Global business education Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2007
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 program?

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 (919) 545-2285.