Experiential / Reality-based Learning / December 1, 2017

Smith School Alumni Address Importance of Global Mindset in the Workplace

Smith School Alumni Address Importance of Global Mindset in the Workplace

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, the Center for Global Business (CGB) and the Office of Career Services (OCS) at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business hosted an alumni panel to discuss the value of global mindset in today’s business environment. Panelists included: Mikael Baker, senior project manager at FHI 360; Lana Bronipolsky, vice president of business operations at MPOWER Financing; and Maurice Nick, supply planning manager at Stanley Black & Decker. The panel was moderated by Rebecca L. Bellinger, managing director of the Center for Global Business.

The global mindset panel is an annual event that takes place during International Education Week (IEW). The panel topic is particularly important, as it exposes students to professionals who utilize global mindset competencies on a daily basis and can attest to the importance of global learning to prepare for a global business environment. This year’s alumni panel showcased the impact that Smith alumni are having both in the United States and throughout the world. Alumni success stories can also be found on the Center for Global Business website and displayed on wall displays in Van Munching Hall. A wide range of questions was asked to gain insight into the importance of diversity, global business savvy, preparing for international assignments, and overcoming challenges in the workplace.

Panelists shared anecdotes about how their Smith School experience prepared them to make a global impact. Nick started his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland in 2008 and traveled to Vietnam and Thailand, an experience that changed his outlook on the U.S. in relation to other countries in the world. He recollected that he didn’t see the U.S. Dollar available at the airport currency exchange, which was an experience that opened his eyes to the importance of thinking globally. Now, he works for Craftsman tool brand in China and other countries around the globe.

They each described the importance of global mindset in their field of work. Nick stated that global diversity is innate to Stanley Black & Decker and that he regularly talks to partners in China and Europe. Baker described the diversity of the employees at FHI 360 and in the field offices where FHI 360 is located throughout the world. Bronipolsky discussed the diverse customer base at MPOWER and how her office is only made up of 10 percent of American workers.

The group agreed it was important to have an awareness and understanding of world events to understand how these events impact the global economy and specific industries. To understand regulations overseas is critical to Nick’s job in supply chain, to know about policies that impact international student enrollment numbers in the U.S. is important for Bronipolsky’s work, and an awareness of USAID budget cuts is critical to the work Mikael does since USAID funds 35 percent of FHI 360’s projects.

When asked about advice on how students should develop a global mindset while in the U.S., Bronipolsky stressed the importance of analytical skillsets. As the head of human resources and workplace development, she looks for tolerance of ambiguity and people who do not need handholding. “We saw our interns teaching us a lot more than we were teaching them,” she described. She also recommended using your ‘student card’ and calling companies and professionals to gather information about their professions or industries.

This event is part of the Distinguished Speakers Series in the Center for Global Business. The event was sponsored in part by funding from a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education known as CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research).

Are you an alum of the Robert H. Smith School of Business? Share how you have utilized global business savvy in your career – either in the U.S. or abroad – for potential inclusion on our website or in Van Munching Hall. Please fill out this short online form to share your success story.

- Elizabeth Burzenski, Coordinator, Center for Global Business

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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