Published: Jan. 13, 2009

MSU deans comment on MSU’s expanding relationship with IBM

Contact(s): Mark Fellows Media Communications office: (517) 884-0166

Satish Udpa, dean of the MSU College of Engineering:

(517) 355-5114

“From the state’s point of view, this is a shot in the arm with respect to the economy. From IBM’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to do business in a location that has several advantages – access to talent, many other intangibles that an internationally focused university community can offer. That is a big plus for IBM. Plus it’s also a place where the cost of operating a business can be very low, potentially, so I think IBM saw the advantages. It’s a big win for the university because it provides opportunities for our students to work with a world class company. It allows us to get into research areas that we have not been engaged with in the past, maybe expand research areas we are currently working on.”


“I think the most important thing from their perspective was our willingness to work with them. We have a truly outstanding campus here with a strong international focus. IBM is an international company, we have strong programs in business, we have a strong program in social science, we have strong programs in natural science and we have strong programs in engineering.”


“They see talent, they see the international connections, they see, most importantly, the willingness to work with them. They are a matrix organization, we are a matrix organization and there are elements that click.”


“When they say global applications it means they’re going to be working with clients in different domains, which means it’s also an opportunity for our business majors to get engaged, it’s also an opportunity for our social science majors to engage, people in physics for example, people in health care. So there are many opportunities for our students.”


“I think it’s a conscious effort on the part of the university to engage in economic development opportunities. The president has taken (and) the provost has taken a strong interest in cultivating connections with companies, and I think this is a consequence of all of that. This is a true shot in the arm and to have two successes in a row (U.S. Department of Energy’s $550 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, announced Dec. 11), I think is a tremendous testimony to the effort that we are investing in this.”


Jeffrey Riedinger, dean of International Studies and Programs:
(Editor’s note: Riedinger currently available only by e-mail)

“A unique combination of international experience, practical application of research and dedication to serve the state of Michigan, uniquely qualify the university as IBM’s first partner in a U.S.-based Global Delivery Center. We look forward to the opportunities that will enhance collaborative research and faculty and staff exchanges abroad.”


“A hallmark of our work is the ability to facilitate cross discipline exchanges among faculty, students, corporations and government agencies at home and abroad – these are great assets to bring to the partnership. Specifically IBM’s centers in India and Brazil will enhance MSU’s connections and exchanges for faculty and students.”


"The new Global Deliver Center will add MSU to IBM's global partner resources. This will open opportunities for faculty and student exchanges, participation in MSU educational offerings and increase collaborative research between East Lansing and IBM's centers in Brazil and India."


For expedited responses to ISP queries:


Dawn Pysarchik, associate dean: (517) 353-235;

Peter Briggs, director of office of International Studies and Programs: (517) 353-1741;


Elvin Lashbrooke, dean of the Eli Broad College of Business:

(517) 355-8377

"The Broad School has enjoyed a long and rewarding relationship with IBM, and their new Global Delivery Center will allow us to strengthen our ties even more. I truly believe IBM elected to work with Michigan State on this initiative because of the university's flexibility and ability to adapt to many different situations and opportunities. This is wonderful news for our state, our city and our university, and we're excited to be a part of it."


David Frayer, director of the Broad College of Business Executive Development Programs:

(517) 353-8711

“MSU has gained tremendous benefit from our association with IBM Corp. over the years. The technology platform in our executive education and corporate learning center – the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development – is based on extensive benchmarking facilitated by IBM Corp. several years ago, and the corporation has continued to be strong supporter of our research programs, providing annual funding and active participation on our various advisory boards.”


(MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business has enjoyed a strong relationship with IBM over the past seven years. Faculty members have led several types of seminars for the company, including a weeklong supply chain executive education program, as well as research into how to apply supply chain principles to service operations. Also, the business college’s current focus on sustainability resulted from research conducted at IBM involving returnable packaging and security.)


Marietta Baba, dean of the MSU College of Social Science:

(517) 355-6675

“New educational programming in service science, management and engineering with IBM and its clients will be an exciting opportunity for several of MSU’s colleges and their faculty. These programs will help to transform Michigan’s economy toward the service-oriented businesses of the 21st century.”


(In an existing project between MSU and IBM, Dean Marietta Baba is leading research that explores the evolution of service-science management and engineering at the corporation. Service science is an emerging interdisciplinary field that aims to help prepare future managers, engineers and scholars for the service economy. The College of Social Science also has offered to coordinate the development of a program in service-science management based on Baba’s experience at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in California, where she spent three months as a visiting research scientist.)