Indy 500 attracts international MBA students to State

Indiana State’s proximity to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway helps attract students from one of Brazil’s leading MBA programs to the Scott College of Business for an annual seminar on finance.




Indiana State’s proximity to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway helps attract students from one of Brazil’s leading MBA programs to the Scott College of Business for an annual seminar on finance.

Now in its third year, the week-long program for students at Fundação Getulio Vargas, a university and think tank, is timed to include the Indianapolis 500. It also features three days of classes and visits to the Federal Reserve Bank and Money Museum in Chicago.

Aruna Chandrasekaran, professor of management in the Scott College who coordinates the seminar, calls Fundação Getulio Vargas “the Harvard of Brazil” and notes that Indiana State is one of only three American universities with which it partners on such programs.

“I truly believe that we wouldn’t have received the honor of getting this program but for the Indy 500,” Chandrasekaran said. “It’s a fun event, and it’s going to be even more fun this year because it’s the 100th running.”

The visitors do more than take in the race while in Indianapolis. Speakers are brought in to discuss the business and marketing aspects of the event.

“They get a very rounded perspective,” Chandrasekaran said.

This year’s speakers will include Willy Herrmann, who leads Formula Indy efforts in Brazil, and Carlo Gancia, who helped such Brazilians as Emerson Fittipaldi obtain sponsorships and is president of Image Sports Marketing, a U.S.-based company with subsidiaries in São Paulo which represents, promotes, markets and televises American open-wheel racing in Brazil.

Joyce Young, professor of marketing in the Scott College, teaches motorsports marketing and engages in industry-related research, and will provide an overview of the racing industry in the U.S.

About 15 students attended last year’s seminar, but Chandrasekaran expects that number to increase this year, thanks to the addition of the Chicago trip, which she added after taking over the program from the late Eurico Ferreira, a professor of finance who started the program in 2014.

“It’s amazing that we got the opportunity to have these students come over,” said Chandrasekaran, who has conducted research in Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar. “It gives a lot of publicity to ISU. Many of the participants are working people and they want to know how to send their kids here. They get a pass to the Student Recreation Center and leave with a very positive impression of ISU and turn into our ambassadors.”



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