Campus: CSU Northridge -- August 15, 2005
CSUN to Develop New Program Focusing on International Trade
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Cal State Northridge's College of
Business and Economics a $150,000 grant to develop a new undergraduate program
that focuses on international trade.
The grant also supports the development and implementation of an export consulting
course in which students would assist local businesses as they expand their
"Getting the grant is very exciting," said Rafi Efrat, director of CSUN's
International Business Program. "We are well positioned here at the university to
capitalize on this new opportunity. Cal State Northridge is located centrally in
one of the busiest ports in the country, if not the world. There is so much
activity in the area of international trade. We are in a position to provide not
only a solid education to our students, but also a much-needed service to the
business community by helping them to promote exports."
Efrat said recent surveys indicated that local businesses would welcome assistance
from the university as they expand into international trade.
"We did a needs assessment before we submitted the request for the grant," he said.
"We asked small- and medium-sized companies whether or not they would find it of
use to obtain support from the university to expand their business abroad through
exporting. We got quite a favorable response."
Efrat pointed out that there is no export consulting mechanism available in the
San Fernando Valley. The closest ones are in Pasadena or in Los Angeles' South
Given the responses to the needs assessment, Efrat decided to develop an
undergraduate program, in collaboration with CSUN's Roland Tseng College of
Extended Learning, focusing on international trade with a community service-learning
component that would provide export consulting to local businesses. He asked the
U.S. Department of Education for seed money to start. The program and class are
expected to begin next spring.
Efrat said the export consulting classes will be taught by faculty who are also
practitioners in the area of international trade. Students will spend approximately
eight weeks of the semester learning the "nuts and bolts" of international trade.
"Up to that point, they will have been learning the theory behind international
trade in their classes, now it will be time to apply what they've learned to the
real world," he said.
About mid way through the semester, the students will be divided up into teams
and assigned to a small- or medium-sized business entrepreneur who is looking for
assistance in expanding his or her company internationally.
"The students, mentored by their faculty member, may be doing anything from
developing an expert plan to doing market research to developing a strategy to
penetrating a particular market abroad," Efrat said.
For more information about the new international trade program, call (818)
677-6211 or visit the Web site