One of Dr. J. Michael Hardin’s key objectives for the Culverhouse College of Commerce is to increase the internationalization of the business school in order to prepare students to be competitive in an increasingly global marketplace.
Since becoming dean last August, Hardin has outlined his plans for the business school based on his core principles of innovation, relevance, rigor and integrity. Nowhere are those principles more applicable than in the international arena.
“We are an Alabama business school, but we have a global reach and a global relevance,” Hardin said. “We have a number of students and faculty traveling and studying abroad, and we have a diverse and international faculty and student body. We approach our international mission by encouraging our students and faculty to study abroad and by welcoming students and faculty from other nations.’
Hardin said the next major push in increasing the College’s global reach is to create meaningful connections and partnerships with companies that have a significant overseas footprint, and that is where E. Barden Smedberg comes in.
Smedberg is the College’s executive director of international business initiatives. In this position he will work to raise the profile of Culverhouse international business endeavors through corporate outreach, fundraising and developing an active and involved International Business Advisory Board, among other things.
“He’s got a big job, but he has the right training and spirit for it,” said Dr. Chad Hilton, director of the College’s international business program. “He is a Culverhouse graduate, worked for more than 10 years with Accenture, including almost four years on assignments with Accenture in Japan. He’s completed an MBA at Doshisha, in Kyoto, one of the premiere universities in Japan, along with a Global Action Project at Cambridge University. His international business experience and language skills are very strong. So, we’re most happy to have him with us.”
Smedberg, who speaks Japanese, graduated from UA in 1998 with a degree in marketing and minors in Japanese and East Asian history.
“The University certainly has opened many doors for me,” Smedberg said. “I am blessed and honored to return to my alma mater and share international-business experiences and relationships with outstanding students and professors. I look forward to contributing to Dean Hardin’s vision of increasing the College’s global reach through platforms like the International Business Advisory Board, whose members include global business leaders.”
Smedberg said his time at Doshisha Business School allowed him to take classes in English and Japanese while interacting with classmates from Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Qatar and elsewhere. Smedberg attended MBA school as a Monbugakusho (Japanese Government Ministry of Education) scholar.
Accenture, a global management-consulting, technology, services and outsourcing company, has more than 244,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Smedberg’s clients included multiple Global Fortune 500 clients, such as Caterpillar, which has customers in more than 180 countries around the globe and more than 300 products.
Smedberg’s overseas work has taken him to many countries, including Switzerland, Germany, England, Holland, Japan, China, the Philippines and Singapore.
Since returning to Tuscaloosa, Smedberg has been active forging relationships and making contacts with firms that do a high volume of international business.
“I am increasing my involvement with as many chambers of commerce and other business organizations as possible,” Smedberg said. “We hope to increase our interaction and collaboration with international businesses while simultaneously publicizing the great things our alumni are doing in international business.”
Those involved in the international business arena who would like to contact Smedberg can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.