Immersive Internationalization Key to Managerial Success

Internationalization and globalization are huge buzz words in business. From job postings to strategic plans, from business forecasts to product launches, everyone everywhere seems to be looking for team players who understand what it means to do business across boundaries – both geographic and cultural.

Dr. Gene Deszca, Associate MBA Director at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business & Economics recently helped shed some light on this subject.

“I think Peter Drucker said it best when he told us that there will be two types of managers in the future: those who are internationally oriented and those who are unemployed.”

Despite the sarcastic overtones, Drucker’s advice must be heeded. “To be a successful manager, you need to develop an international savviness,” Deszca explains. “This isn’t just for those who are physically working in different places around the world, but for those whose business model has an international component.”

And, if you stop and think about it, that’s pretty much every business. “We’re seeing it happen at an increasing level here in Waterloo with our tech start-ups,” he continues. “Almost from birth, they’re international.”

To be internationally savvy, is to have an awareness of how business is done in other areas of the world. It’s developing Maze Brightness – the capacity and awareness of cultural norms, varying business law and etiquette, different business models and what words like “yes “ mean that will prepare you for success.

While holiday and vacation travel will help, it’s important for managers to find ways to take the philosophical notion of business internationalization and experience it in the real world. At the Lazaridis MBA, this is seen most easily through our International Business Study Trips.

Over the course of two weeks, students travel with professors to a number of countries in a specific region. Together, they get access to a number of executives with high profile companies across a variety of industries. “This isn’t a public relations presentation,” says Deszca. “We hand-pick companies and executives who will speak to us, vulnerably and candidly about what keeps them up at night.”

Through this active, immersive learning opportunity, students and professors gain insights into the realities of international business – and how quickly norms change moving from one country to the next within a region. This exposure to intercultural differences in real-time helps to build cultural sensitivity and awareness required for international business success.

This year, Lazaridis MBA students will be travelling to Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong. If you’re a current Lazaridis MBA student you can learn more. And for our alumni – we’d love to hear how this trip impacted your studies and careers.