Leaders from Northern Illinois University and its College of Business and Chung-Ang University (CAU) in South Korea are pleased to announce a newly formed collaboration designed to provide a variety of academic program offerings in the near future at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Much like NIU, CAU is a well-respected, comprehensive research university. It is also one of the best known in South Korea. Both the NIU College of Business and CAU’s business school enjoy strong academic reputations and AACSB International accreditation, the highest standard of excellence for business schools worldwide. NIU Business has been nationally ranked for over 32 consecutive years, while CAU’s MBA program is listed among the top 400 programs globally.
“NIU is delighted to join forces with another comprehensive research institution. Northern Illinois University and Chung-Ang University are a wonderful match for each other,” said NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Ingram. “Moreover, NIU counts many native South Koreans among our alumni. We are excited to reconnect with them in the development and the launch of this academic collaboration.”
The NIU-CAU relationship began in earnest through Min Byoung-chul, an NIU College of Education alumnus and 2008 NIU Alumni Association awardee. After earning his degree, Min returned to South Korea to start his business venture in English education. Over the next three decades, his work established him as South Korea’s leading authority on English education and he successfully led his own business enterprise (BCM Education Group). Several major universities regularly invite Min to their campuses to learn about his entrepreneurship and business success. He is now on the faculty with CAU and other business schools, where he teaches entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.
“We’re enthusiastic about developing an impactful partnership with Dr. Min on behalf of Chung-Ang University. It’s always special to engage in a partnership with NIU alumni. On top of this, our two business colleges are a natural fit for each other. We’re grateful to Dr. Min for spearheading this initiative,” said Balaji Rajagopalan, dean of the NIU College of Business.
College of Business Dean Rajagopalan and his Associate Dean Daewoo Park will shape the relationship on the NIU side, with support and insights provided by the college’s Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs Anthony Preston.
“Dr. Min envisions the creation of a network of university partnerships,” Associate Dean Daewoo Park said. Park first met with Min in South Korea in early February 2020, when they initially articulated the nature of the partnership. “Dr. Min seeks to launch this with NIU as co-lead because he so greatly values the education he received here. A number of individuals in South Korea agree with him; we have a large contingent of successful alumni in South Korea.”
Many earned their degrees in various NIU academic departments during the 1980s and 1990s before returning to South Korea and establishing themselves in a wide variety of important careers. Those careers include CEO of a major financial services company, CEO of a large venture capital investment company, owner of a major South Korean real estate development, mayor of a major South Korean city and other prominent positions. All told, the breadth and depth of highly successful NIU alumni in-country provides the potential to enhance the NIU-CAU partnership with a wide range of expertise and experiences.
“When NIU students travel to South Korea in the future as part of this partnership, they will have the opportunity to hear from a wide range of alumni. In addition, we plan to include faculty-led trips so the students can visit high-tech companies such as Google Korea, Samsung, LG, SK, Hyundai/Kia, NC Soft, among others,” Park said. “This relationship will also include short-term faculty exchanges, short-term student exchanges and executive education training at NIU.”
Two near term plans call for the development of a 2+2 business degree program and a 1+1 MBA degree offering.
“We know that CAU students are excited about the possibility of attending classes at NIU and earning a degree from us, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to welcome them when those plans are realized,” Anthony Preston said. In his role as assistant dean for graduate programs, Preston has been instrumental in the creation of many of the college’s 30 global academic relationships. “We also envision including faculty-led trips for the CAU students to visit companies in Chicago.”
Preston added that Chicago has long been a favorite destination for many South Koreans because of the city’s growing tech industry and well-established Korean community.
“Students in South Korea know the NIU experience, not only because of our outstanding academics and our extensive alumni base in Chicago, but also because of the long legacy of South Koreans who, after earning their degrees at NIU, went on to do amazing things,” Park added.