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IU alumnus’ $2 million gift will help more Kelley School of Business students study abroad

For Immediate Release Jan 7, 2019

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Thanks to a $2 million gift from alumnus Jim Perschbacher, more students in Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business will be able to gain broader global experience through studying abroad.

Jim Perschbacher
Jim Perschbacher.Photo by the IU Kelley School of Business

IU Bloomington ranks sixth among U.S. institutions for number of students studying abroad, according to the 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released by the Institute of International Education. Kelley School students represent a large portion of those students.

Currently, 62 percent of Kelley School students graduate with international experience, many with the support of scholarships. Eventually, Kelley hopes that three-quarters of all of its students will travel abroad while earning their degrees.

According to university data, students who study abroad are more likely to graduate on time and see higher cumulative GPA and faculty engagement. Furthermore, study abroad alumni are more likely to earn a job with a higher starting salary than the average graduate.

Perschbacher, an avid world traveler for work and for pleasure, wanted to enhance Kelley’s study abroad programs as a way to leave his legacy at the school where he earned two degrees in accounting.

“I have enjoyed my extensive international travel experiences and cherish the friendships I have made over the years,” Perschbacher said. “I continue to find travel beneficial to my understanding of the world and would like students to experience other business cultures and be impacted by international travel as I have been. This gift allows me to make a positive impact on students who may not otherwise have access to such opportunities.”

Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair in Strategic Management, thanked Perschbacher for supporting students’ global ambitions. She noted that the school offers immersive international programs for students in nearly every degree program, including those enrolled in its online MBA program.

IU students at Machu Picchu
Among the international experiences offered to Kelley School of Business undergrads are a set of global business immersion courses in countries such as Peru, where students visited Machu Picchu.Photo by the IU Kelley School of Business

“One of our missions at the Kelley School is to create ‘citizens of the world,’ and Jim knows firsthand how important that is,” Kesner said. “This generous and thoughtful gift will broaden the horizons of so many Kelley students, helping them to understand other business environments and international cultures. We are very grateful.”

Perschbacher, of Mableton, Georgia, is chief financial officer of North American operations for Birla Carbon, the world’s leading sustainable manufacturer and supplier of carbon black additives. He earned a Bachelor of Science in 1976 and a Master of Business Administration in 1977.

His gift counts toward the $3 billion For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, for which study abroad is a priority. And the gift’s impact will be doubled by IU’s International Scholarship Matching Program.

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses, including IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial celebration. To learn more about the campaign, its impact and how to participate, visit

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