Students coming home

By Jami Peterson

Three NIU business students who have been studying in Russia will be coming home for Christmas.

NIU students Angela Weck, Brady Tauber and Margaret Brandt will be coming home on Dec. 15, 1990 after participating in a Small Business Institute (SBI) and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) exchange program with the Russian government.

Dan Lemanski, SBI director and a teacher of an entrepreneur class in the College of Business, said the program was originally started by Jack Smith, district director of Illinois. It has never been tried internationally until now but was experimented with in England, he said.

On Sept. 15, the students went to the Moscow Technological Institute of Timber Industries in Mytischi, a city located 30 minutes outside of Moscow, to help a small business adapt to and establish itself within the Soviet Union’s emerging free market.

“Things seem to be going very well for the students,” said Lemanski, who telephones the students every other week and corresponds with them through letters. “They have made a host of friends.”

In February, economic and political officials Valentin Mikhailovich Vologzhin, chairman of the Supreme Soviet’s Committee on Economic Reform and Nicholai Medvedev, deputy minister of the Timber Industries, met with the NIU students participating, Lemanski, SBDC Director Lawrence Rouse and Richard Brown, dean of the NIU College of Business, to begin the program.

Lemanski said he hopes the program, which has been very successful, continues.

“We learn from them,” he said. “They learn from us. They are right in the middle of changes. They’re a part of a new structure whose pace is very rapid.”

The program, established as a direct result of the Malta Summit, was set up on an exchange basis. In January 1991, NIU will receive four Soviet students who will participate in the SBI/SBDC program and the coursework offered by the College of Business.

The Soviet students coursework might include formulating exporting and marketing strategies, critiquing management techniques, upgrading management systems and developing product signs.

Lemanski said NIU will also be receiving three Soviet teachers in the middle of January who will stay here for three months to “learn to set up a program similar to this in the Soviet Union.”