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International students make up nearly one-third of the full-time MBA class at the Haslam College of Business, with students representing India, China, Korea, Thailand, Brazil, and Ukraine. This percentage marks an all-time high for the program.

“In today’s global economy, business professionals work with people from all over the world,” said Trent Thurman, director of graduate programs in the college. “Class diversity helps broaden students’ understanding of how business is done.”

MBA Class of Dec. 2016 photoChutian Li—who is from Guangzhou, China, but attended the University at Buffalo in New York for her undergraduate degree—came to UT because she wanted to learn about southern culture.

“It’s a big advantage to learn about the different cultures here and see which fits you the most,” said Li. “America is a world leader. My knowledge of it as well as my own culture will be a big advantage when competing for jobs.”

Exposure to other countries is an integral component for all graduates of the program. During the upcoming spring semester, American students will travel to economic hubs such as Brazil, China and Germany, while international students will complete a policy session in Washington, DC.

Shaheen Shaik, an MBA student from Hyderabad, India, says she chose to attend the Haslam College of Business for its philosophy that students should be equipped with industry knowledge.

“The industry connections the college has established give us an opportunity to understand what it takes to ensure a smooth transition from school into a leadership path,” said Shaik. “It also provides excellent insight into how management interacts with its workforce and how organizational behavior is linked with management strategies and decisions.”

Whit Lammons, an MBA student from Greenville, South Carolina, believes that working with international students will help him manage global supply chains after graduation.

“I hope to improve my cross-cultural communication skills so that I can prepare myself for future business interactions and situations,” Lammons said.

Real-world relevance also is emphasized as part of each term’s final evaluations, with a team-based case competition. At the end of their first year, MBA students partner with local nonprofit organizations on a project to increase their efficiency and impact.

The 2015-2016 MBA class is composed of seventy-one total students. The percentage of women and the average GMAT score of accepted students has also risen for this year’s new class. The students will graduate from the 17-month full-time program in December 2016.



Katie Bahr (865-974-3589,

Tyra Haag (865-696-1941,