If General Motors cars and Coca-Cola were yesterday’s iconic American exports, today’s aren’t quite so tangible. When traveling overseas, you might stay in an Airbnb, order a gift on Amazon or call an Uber.

Researching the shifts to digital platforms and artificial intelligence is just one mission of the Center for Global Business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, which will expand its portfolio of externships, language training and other programs through 2022, following a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

“The grant gives us an opportunity to serve Smith students, Smith faculty and the Maryland business community,” said Rebecca Bellinger, the center’s executive director. “The grant also gives us a platform for reaching outside the school to connect the rest of the country and the rest of the world to Smith.”Smith students

The four-year funding commitment, renewed for the fifth time at Maryland Smith, will position the school as a national resource center with 20 years of experience in the Centers for International Business Education (CIBE) program. Maryland was one of 15 grant recipients chosen from a competitive applicant pool in 2018.

“The CIBE network allows us to do things together with other schools at a scale that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise,” said Kislaya Prasad, research professor and academic director at the Center for Global Business.

Among the new initiatives, the center will seek to establish externship positions that will connect Smith students with the Maryland business community. “We will place students within companies that would benefit from having an additional pair of hands and additional talent on their teams,” Bellinger said. “Essentially, the students will help small and midsized companies export Maryland products.”

The externships will be managed through a Smith partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce. Other partnership activities will continue, including export management training and the Maryland Global Consulting Program launched in 2016.

The center also will expand its partnership with Maryland’s School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. During the previous grant cycle, the partnership produced two business language courses in French and Arabic, supplementing the school’s existing courses in business Spanish. The new grant will allow additional courses in business German, starting in Spring 2019, and at least two more business language courses.

“These courses will be very significant for the language learning community on campus,” Bellinger said, “especially if we can tie these courses to emerging markets, an area of emphasis in our grant application.”

The U.S. government launched CIBE in 1988. The program provides funding to business schools for curriculum development, research and training on issues of importance to U.S. trade and competitiveness.