IIT accepted the second largest group of students from Brazil, among several U.S. universities participating in a partnership with the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Undergraduate Program (formerly called Science Without Borders) in the 2012-13 academic year. This scholarship initiative launched by the Brazilian government in 2011, funds a year of overseas study for Brazilian undergraduates, primarily in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Many of these students took classes with INTM this summer, creating a unique opportunity for Professor Will Maurer to start a cross-cultural exchange about business in industrial companies in his class, INTM 420/520 Applied Strategies for the Competitive Enterprise.
The majority of the Brazilian students in that class were studying chemical engineering at their home universities. Most indicated that business courses were not part of their degree programs in Brazil, and welcomed the chance to learn about the management aspect of their chosen fields. The domestic students who included a Chemical Engineering major, Systems Administrator, and a Building Facilities Engineer were happy to get an international perspective in the class.
According to the online publication, Inside Higher Ed (August 29, 2013), the number of Brazilian undergraduates studying at U.S. universities in 2013 has more than doubled in the last year. Currently, there are over 4,000 participants in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program nationwide.
The top fields of study for these students are civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial engineering, followed by computer science, chemical engineering, architecture, computer engineering, environmental science and engineering, and biomedical science and public health. About 60 percent of the scholarship recipients have completed a summer internship either at a company or in a university research lab.
The Brazilian government has a goal of sending 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students abroad through the scholarship program in order to enhance the country's competitiveness in STEM fields. Although other top destination countries include France and the United Kingdom, the U.S. hosts the largest numbers of Brazilian undergraduates at this time.