Dr. Edward Kossakowski did a lot before teaching International Business at Quinnipiac University as an adjunct professor. “I was very fortunate to be sent all over the world at a very tender age at someone else’s expense,” Kossakowski said with a British accent.
He worked for Union Carbide, a “Fortune 500 multinational,” according to Kossakowski. The corporation, headquartered in Conn., is a leader in the global chemical industry. For twenty years Kossakowski worked in many areas, including international marketing and running a specialty chemicals global business unit.
He traveled around the globe to every continent except Africa. He mainly visited the capital cities. He met his American wife in a bar in Korea. “Once I got off the beaten track, then it got interesting, whether it was the outfields of Suaratra or the iron ore bases of the Orinoco,” Kossakowski said.
Of all the places he has traveled to, he has a special fondness for Japan. “It clicks with me. It’s really a different culture than ours,” Kossakowski said while sipping hot chocolate. . He said that despite the fast pace, the Japanese people are extremely polite and courteous.
Kossakowski had not seriously explored teaching as a career since his postgraduate days. However, when he was asked by the chair of International Business, Xiaohong He, two weeks before the fall semester of 2002 began to teach an International Business course, he immediately accepted the position. “If I thought about it I wouldn’t have done it. I sort of fell into it and never looked back,” Kossakowski said.
Kossakowski enjoys teaching at Quinnipiac. He found that the major challenge is how to engage everyone in the class. “Teaching to me is in some sense about entertainment. You can do it with humor and make a serious point,” Kossakowski said. The key is to give students something fundamental that they will remember and use long after they finish the course. “If you can do this then I think you’ve achieved something powerful,” Kossakowski said.
Kossakowski was born in Rugby, England, where rugby football originated. He received his undergraduate degree at Imperial College, England’s equivalent to MIT. He then went on to receive his Ph.D in chemical engineering at Cambridge University before relocating to the United States. He later earned his MBA at New York University.
When asked if he liked living in the States, he smiled and said: “Well I’m still here after 20 years. I like living in Connecticut. There’s a reason it’s called ‘New England.'”
Kossakowski said he went through a difficult transition for the first five years he was in the States. “There’s a unique problem if you come from Britain. There’s an overlap of language and history. It can blind you to the very major differences in culture and attitudes. It takes some getting used to,” Kossakowski said.
He said that Americans are very sensitive to criticism of their country. “America is a country with tremendous promise. When America tends not to live up to those promises and ideals it’s disappointing,” Kossakowski said. People would often tell him, “Well why don’t you just go home then?” whenever he said something they felt was critical. “Case in point,” Kossakowski said. “Whatever happened to freedom of speech?”