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Talking with … Francis Petit

Interviews | Feb 23, 2018 |

Francis Petit“Talking with…” helps you get to know a different Gabelli School faculty member, administrator, or staff member in each installment. This week, get to know Francis Petit, associate dean of global initiatives and partnerships, who also plays a hands-on role with the Executive MBA program.

Can you give a recent example of an international partnership you helped create?
One of our goals is to develop a stronger presence in India, and we recently created a 1+1 partnership with Xavier Institute of Management there. In year one, students from Xavier enroll in their school’s own MBA in Global Management program. In year two, assuming they meet our admissions criteria, these students enroll in the Gabelli School’s MS in Global Finance or MS in Management program. In essence, they complete two graduate degrees in a two-and-a-half-year period.

We are looking to establish similar partnerships all over the globe to increase and diversify our MS population.

Aside from taking courses that focus on international business, what is one way students can prepare for contributing to the global business world?
I think furthering one’s cultural mindset is a must. This requires a historical understanding of a region, its political landscape, its geography, and its natural resources, along with its language, traditions, and surrounding regions. A robust cultural mindset can allow for a deeper human understanding and hopefully increased opportunities.

How does the mission of being “men and women for others” play into the global initiatives you oversee?
This is a great question that needs to be continually addressed. Some past activities include visiting small businesses in the poverty-stricken area of South Africa’s Alexandra as well as learning core principles of Jesuit leadership on “el Camino Ignaciano” in Spain.

Is there something about working with the EMBA program you find particularly rewarding?
The bonding and camaraderie that develops among the cohort throughout the program and beyond is wonderful. I see our graduates on social media at Yankees games as well as celebrating milestone birthdays abroad. It is nice to see.

I am also appreciative of the increasing amount of student referrals from our EMBA alumni.

What are you looking forward to most at the Gabelli School this spring?
This spring we are taking EMBA students to Uruguay for their international capstone. This is a result of a new partnership with Universidad Católica del Uruguay. I believe it will be the first time that Gabelli graduate students will descend upon Montevideo!

What has been your favorite trip abroad with Fordham?
I am grateful for the travel opportunities from Fordham over the many years. With that said, while each location is unique, I would have to pick Turkey. It is historically fascinating and life-changing.


Fun questions

If you could be an Olympic athlete, which sport would you choose?
Probably water polo. I was on the Fordham water polo team as an undergraduate and also coached the team during my 20s. Great memories.

Boat, plane, or train travel?
Plane, so long as the turbulence is gentle.

If you had to move to another country, which would you pick?
I would have to pick Ireland. It is aesthetically beautiful and the people are lovely.

Best bagel in New York City:
These days I am staying away from bagels.

What’s your favorite Friday-night activity?
We are blessed to have four beautiful and healthy children who are very socially active on Friday nights. My wife also makes homemade pizza, which kicks off the weekend.

What’s your favorite Saturday-morning activity?
I enjoy the solitude that comes with being an early riser.


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