Fox celebrates cultural exchange with French business school CEFAM
For three years, he studied entrepreneurship as a CEFAM undergraduate in Lyon, just two hours from her business school in Paris. But he didn’t cross paths with her until he studied abroad at the Fox School of Business.
He proposed a year later, 30,000 feet above the Sahara, on a flight to his home country, Benin. He had the pilot announce the proposal to the whole cabin. She shouted, “Yes!” back at the intercom.
“He made just the sort of bold, entrepreneurial move we hope to teach our CEFAM students at Fox,” said Philomena Trinidad, Fox’s associate director of academic advising and study abroad.
Trinidad has seen many bold moves during the 12 years she has spent guiding the Fox School’s partnership with CEFAM, a French business school whose acronym means “Center for the study of French-American Business Management.”
About 25 CEFAM students come to Temple each year. They are CEFAM’s top performers, with an average GPA of 3.5. One student used his Fox education to improve the living standards of Malian rice farmers. Another won a $25,000 entrepreneurship scholarship.
CEFAM celebrated its 25th anniversary in August 2011. Hundreds of CEFAM students have graduated with Fox degrees and many Fox students have spent a semester at CEFAM.
“Students and professors love the international perspective CEFAM students bring – and the French accents,” Trinidad said.
CEFAM has partnerships with other American universities, including Pace, Northeastern, Siena and Rider. But out of CEFAM’s 150 undergraduate students, 35 apply to Fox each year.
“A Temple degree carries tremendous weight in France,” Trinidad said. “Students and employers see pictures of the ticker tape in Alter Hall, projector screens displaying business news from around the world and roomfuls of cutting-edge technology. To them, we represent what an American business school should be.”
For Fox students such as Cassie Carbaugh, a senior international business major, CEFAM represents something equally powerful: Lyon. The gastronomical capital of France is a quaint, friendly city the size of Philadelphia and is only two hours from Paris by high-speed rail.
Carbaugh was the only American student at CEFAM during her semester abroad. Most Fox students studying in France attend ABS, a business school in Paris.
Lyon’s allure has helped Temple CIBER and the Institute of Global Management Studies steadily increase the number of Fox students studying at CEFAM during the past year. For Carbaugh, in 2011, studying at CEFAM meant total cultural immersion.
“The students at CEFAM love American students and go out of their way to include them in their lives,” Carbaugh said. “The four months I spent there immersed me in a new environment filled with a rich culture of arts, music and cuisine. I learned business from a new perspective and was able to deepen my analysis of international issues.”
Carbaugh also built lasting relationships, including a transatlantic romance still going strong and friendships with CEFAM students who are now studying at Fox.
Carbaugh has since become an advocate for Fox’s relationship with CEFAM. She spoke alongside CEFAM’s vice dean during the university’s 25th anniversary. Her message: studying abroad helped her discover her own career calling and is an indispensable part of today’s college experience.
“Business is going global at an increasingly rapid pace,” Trinidad said. “The college experience needs to keep up. College always meant exchanging ideas with people from across the national spectrum. But today, it must mean interacting with people from across the world.”
– Carl O’Donnell