WKU offers dual-degree program with French school

Taylor Harrison

Attending WKU can mean earning a degree from a university other than just WKU.

Zubair Mohamed, chair of the management department, and Daniel Myers, associate economics professor, developed a dual degree program between WKU and the Saint-Etienne School of Management in France.

Students who complete the program earn a diploma from both Saint-Etienne and WKU while paying WKU’s tuition prices for the year spent abroad.

“The tagline we like to use is no added time — no added dime,” Mohamed said.

There are many other exchange programs at WKU, but they’re not dual-degree programs such as the one WKU has with Saint-Etienne.

While any WKU student can attend Saint-Etienne for a semester, only international business majors have the opportunity to spend an entire year in France. Students typically attend school at WKU for their freshman and sophomore years, go to Saint-Etienne for their junior year, and then head back to WKU for their senior year.

Being able to speak French is not a requirement for the program. While students study French at Saint-Etienne, most of their courses will be taught in English.

Mohamed said the end product is a student who knows how to do business in English, but who is also “culturally sensitive” and can live among people who speak a different language.

“Making an attempt to communicate in their language is something they would appreciate,” he said. “You’re showing that you’re genuinely making an effort.”

Mohamed said Saint-Etienne students come to WKU as well.

The first cohort of five Saint-Etienne students studied at WKU during the 2008-2009 academic year, and WKU students began going to France last year, according to the business school’s website.

Saint-Etienne graduate student Siham Ziani learned a lot while at WKU.

“Getting to live in a different nation, a different culture and having to adapt to a new way of living made me develop my interpersonal skills and feel more confident today,” Ziani said in an email.

Myers said he’s interested in expanding the dual-degree program beyond Saint-Etienne. WKU is looking into creating partnerships with two more schools, one in Mexico and the other in Germany.

While expansion is the goal, there are some countries that aren’t options yet because of circumstances with WKU students.

“The thing that limits us right now is the fact that so few Western students have a competency in other languages,” Myers said. “So we’re pretty much focusing on schools that teach a significant number of their courses in English.”