Sunday, August 16, 2009

End of the 3rd Semester

All the finals and papers are completed and done. There is starting to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as we move from our 3rd to 4th (and final) semester of the WFU eMBA program. This past semester was easily my favorite so far, but it was obviously somewhat biased by the China Trip, which was a life-changing event for me. I developed a completely newfound appreciation for the challenges of international business, as well as a new passion to become much more of an international citizen (for myself and my children).

Following on the international theme was our Global Strategy course (part I...part II is in the next semester), which was my favorite to-date. Strategy is a fascinating topic to me because it requires a combination of structured thinking/analysis and truly creative thinking to be able to plot moves, plan new products/services, and come up with ways to shift the market in your favor.

One of the takeaways I'll have from this semester is regarding the type of people to look towards as we become a more globalized economy and world. While there are literally thousands of business and strategy books written each year, the ones that are beginning to stand out are from leaders that are either from non-US background or heavily embrace non-US markets and cultures. Whether this is people like Ram Baliga and Michael Lord (WFU professors), or C.K. Prahalad or Gary Hamel or Ram Charan or Umair Haque. By looking at the world from a non-US-centric viewpoint, they are able to understand the pace of change better, as well as understand the flexibility and competitiveness that will be needed by any successful person/company in the 21st century. It's a much bigger picture approach that you see in most classrooms or often US boardrooms.

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