about the growing field of biotechnology but also about the importance of communicating with others to achieve a common goal.”

The students’ instructor, Dr. John Lambert, notes that the Southern Miss Department of Management and International Business strives to provide real-world experiences and projects for students.

“These students do not work on canned case studies in which the outcome of their work is predictable,” said Lambert. “Our students work with front-line public and private sector organizations. Instead of reading about ports, they visit ports. Instead of simply reading about imports and exports, they work with importers and exporters. These students are thrust into action-learning international business activities, and they must call upon all of their resources to perform.”

McDuffie, who is pursuing a double major in international business and marketing, said the group spent countless hours during the spring semester fine-tuning their ideas and presentations.

“From the process initiated by our project, I gained a greater perspective of the collaboration between different countries and chapters in the international business community,” she said. “It has been a dream of mine for many, many years to pursue a career in the corporate world. Currently, I am looking at several companies in which to activate this dream.”

Dr. Faye Gilbert, dean of the Southern Miss College of Business, said the FACC project illustrates the breadth and scope of academic pursuits available to students.

“This project and the reaction of the clients and students is one example of the power of the programs at USM,” said Gilbert. “Dr. Lambert and many others infuse our courses with relevance and impact. This is the kind of experience that every new graduate should have.”

For more information about the Department of Marketing and International Business, call 601.266.4673 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/business/management-international_business