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MSU rail program draws attention

By Scott Pohl, WKAR News

EAST LANSING, MI – Railroad companies from around North America are sending executives to Michigan State University's Railway Management Program this week.

Sixteen students are enrolled in the program, which is offered only three times every two years.

The mission is to learn not only how their industry can be better run, but also how rail impacts the rest of the business world.

Nick Little of the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at MSU says the rail industry prides itself on being different from other businesses.

"It has a lot of people, traditionally, who are lifetime served railway people, who know the railway industry inside-out," Little. "They know how to operate the biggest model railway in the world, and they do it very, very effectively. But unfortunately, they look on the railway industry as so unique, that they don't necessarily draw the parallels with the rest of the business world."

The program has gained international attention in its four years of existence. Little recently accompanied a U-S trade delegation to the Middle East. MSU was the sole education entity on the tour.

The United Arab Emirates is planning a rail system that one day will connect with those in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. Ultimately, the rail network will connect the Middle East with Europe.

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