really is a small world, after all.
global communications, international technology-sharing alliances,
open borders and mass privatization have created an "open door"
business climate around the world, more accessible than at any
time in history. Such opportunities require managers to know
more than ever about other cultures and global best practices.
a fact with which Professors G. Keong Leong and Oded Shenkar
are intimately acquainted.
one thing to talk in the classroom about emerging markets,"
says Leong, an associate professor of operations management.
"But to actually go to these countries, absorb the culture and
its differences, talk to the executives and walk with the plant
managers, thats the kind of education that no book, research
paper or Web site can give you."
put that theory into practice, Leong, along with other Fisher
College faculty, originated the Emerging Markets Field Study
Program five years ago, escorting groups of Fisher MBA students
to such markets as Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong
Kong and China. This past year, one group led by Professor Steve
Hills went to Chile and Argentina, while the second group led
by Leong traveled to Poland and Hungary.
we went," says Leong, "Students tended to think of Eastern Europe
as one fairly similar market. Our trip to Poland and Hungary
clearly demonstrated, however, the extreme differences that
exist there for privatization of state-owned companies. There
were completely different operating systems between the two
nations. You can get some of that information in a classroom,
but certainly not as vividly."
Fisher groups tour factories, interview executives and return
to write case studies based on their findings which can then
be directly incorporated into classroom material. Its
that kind of direct integration of research findings which is
the strengthand ongoing challengefor the Fisher
College, says Ford Motor Company Designated Chair in Global
Business Management, Oded Shenkar.
Shenkar, whose research has focused on such issues as Chinese
privatization and reform and global human resource management,
said the final link in the chainthe integration of research
findings and field observationscan surprisingly be the factor
overlooked by universities and businesses alike.
"Any school can send students on a trip to a foreign company
or factory, and any faculty member can conduct international
research and write a paper and then let it collect dust," says
Shenkar. "Its the integration of those findings with broader
theoretical insights and their application in the academic and
corporate world which is the key. I think were very fortunate
here at the Fisher College to have recognized that concept as
being so important, especially given the shifting nature of
Shenkar credits Fisher College students for initiating some
of the interest in international business preparation. "Students
arent as resistant to change and realize that having international
experiencethrough their classwork here at the Fisher College,
internships or the Emerging Markets Programmakes them
that much more attractive to potential employers."
always a major talking point for our students upon their return
from the field trip, once they begin interviewing," says Leong.
and businesses alike are seeing the direct and indirect benefits
of having a more global perspective. The world is shrinking,