Like many products and services in our modern global economy, one of the great frontiers of business education is globalization. For years, Ross has been a globally oriented business school, and since my arrival at Ross a year and a half ago, expanding our global footprint has been among my highest priorities.
During this time, I have been exploring key questions around the topic, such as: How do we truly innovate, and offer something of significant value to global constituents? What are the roadblocks that stand in our way? And, how do we overcome challenges such as cost and capacity?
As we explore answers to these questions, expansion is well underway. This year, we are significantly extending the opportunities for Ross students to learn in diverse, global business environments. For example, we now have exchange agreements with 14 different business schools around the world for study abroad opportunities for MBA students, and have added three new global partner institutions in the last two years. In the last year, we have seen a 50 percent increase in the number of students participating in study abroad opportunities. Action-learning projects continue to offer an increasing number of immersive global experiences. And we are introducing a unique new opportunity to explore entrepreneurship and innovation in Israel with Tel Aviv University. In our BBA program, we are rolling out a series of new programs in Russia, Ireland, Italy, Australia, and Bulgaria. The new programs are designed to further enable students to translate business concepts between markets, cultures, and languages.
In the past year, our C.K. Prahalad Initiative also has facilitated new action-based learning projects in India as well as new research into the advancement of India’s economy. We have recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to explore new immersion experiences for students in China and facilitate new faculty research collaborations. In addition, we are working with Renmin University in Beijing to advance the ways we deliver action-based learning.
It is a core tenet of our learning philosophy at Ross that every student emerge with strong understanding of how to apply advanced business and leadership concepts in complex, global environments. Our goal in so diversely expanding our portfolio of opportunities is to ensure that no matter what part of the world a student comes from, or what economy or business environment a student wants to gain proficiency in, we can offer a high-caliber experience in the setting of their choosing. Even before any immersive experience, global application weaves through all aspects of our curriculum. Our faculty bring extensive global experience to the classroom, and more than 35 percent of our full-time MBA students come from outside the U.S., contributing to the global learning environment.
As we expand opportunities for Ann Arbor-based students, we are also working extensively to extend our presence in more locations. This fall, we welcomed 39 students to the first class of the Los Angeles-based Ross Executive MBA Program. The location was developed as part of our overall strategy to expand awareness of the Ross brand and to offer another opportunity for interested students to participate in the Ross experience.
The Ross EMBA Program model consists of a mix of once-a-month classroom learning and rigorous distance learning throughout the remainder of each month. Ross faculty travel to Los Angeles for the once-a-month residencies. The model holds great potential for us to offer Ross programs in more locations, and the model, combined with advances in online education, will be an important part of the future of globalization in business education. As we entirely re-think how education can be delivered in the future, we are proud to be among only a small set of business schools pioneering delivery in this format.
The Los Angeles program builds on a number of global offerings at Ross. In addition to our Global MBA Program, for many years, Executive Education has been an important part of our global footprint. Since the 1990s, our Executive Education office in Hong Kong has delivered programs throughout the Asia Pacific region, and we remain the leading provider of executive education in India. This past year, we launched a new executive education partnership in Malaysia and a custom program partnership in Saudi Arabia, and we are currently developing a new partnership in South America.
The global environment of business education is rapidly changing. As we, along with other business schools, explore innovative ways to extend the reach and diversity of our offerings, Ross’ distinctive strengths in action-based learning are enabling us to be a leading innovator in this domain. Action-based learning is the key facilitator of the most beneficial learning of new cultures and business environments, providing direct, structured, and immersive experience.
As we continue to extend our relationships with a diverse range of global partners and strive to become the most collaborative business school in the world, I’m happy to share news of these developments and look forward to the many exciting developments that lie ahead.