JVER v27n3 - The Curriculum Internationalizing Process in Banking and Finance School-to-Work Programs

Volume 27, Number 3

The Curriculum Internationalization Process in Banking and Finance School-to-Work Programs: A Cross Case Study

Penny Jo Clark
Bowling Green State University


To meet the demand for workers with high-tech skills and an understanding of international business, America's schools have initiated school-to-work and international education programs. This study described the internationalization process of two banking and finance school-to-work programs, a German youth apprenticeship and an American career academy program. Qualitative case design was used to provide detailed descriptions of the internationalization phenomena, content and methodology, taking place in these bounded programs. Recommendations include conducting longitudinal research to more fully understand the phenomena studied. An extension of this would be research in additional countries. Research on curriculum internationalization may lead to a better mix between infusion and inclusion methods, resulting in optimal learning by students. Research on international concepts in teacher educator programs may shed light on the need for professional development.

Entering his upper level finance class one mid-November morning, Herr Seifarth (Mr. Seifarth) quickly caught the classes' attention by asking, "What happened in a small town in Connecticut in 1944?" Perhaps not yet awake for this eight o'clock class or because they simply didn't know the answer, the students dodged the question by asking, "Where is Connecticut?" Seifarth responded curtly, "The USA." Avoiding further evasion, Seifarth quickly threw out a second question, "What has happened since the time of the [second world] war?"

Thinking that he might not receive the needed responses from the students, Herr Seifarth began his lesson on the development of the international financial markets. By recalling historical events, Seifarth laid the foundation for understanding current banking practices, products, and market theory. He explained that 1944 was a pivotal year in banking because the world's leading nations-the United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia-convened to reestablish international trade by developing universal standards of practice for trade. More important, he noted, the group of nations agreed to "tie their currency's value to the price of gold and to make them gold exchangeable at any time. By doing so, the group hoped to restore stability to the world economy." Finally, Seifarth explained that the 1944 conference created the International Monetary Fund, predecessor to the World Bank, which would serve as the clearinghouse for international transactions and lending.

As Herr Seifarth conveyed this information, students listened quietly, making notes of key information for future reference. With the introduction of the gold-backed currency topic, however, several students raised their heads as if to question the instructor's information. Understanding their confusion-currencies are no longer backed by gold-Seifarth resisted the urge to immediately clarify the students' questions, choosing, instead, to move forward in time to the Korean and Vietnam war eras. Following several general statements about the countries involved in these conflicts, he asked the students, "Why was Vietnam so difficult for the Americans?" Excitedly, the students cried out about the conflict's atrocities, that Nixon was president, and that a number of African-American soldiers died in Vietnam. Agreeing with their comments but needing an effective means of challenging the students to consider the significance of the era on banking, Seifarth proclaimed, "But, they [the U.S.] lost the war." All agreed, but the students' quizzical looks indicated that they did not see the significance of the loss.

With a patient voice, Herr Seifarth explained that the American economy was doing poorly due to a lack of support for the conflict both at home and abroad. Fewer American goods were being sold domestically and internationally, resulting in a decrease in production and, therefore, an overall slowdown in the American economy. As the economy slowed, it became increasingly difficult for the United States to maintain gold deposits that backed outstanding dollars one-for-one. In an effort to eliminate deposit problems, Nixon took the dollar off of the gold standard allowing both dollar and gold prices to be traded freely in the open market and laying the foundation for today's foreign exchange and capital markets (classroom observation, November 17, 1998).

Some four months later and 4,000 miles from Bensheim, Germany, Academy of Finance students at Forest Park High School in Forest Park, Georgia, settled into their International Finance class. Following roll call, Ms. Phillips asked the students, "What do you know about the gold standard?" (classroom observations, March 19, 1999,). With this, the group began a review of the history of fixed and floating exchange rates.

Though fine details between these two classroom events varied, each discussion focused on historical events and currency pricing theory while touching on factors that have contributed to the development of modern financial markets. More important to this study, these presentations highlighted a number of international business and banking concepts found in both the written and observed curriculum of a German Banking and Finance youth apprenticeship program and an American Academy of Finance career academy program. Finally, these events provided insight into the methods used for internationalizing each program's curriculum.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this study was to describe the curriculum internationalization process-taking place in two banking and finance school-to-work programs; specifically, the international business and banking concepts found in the written and observed curricula used in a youth apprenticeship program in Germany and a career academy program in the United States. A second purpose of this study was to identify the curriculum internationalization method-infusion, inclusion, or both-used by each of the programs. To guide the research, four questions were developed. These questions were:

  1. What international business and banking concepts appeared in the curriculum of a German banking and finance youth apprenticeship program?
  2. How was the curriculum of the German banking and finance youth apprenticeship program internationalized?
  3. What international business and banking concepts appeared in the curriculum of an American banking and finance career academy program?
  4. How was the curriculum of the American banking and finance career academy program internationalized?

Conceptual Framework

Advances in technology now enable corporations and individuals to conduct business around the clock and around the world. As a result, the United States has become an integral part of the rapidly developing global economy that influences the form and shape of business in the U.S. and every other nation. One industry that has been radically affected by technological advances and the development of the global economy is the banking and finance industry ( Dietrich, 1996 ; McMillan, 1995 ). For example, in 1980, outstanding foreign loans to corporations totaled $5 billion and largely represented trade financing. This figure grew to $125 billion in 1993, an increase of 2,500%, and represented foreign direct investment by American corporations, foreign office working capital financing, as well as trade financing ( Dietrich, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1994 ).

To meet the demand for workers with high-tech skills and an understanding of international business terms, theories, and practice, America's public schools have initiated a number of programs, including school-to-work ( Dornsife, Finkelstein, Latting, Stern, & Stone, 1994 ) that focus on integrating academic and career technical education with international education for a single educational format ( Tye & Tye, 1992 ). While school-to-work programs strive to coordinate what takes place in school with students' work experiences ( Kazis, 1993 ; Smith & Rojewski, 1993 ), schools have adopted an internationalized curriculum that focuses on the interdependence of the world's economic, environmental, political, and cultural systems and how this interdependence influences domestic events and policies.

Along with the success students may experience at school and work through school-to-work programs, members of government, business, and education hope to reduce high school dropout rates, increase employment rates among young adults, enhance basic skills, and generally benefit the American economy ( Dornsife et al., 1994 ). Similar programs in schools of other industrialized nations (e.g., Denmark, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom) are perceived as contributing to these countries' economic successes, high literacy rates, and low unemployment rates ( Kiester, 1993 ; Office of Technology Assessment, 1990 ; Schlicht, 1995 ). Therefore, an American-style school-to-work program may result in similarly favorable outcomes.

While school-to-work programs address student needs for high-tech, complex skills and problem solving abilities, student employment opportunities may be further enhanced when the school-to-work curriculum has been internationalized to reflect the global nature of the economy and daily life ( Cavusgil, 1993 ). Two programs, one domestic and one foreign, that have focused on meeting the high-tech skills and international knowledge needs of the banking and finance industry are Karl Kübel's Banking and Finance youth apprenticeship program in Germany and Forest Park High School's Academy of Finance career academy program in the United States.

While much has been written about school-to-work programs and the rationale for internationalizing the curriculum, a review of the literature for both school-to-work programs and international education found no studies on the internationalization of school-to-work programs in Germany or the United States. Therefore, this study examined the school-to-work curriculum for international themes and how they were introduced in the curriculum.


Design and Sample

A qualitative case study approach was chosen. The decision to use qualitative research was driven by a lack of exploration on the study topic ( Merriam, 1998 , Stake, 1995 ). Further, detailed description of phenomena taking place in bounded programs was sought ( Miles & Huberman, 1994 ). As a result, the case study approach would lead to the "discovery of new meaning, extend the reader's experience, or confirm what is known" (Merriam, p. 30), which may inform educational practice and curriculum planning.

A purposive sample based on convenience ( Merriam, 1998 ) was used to select both the German banking and finance youth apprenticeship program and the American career academy program. These school-to-work programs were selected as units of analysis as they represented current educational initiatives and were bounded by program parameters, thus, facilitating the case study research approach. Further, banking and finance programs were selected as this industry has experienced long-term exposure to international business. Therefore, banking and finance programs should reflect the internationalization process that has taken place in the industry.

To develop holistic case studies, two data collection strategies were employed, document review and observation. By utilizing multiple data sources, findings were affirmed and vigor built into the study ( Creswell, 1998 ; Merriam, 1998 ; Patton 1990 ; Stake, 1995 ). Data was collected over a seven-month period, three and one-half months for each program, beginning with a review of relevant documents and ending with classroom observations. Classroom observations, however, made up the bulk of the research conducted on-site. Observations were conducted over an eight-week period at each site in increments of three to six hours per observation. In Germany, observations took place throughout the week. In the United States, observations were conducted two or three days per week, reflecting the school's block scheduling format. I, as researcher, served as the primary instrument for data collection, which allowed me to take-in the same environment and experiences as the students; thus, facilitating the development of an emic perspective of the phenomena being researched ( Merriam, 1998 ).

International Business and Banking Concepts List

In preparing for this study and to expedite document reviews, an analysis of six recent international business and banking textbooks was conducted. From this analysis, a detailed list of 80 terms, topics, theories, and practices-collectively referred to as the international business and banking concepts list in this study-was developed that addressed international subjects found in the fields of accounting, banking, economics, finance, and marketing. This list was arranged in unranked, alphabetical order. Additional analysis of these concepts resulted in the development of nine general categories. These categories and the number of concepts per category were Cultural and Social Factors (2), International Accounting (1), International Banking (14), International Economics (15), International Marketing (5), International Money Markets (15), International Organizations and Agreements (10), International Trade (12), and Multinational Corporate Structures (6).

The concepts list was used predominantly in the curriculum content analysis. It should be noted, however, that the concepts list was not intended to serve as a standard for the international business and banking curricula. Rather, it served as a reflection of current practice and, therefore, provided a framework for analyzing the large collection of material reviewed.

Results, Discussion, and Implications

Prior to discussing comparative results, an overview of findings for each case is provided, beginning with the German case. Each discussion includes a review of the international business and banking concepts found in the written and observed curriculum, as well as a review of the curriculum internationalization methods results. This section ends with a comparative discussion of results, which may have implications for future research in curriculum internationalization and banking and finance school-to-work program curricula.

Karl Kübel Banking and Finance Program

Karl Kübel's Banking and Finance youth apprenticeship program is designed as a 2- or 3-year program and includes studies in accounting, banking, investing, and economics. Computer and English courses are also taught, though each is treated much like a workshop, meeting only sporadically. All of Karl Kübel's upper-level banking and finance students hold apprenticeship positions and work two to three days per week, attending classes the remaining days.

In the 1998-1999 school year, Karl Kübel's banking program included 115 students, 60 men and 55 women ranging in age from 16 to 22 years old. Observations indicated that this was not a homogeneous group, but ethnic diversity among the program's students was limited. Students were typically native Germans.

International Business and Banking Concepts

Prior to discussing the results of the German case study, it should be noted that Germany's proximity to foreign countries and, therefore their currencies, might have benefited the internationalization process in Karl Kübel's banking and finance program. Additionally, the country's involvement in the development of the European Economic Community (EEC) places Germany, its workers, and potential workers in a unique position. As the seat of the European central bank, employees of the bank will require a strong knowledge of international banking. Foreseeing this demand, Germany's banking and finance youth apprenticeship programs may have enhanced the international aspects of their programs.

In the state of Hessen, Grill and Perczynski's (1998) Wirtschaftslehre des Kreditwesens (Economic Teachings for Credit Knowledge) served as the primary text for Karl Kübel's school-based program. The text addressed current practices, theory, and legislation of the banking and finance industry. A second text used by Karl Kübel's banking and finance students was the individual bank's Studienplanen (student courses). Upon entering the apprenticeship program, and throughout their work-based program, students participated in site-based workshops that reviewed material from the school-based curriculum, but also addressed individual bank practices. A comparison of the school- and work-based curriculum found that, for the most part, each mirrored the other. The bank text, however, gave step-by-step transaction descriptions, explained technical forms, and showed mathematical calculations.

Written curriculum . Of the 80 items appearing on the international business and banking concepts list, a total of 66 were found in Karl Kübel's written curriculum. Concepts found in the state text totaled 62, while 48 concepts were found in the bank text. Of the 62 concepts found in the state text, 41 were concentrated in the categories of International Banking, International Money Markets, and International Trade. Missing concepts were concentrated in the categories of International Organizations and Agreements and Multinational Corporate Structures, which may reflect the fact that American texts were used to develop the international business and banking concepts list. Of the ten possible concepts found in the International Organization and Agreements category, only three were found in Karl Kübel's written curriculum. Within the Multinational Corporate Structures category, none of the six possible concepts were identified. Additional concepts missing from the Karl Kübel's curricula were in the category of International Marketing. Finally, Karl Kübel's written curriculum did not specifically address the values concepts found in the Cultural and Social Factors category.

Had a longitudinal study of Karl Kübel's banking and finance program been conducted, it is possible that missing concepts from the above categories may have been identified in handouts or other documents not made available to the researcher. However, as multiple items from the International Organizations and Agreements and Multinational Corporate Structures categories were missing, it's appropriate to suggest that these concepts did not take precedence in Germany's banking and finance curriculum. This assertion is further supported by the fact that only those concepts (e.g., Bank of International Settlements, European Economic Community, and European Union) that directly impact Germany's banking and finance industry were addressed in the International Organizations and Agreements category.

Observed curriculum . While the state and bank texts were each reviewed for the presence of international business banking concepts, curriculum observations were limited to courses that took place at Karl Kübel. From these observations, 42 of the 80 concepts were present. Of the 42, the International Money Market category was the only category to have all possible concepts, 15, to appear in classroom presentations. More importantly, concepts from the category were repeatedly observed, over 20 times, by the researcher, suggesting that student exposure and understanding of concepts within this category were of particular importance for Karl Kübel's banking and finance students.

Similar results were also found for the International Banking category, which had the second highest number of observed concepts, 10 out of a possible 15. Eighteen presentations were given on these concepts. Again, the repetition of concepts from the category suggests a level of importance to students.

Curriculum Internationalization

Written curriculum . The infusion method of curriculum internationalization calls for international themes and topics to be woven into a program's existing curriculum. Such was the case for the international business and banking concepts found in the curricula of Karl Kübel's banking and finance program, both state and bank texts. International concepts were systematically interwoven with presentations on domestic banking transactions, suggesting a natural progression of knowledge to the learner. Each text began with fundamentals about a concept and built on this foundation while introducing new and increasingly more complex information, including the international business and banking concepts relative to the topic.

Observed curriculum . Mimicking the state text, the international business and banking concepts were identified throughout Karl Kübel's observed curriculum. During the observation period, classes reviewed the topics of international accounts, lending, credit, economic structures, trade, and market transactions. Like the texts, classroom presentations progressed from introductory information to complex transactions and from a focus on domestic business to foreign business.

Though this study did not research the effects of the infusion method of curriculum internationalization on the attainment of knowledge, the depth and complexity of the international concepts studied in the latter portion of Karl Kübel's program (e.g., the DuPont pricing model, hedge pricing) suggest that the infusion method, as well as the repetition of material, may enhance the learning experience. However, Germany's core math curriculum, completed prior in secondary schools, may have provided a foundation that allowed for advanced study in the Berufsschule (upper secondary school). Examination of student transcripts and comparison with American math courses may provide additional insight into this phenomenon.

Forest Park High School Academy of Finance

The Academy of Finance (AOF) program is designed as a 2-, 3-, or 4-year program and includes studies in accounting, banking and credit, economics, financial planning, international finance, and securities operations. Computer courses are also encouraged. For the work-based component of the program, 10th grade students participate in job shadowing while 11th graders complete internships. Both of these experiences take place during the summer months.

The AOF program used in this study was located in Forest Park, Georgia, a city neighboring Atlanta. The program was established in 1995 in an effort to offer students a "different school experience that would help them succeed after high school" (AOF Instructor, 1999). During the 1998-1999 school year, the AOF program included 37 students, 11 seniors, 11 juniors, and 15 sophomores. Of the 37, 24 were females and 13 were males. Though ethnicity figures for the group were not available, observation and student verification identified the students as being African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian.

International Business and Banking Concepts

As the National Academy Foundation (NAF) designed the curriculum for the Academy of Finance, research for this case began with document reviews at NAF's New York office and was continued at Forest Park High School. Documents included in the review were NAF promotional literature, annual reports, and the AOF's course curricula, the central focus of the review.

Written curriculum . Using the international business and banking concepts list as a guide, Forest Park's AOF curriculum included 78 of the possible 80 terms, topics, theories, and practices. Missing concepts included the handling of foreign denominated deposit accounts from the International Banking category and the theory of branding and packaging for foreign markets from the International Marketing category. As 98% of the possible international business and banking concepts were found in the written curriculum, it is appropriate to suggest that the missing concepts were overlooked or intentionally omitted by curriculum writers.

Further investigation of the AOF curriculum materials found that 74% of the international business and banking concepts were concentrated in the program's capstone course, International Finance . The second and third greatest concentrations were found in Economics , 49%, and Banking and Credit , 23%. These results suggest that had International Finance not been offered in the AOF program, students' exposure to and work with international concepts would have been minimal, if not, non-existent.

Among the international business and banking concepts found in the AOF curriculum, foreign exchange transactions received the greatest attention. Topics ranged from currency names and spot rate values to hedging products that reduced exchange rate exposure. These concepts were found in five of the six AOF courses, suggesting that students' needed a strong knowledge of foreign exchange transactions to complete courses and obtain positions in banking and finance.

Observed curriculum . While a majority of the international business and banking concepts were found in the written curriculum, classroom observations did not yield as bountiful an outcome. Specifically, only 24 of the 80 concepts were observed. Although not all the courses were observed due to study restrictions, the observation period did coincide with the semester in which International Finance was taught. Classes not observed included Personal Finance and Banking and Credit .

Given that International Finance possessed the greatest opportunity for observing the international concepts, higher observation results would be anticipated. The low numbers, however, suggest that external factors were prohibiting the teaching of this course. These factors may include the lack of professional development in international business of the instructor and administrative duties. From these, the greatest inhibitor would appear to be the lack of professional development. The instructor, herself, commented that she "really didn't know this material, and…[hadn't] had time to try and learn it." The second barrier appeared to be administrative demands that took time from the class. The AOF coordinator was forced to use class time to address plans for the AOF senior trip. State testing also cut into instructional time.

Curriculum Internationalization

Reviewing the Academy of Finance curricula, the researcher noted that both infusion and inclusion methods for internationalizing the curriculum were used. While infusion of the international business and banking concepts prevailed in the Accounting, Banking and Credit, Economics , and Securities Operations courses, the inclusion method was represented by the International Finance course, which was an independent course solely focused on international finance topics.

Written curriculum . Within courses being internationalized through infusion, international business and banking concepts appeared with varying foci and in varying locations. In Economics , international concepts were introduced early on. However, detailed and in-depth discussion of international economics did not begin until Chapter 14, page 330. Similar delays in international lessons were found in the Accounting, Banking and Credit , and Securities Operations texts.

One result of the postponement of international topics to the latter portion of a text may be that the chapters are never taught. This result is supported by research at Forest Park where international topics in Accounting and Economics were not covered in class as neither of these courses reached the appropriate chapters in the texts. A second result may be that these chapters are reviewed quickly at the end of the term, inhibiting the learning process for the students. Per one AOF student, this was the case for the international concepts discussed in the Securities Operations course. During discussion in International Finance , the student commented that he didn't "really remember the material because we went over it so fast at the end of last semester."

Implications from these results are that students may be unprepared for future classes, specifically International Finance , as they have not learned the international fundamentals taught in prior courses. Further, time is taken away from advanced level international business and banking concepts taught in International Finance to learn the needed material. A final implication is that students graduating from Forest Park's AOF program may not be prepared for entry-level international banking positions though this is a goal of the program.

Observed curriculum . Unlike the written texts, inclusion served as the primary method for internationalizing the Academy of Finance classroom curriculum. As previously noted, 24 of the 80 international business and banking concepts were observed in the AOF curriculum. Of the 24, all but one occurred in the International Finance course. The remaining item, accounting for international sales, was observed in the Accounting course and was part of a general discussion of sales journals. As this concept was included in the general discussion of sales, this presentation is representative of the infusion curriculum internationalization method.

Given Forest Park's dependence on the inclusion method for internationalizing the Academy of Finance program, it is fitting to suggest that greater focus should be given to the delivery of material in the International Finance course. This further implies that students must possess the preliminary information needed for the course. Therefore, care should be taken to deliver lessons containing international business and banking concepts found in earlier courses.

Comparative Discussion

The introduction to this article provides a unique look at a single lesson being taught in both Karl Kübel's Banking and Finance youth apprenticeship program and Forest Park's Academy of Finance program. In retelling these events, the reader peeks inside each program, discovering the international business and banking concepts being taught and the means for internationalizing each.

Beyond the concepts and internationalization methods, these vignettes provide insight into the qualities and characteristics of each program, as well as the similarities and differences between the programs. Along with a discussion of the written and observed international business and banking concepts found in the programs, the following discussion focuses on the shared qualities: program structure, international business and banking concepts, instructional methods, as well as those characteristics that differentiate the two programs: work-based experience, internationalization process, knowledge building, and teacher preparation.


Program structure . Throughout the research period, a number of similarities between Karl Kübel's Banking and Finance and Forest Park's Academy of Finance programs emerged. First, each program was concentrated into a two-year sequence that included both school-based and work-based components. Though the length of work assignments, discussed later, differed between programs, work-based experiences were considered important in both programs for the student's knowledge and skill development.

Second, students in both programs were placed in cohort groups. At Karl Kübel, cohort placements reflected the students' previous educational pursuits, while Forest Park's cohort groups reflected high school standing. For both programs, the use of cohorts appeared to facilitate the learning process. Students developed study groups and appeared to share their knowledge freely within the study groups as well as the cohort group.

Third, the course work for each program was comparable. Both programs contained work in accounting, economics, banking, finance, and securities. Though the AOF used a series of distinct, individual courses over the two-year period to convey the curricula, the content of Karl Kübel's program was compiled in a single text that was supplemented by articles and other materials. The AOF also utilized non-text materials in their program.

These findings offer several suggestions for career technical directors and school-to-work program developers. Along with retaining the school- and work-based components of career and technical programs, administrators may also incorporate cohort groups into their programs as these experiences appear to reinforce the student's attainment of knowledge and skills while also enhancing the curriculum.

International business and banking concepts . Like the programs' courses, the international business and banking concepts found in the written curriculum of Karl Kübel's program were very similar to those found in Forest Park's program. The curricula of both programs addressed a majority of the concepts identified for this study. Although neither the number nor the depth of coverage of the concepts were identical, the study's findings suggest that program developers place international topics as a priority. This finding may, in turn, reflect the importance policymakers have placed on developing skills needed to compete in our global economy.

Instructional methods . In both Karl Kübel's and Forest Park's program, instruction revolved around lecture, discussion, and book work. At both sites, students were observed taking notes and completing terms and questions from the book or other worksheets. In the U.S., videos were also used to convey information. To involve students in presentations, instructors at both sites were observed leading discussion by asking direct (e.g., what currency is used in Chile?) and indirect (e.g., what can you tell me about Chile?) questions. Finally, both programs used field trips.

Though projects and group work were observed in each program, these incidences were few; and the amount of class time allocated to group work was limited. Further, group assignments frequently centered around answering terms and questions, and rarely were students challenged to use critical thinking skills to solve problems.

While changes in instructional methods are taking place in both the U.S. and Germany, the findings in this study suggest that redirection of effort by teachers is needed. Only when instruction has moved from being teacher-centered to student-centered will students develop the problem solving skills required in today's workplace.


Work-based experience . Of the differences noted between Karl Kübel's and Forest Park's programs, the most prominent dealt with the work-based component of the programs. Specifically, Karl Kübel's students completed two-year youth apprenticeship assignments that placed them in banks two to three days per week. In contrast, Forest Park students completed a six- to eight-week summer internship program between their junior and senior years. While all work experience has value, Karl Kübel's students had significantly more opportunity to gain real world experience, which may have enhanced their school-based work as well as their future employment options.

Second, Karl Kübel's successful banking and finance students completed a certified program that attested to their knowledge and skills. Though their course work was completed in the state of Hessen, graduates were recognized under the German youth apprenticeship system as qualified candidates for any banking and finance position in the country, giving the students even greater flexibility when considering jobs. While Forest Park's Academy of Finance students possess specialized knowledge that may open doors, they would require additional education and training to qualify for many banking and finance positions.

These findings suggest that school-to-work programs must have a lasting commitment to work-based experiences. While students benefit from exposure to the workplace, the skills they learn in the workplace will be enhanced through prolonged exposure.

Internationalization process . A further difference between Karl Kübel's and Forest Park's banking and finance program dealt with the curriculum internationalization method. As previously noted, the international business and banking concepts used in this study were found throughout Karl Kübel's written and observed curriculum, reflecting the infusion internationalization method. Forest Park's internationalization method, however, was divided. While much of the written curriculum infused international concepts, the program also relied on a stand-alone course to deliver the international topics, reflecting the inclusion internationalization method. This was confirmed through observation as the bulk of the international concepts were found in the International Finance course.

Knowledge building through the curriculum . While each program's written curricula addressed the majority of international business and banking concepts, Karl Kübel's program, directly or indirectly, focused on knowledge building. Repetition of concepts was anticipated; however, the early introduction of international concepts and the cumulative nature of topics in the written material was not. Within the first five weeks of entering the program, fundamental international business and banking concepts were introduced. As students progressed through the curricula, these fundamentals were revisited and then expanded upon, occasionally within the same class but often in a future class. The final result was a fully constructed picture of current international business and banking knowledge and practices.

An example of this process was exemplified by the program's lessons on foreign exchange. Students' initial introduction to the concept of foreign exchange took the form of learning currencies' names and identifying spot exchange rates. This was followed by presentations on why individuals and companies might need foreign currencies, means for obtaining foreign currencies, and maintaining foreign denominated accounts. At this point, foreign exchange money markets were introduced into the curricula, and the students learned about world trading markets. Following reviews of supply and demand, the students were asked to apply their knowledge to exchange rate fluctuations, which was followed by discussions of factors influencing rate fluctuations. Finally, the curriculum addressed the role of government in maintaining a country's currency value.

With their fundamental knowledge of currency names, spot rates, trading arenas, and price fluctuations, banking and finance students were challenged to consider the risks associated with international transactions and, more importantly, methods for avoiding these risks. Students learned that companies may enter into contracts for the delivery of a foreign currency at a future date, which coincides with a company's need to pay, and their knowledge was advanced further when they were asked to calculate contract pricing. Finally, students were encouraged to evaluate an array of derivative products that may control a company's costs or result in earnings.

As this example illustrates, Karl Kübel's banking and finance students began building their knowledge of international business and banking almost immediately. In the United States, however, Forest Park's Academy of Finance curriculum delayed a number of the international business and banking concepts until the International Finance course, which was taught in the students' last semester. While international business and banking concepts appeared in courses leading up to International Finance , international concepts in these courses were often not covered due to a lack of time. This lack of course work would suggest that Forest Park's Academy of Finance students were not as well prepared for entry-level international banking and finance positions. If additional training were not sought, students' skills would remain deficient.

These findings suggest that internationalization is best achieved through infusion within a given course and throughout a entire program. When developing the program curriculum, the infusion of international concepts provides for the on-going introduction and development of the student's international knowledge. Care, however, must be taken to ensure that infused topics are not skipped or left to the end of a course, and therefore missed altogether. Only when students receive on-going exposure to experience with the internationalized curriculum will the needed knowledge develop.

Teacher preparation . While Forest Park's teachers held degrees in business education and had years of experience, neither teacher had studied or taught an international business course nor had they worked for an international organization. Moreover, the teachers did not have the highly specific international finance knowledge needed to teach the course based on both their own comments and their courses of studies. Though Forest Park attempted to address this problem by using an outside instructor, the instructor's lack of professionalism left the students and teachers struggling to learn. In contrast, not only had Karl Kübel's teachers completed studies in banking and finance, but each instructor had also worked as a banking or finance officer. The combination of their education and experience enhanced their classroom presentations as they drew upon their own studies and work when working with students.

Given our economy's ever-increasing global nature and the need for well-prepared teachers, the above findings suggest that future business education instructors in the United States may benefit from the inclusion of international business courses in their programs of study. Current teachers would benefit from summer employment in the banking and finance industry as well as staff development courses on international business and the internationalization process. Regardless of delivery method, American business educators must internationalize their knowledge.


Based on the study's findings and in consideration of the suggestions made earlier in this chapter, the following recommendations address the deficiencies in the curriculum internationalization process of secondary banking and finance school-to-work programs. These recommendations are largely based on the need for additional study as little research has been conducted in the field of curriculum internationalization for school-to-work programs. Future research will extend the foundation provided by this study.

  1. Given time limitations, additional study, preferably longitudinal research, should be conducted on both Karl Kübel and Forest Park banking and finance programs. Internationalization research on alternative school-to-work programs should be conducted. Finally, school-to-work programs of other countries should be examined to determine what international business topics are appearing.
  2. As work-based learning is a key component of school-to-work programs and given lack of work-based research in the banking and finance industry, further study of the international components in work-based curricula is recommended. Through this and additional research, educators may better understand the effect of on-the-job training on the acquisition of international knowledge.
  3. Although theme analysis was conducted to develop the international business and banking concept list used in this study, additional research on the international banking and finance topics, terms, theories, and practices is recommended. Through additional research, the study's concept list may be affirmed or revised, creating a standard against which banking and finance programs may be measured.
  4. As both infusion and inclusion curriculum internationalization methods were used by the programs in this study, research to determine the best internationalization mix for the curriculum is recommended.
  5. Curriculum development varies from program-to-program and from country-to-country. Thus, research investigating the curriculum decision-making process should be conducted to determine who is making decisions and how these decisions are being implemented.


Cavusgil, S. T. (1993) . Internationalization of business education: Defining the challenge. In S. T. Cavusgil (Ed.), Internationalizing business education: Meeting the challenge (pp. 1-13). East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.

Creswell, J. W. (1998) . Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Dietrich, J. K. (1996) . Financial services and financial institutions: Value creation in theory and practice . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Dornsife, C., Finkelstein, N., Latting, J., Stern, D., & Stone, J. R. (1994) . Research on school-to-work transition programs in the United States . Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

Grill, W., & Perczynski, H. (1998) . Wirtschaftslehre des Kreditwesens [Economic teachings for credit knowledge] (32nd ed.). Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany: Gehlen.

Kazis, R. (1993) . Improving the transition from school to work in the United States . Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum.

Kiester, E., Jr. (1993) . Germany prepares kids for good jobs; we were preparing ours for Wendy's. Smithsonian , 23(12), 44-55.

McMillan, T. (1995) . Global growing pains: A troubling wake-up call from the financial markets alerts the world to a new world order. Thunderbird: The American Graduate School of International Management , 69(2), 6-9.

Merriam, S. B. (1998) . Qualitative research and case study applications in education . San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994) . Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Office of Technology Assessment. (1990) . Worker training: Competing in the new international economy (GPO Doc No. Y3.T 22/2:2 W89/sum). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Patton, M. Q. (1990) . Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Schlicht, M. (1995) . Learning for the working world: Vocational training in the federal republic of Germany. B&W: Bildung und Wissenschaft (Education and Science), 4.

Smith, C. L., & Rojewski, J. W. (1993) . School-to-work transition: Alternatives for educational reform. Youth and Society , 25(2), 222-250.

Stake, R. E. (1995) . The art of case study research . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Tye, B. B., & Tye, K. A. (1992) . Global education: A study of school change . Albany: State University of New York Press.

U.S. Department of Commerce. (1995) . U.S. foreign trade highlights: 1994 . Washington, DC: International Trade Administration, Office of Trade and Economic Analysis.

PENNY Jo CLARK is Assistant Professor of Business Education, Bowling Green State University, 285 Business Administration Building, Bowling Green, OH 43402. email: clarkpj@bgnet.bgsu.edu