At a time when the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business is putting renewed emphasis on preparing students for the international marketplace, it may seem strange to learn that a professor who has had significant international experience will be leaving the country.
The good news is that Vijay Kannan will be back after five months, and when he returns he’ll have new valuable experience he can bring to the job. He has been named a Fulbright Scholar, a prestigious honor that only a small number of professors at Utah State University have received.
Winning the honor means the Fulbright Foundation will be paying to send his family on a five-month trip to India where he will teach a class at one of the premier management schools there, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Lucknow. Dr. Kannan said that in terms of academic standing, the school is a sister school to the flagship IIM school in Ahmedabad, which is on par with Harvard Business School.
Dr. Kannan’s family is from India but he grew up in England. He said he will be a "cultural ambassador" and will teach a class in materials management, work with faculty on research and present some guest lectures.
Dr. Kannan, who has also taught in France and Vietnam, said the experience will help him grow as a teacher.
"Teaching in a different country, environment and academic culture, where students’ perspectives, backgrounds and experiences are different, is valuable because it forces you to be flexible," he said.
USU students also need to learn about cultural flexibility, he said. They need to be exposed to various cultures so that when they work in international companies, they won’t start with the premise that others will see things and approach work the same way they do.
He said he hasn’t been to India in 20 years and is looking forward to taking his wife, 10-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son to India for the first time.
The Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.