The Language Institute (LI) is a comprehensive program that prepares international students to succeed at the Fuqua School of Business. It is a revised version of the Summer Institute in Business, Communication, and Culture (SIB), which was founded in 1991 by Mark T. Brown, Director of the Management Communication Center at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
LI offers a program that is taught at a real business school by real business faculty. Most of the pre-MBA programs in the United States are taught only by language departments. However, LI goes well beyond a language program; it is a thorough orientation to life at business school. Students are given opportunities to refine their English language skills through practice and experiential learning. Students take part in a comprehensive ten day program of lectures, case presentations, writing exercises, and a variety of assignments that get them ready for the rigors of graduate school. This is followed by five weeks of monitoring students’ progress once they start school, with further opportunities for individualized support and learning.
Another key difference between the LI and other programs is individualized attention. Institute faculty and personal tutors initially assess each student's abilities in spoken and written English, and then help students to improve those skills. The faculty and tutors then develop a personalized learning plan with each student. Following this plan, they combine classroom learning with experiential and tutorial methods to maximize the growth of each student. This learning continues through the first five weeks of school, and if necessary, it can continue for a longer time.