Ha Le, a second-year MBA student at Maryland Smith, writes about the Distinguished Speakers Series in International Business held on November 21, 2019.
For its annual Distinguished Speakers Series in International Business during International Education Week, the Center for Global Business at Maryland Smith hosted a conversation with Smith alumni on global competencies for the 21st-century workplace on Thursday, November 21. Participating in the discussion were alumni, Kristin Fallon, MBA ’11, head of content & storytelling at GE Healthcare; Larry Legates, MBA ’04, senior global trade compliance manager at Danaher; Tamil Sriram ’06, MBA ’11, director of the health services risk assurance practice at PwC; and Vincent Tran ’10, international trade specialist & advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. The executive director of the Center for Global Business, Rebecca Bellinger moderated the discussion.
The panel discussed the importance of a global mindset in today’s business environment and shared personal and professional journeys that inspired their interest in international affairs and global business. Fallon and Legates shared that it was their study abroad, internship, and career experiences abroad that sparked their global interest and ultimately where they are today. For Sriram and Tran, it was their family, upbringing and the ability to appreciate differences in cultures that led them to embrace global experiences in their professional careers.
Other topics that were addressed included how disruptive technologies and AI are and will continue to change the workplace, and how evolving trade policies have impacted the organizations of the respective panelists, and what students can do to increase their global mindset, etc. When asked what advice they would give to students to help become more globally-aware, Tran encouraged students to read the local newspapers to have a well-rounded perspective about events happening across regions. “When you understand different perspectives, you are able to help your client and bridge the differences,” he said.
Adaptability and global business savvy repeatedly came up during the conversation about the alumni experience. Bellinger closed the event by asking the panel to share a challenge they faced and which of the competencies they used to overcome the challenge. The student participants left with a few key takeaways. Legates shared when doing business in a new culture, it helps to have an open mind to learn and adapt, and ultimately be able to advance the goals by connecting the wins.
This event was supported in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education and co-sponsored by the Center for Social Value Creation at Maryland Smith.