The business world has truly become a
global one today. The emergence of
growth economies in other countries has propelled companies into seeking new
markets for their products. Entering new
markets, these companies have a greater
need than ever before for employees
trained in global business practices.
“There is a right way and a wrong way to
get that training, says Dr. Frank Morgan,
director, executive development and leadership, The Dow Chemical Company. “The
right courses will teach global business students useful concepts to apply to real situations they face, among other things.
Smart Business spoke with Dr. Morgan
about the changing nature of business
today and how students can best adapt to
it by enrolling in the right program.
What are some reasons business has gotten
more global in nature today?
The emergence of growth economies,
such as India and China, have moved companies to seek markets for their products,
to follow their customers where they’re
manufacturing, and to seek well-educated
and talented people, such as engineers, scientists and information technology specialists.
Do you feel leadership education courses
have kept up with the changing face of business?
University leadership programs have not
kept pace with the demands of an ever-changing business world. The reason is
because most are mired in an archaic academic system, which is not very responsive
to change and insulates itself from the
practical world of business. Most university research in business isn’t read by managers and leaders because it’s irrelevant.
The research is self-serving and being read
by other academics who reciprocate and
publish their colleagues’ papers.
A lot of academic research on business is
an elucidation of the obvious and a study of
the trivial. The reason is that the academic
reward system is based on publishing in ‘A’
journals, not helping leaders become effective global business people.
What marks a quality leadership education
The program must be relevant and use
concepts that are up to date, global and
practical. The more application and analysis of real situations such as case studies
and the more minimization of obscure theories such as lecture, the more the executive can be engaged and can learn the principles in a way that can be applied.
What sort of tools can someone expect to
achieve from having participated in a quality
leadership education program?
Their analytical skills can be enhanced,
they can develop an appreciation for the
global nature of business and they can
learn to apply useful concepts to real situations they face. Also, the melding of the various business disciplines into solving
important business issues is key. Executives deal with complex issues and
have to apply judgment, global perspectives, firmwide tradeoffs and people sensitivity. Most schools teach these disciplines
in a vacuum and may have one capstone
course that tries to integrate them.
Do you feel classroom learning or online
learning is the way to go?
For leadership development at Dow, we
feel that both classroom and online learning can be combined to provide the most
effective and efficient learning. Online
tends to be better for more didactic material and classroom is suited more for interactive, discussion-based material.
The DeVos Dow MBA at Northwood
University was designed to combine both
methods and take advantage of the
strengths of each but still provide the rigor
of an accredited degree program that transforms the behavior of our business leaders.
DR. FRANK MORGAN is director of executive development
and leadership, The Dow Chemical Company. Dow is connected
with Northwood University in Midland, Mich. through the
DeVos/Dow/Hantz Partnership MBA Program. Reach Morgan at