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This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
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The Massachusetts–South Africa Technology Fellowship (M-SAT) is a new program led by Bentley Professor of Marketing Abdolreza Eshghi in concert with South Africa Partners, a Boston-based nonprofit. Funded through a $396,000 grant by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department, M-SAT brings together mid-level professionals from Massachusetts and South Africa to build relationships with peers, promote cultural competency and strengthen professional skills. The program serves business sectors important to both countries: high-tech, information technology and life sciences.
After a competitive application process, selected Fellows from South Africa will spend a month in the Boston area. The engagement starts with a week’s orientation at Bentley, to learn about U.S. history, culture and business practices. Fellows then spend three weeks at a company in Boston or Cambridge identified to match their particular field and learning goals. The placement includes mentoring by a senior manager and collaboration with a peer who works on similar issues. The program capstone takes the group to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Professional Fellows Congress with other Fellows from around the world.
In reciprocal fashion, the designated U.S. peer will go to South Africa for two weeks. In addition to spending time at the partner Fellow’s worksite, participants will study the country’s history and culture through programming and travel coordinated by South Africa Partners.
M-SAT kicks off this year, with six Fellows arriving from South Africa in April and eight in October. The exchange for two groups of U.S. Fellows takes place in July 2013 and January 2014.
“The fellowships offer South African participants a chance to learn about best business practices and build networks with each other and with their American colleagues,” says Eshghi, who holds visiting professor appointments at Moscow State University and Akhawayn University in Morocco. He also directs the International Summer Institute at Bentley program.
“We’re creating an opportunity for the next generation of business leaders in both countries to develop a deeper mutual understanding as people and as professionals.”
Learn more at www.bentley.edu/partnerships/partnerships.