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City University Business School (CUBS)

Sarah Bryant, Ph.D. - Executive Director, MBA Programme
The business world is changing rapidly. Does globalization mean, too, that we need a new kind of "global" manager?
1. The (business) world is changing rapidly. Does globalization mean, too, that we need a new kind of "global" manager?

The business world is changing rapidly. Does globalization mean, too, that we need a new kind of "global" manager?

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For several decades, multinational companies have trained managers to be "global" or at least multicultural. The idea of people working across borders is not new. Many books have been written on the subject, training programs put in place and language courses encouraged.

There is, however, more emphasis currently on how global issues affect countries, companies and individuals, as we see more clearly than ever before the impact that we all have on each other, both positively and negatively. For example, improved health and education in countries in Africa can allow for greater stability that in turn impact growth and trade, which then impacts trade with other countries of the world. A large multinational corporation can influence living conditions not only in the country in which they have residence, but potentially in the region of activity as employment can be more widespread than only locally. On the negative side, acid rain from the US does affect Canada. Nuclear fallout from Russia does affect many other countries.

If there is to be a "new" type of global manager, then the difference over managers in the past must come in their understanding these global issues and the influence that each individual can have on decisions made at the individual and corporate levels. Business people must be trained to look beyond their own horizon.

2. If so, what does he look like? Is the manager of the future a sort of global nomad, working with his laptop in hotel rooms and airport lounges, living some years at one place on the earth, some years at another?

If so, what does he look like? Is the manager of the future a sort of global nomad, working with his laptop in hotel rooms and airport lounges, living some years at one place on the earth, some years at another?

This description is more a view of the "old" type of MNC manager than a new model. For decades, men in particular have moved their families every few years to new places to keep up with job demands. As time and life styles of working couples with children have moved on, men and women travel now more readily from a base, given transportation improvements.

The needs of managers of the future depend on the product structure, as in the past. For example, a consulting firm structure can allow employees to work from any location. They recruit younger people who are willing to work from a suitcase for a few years, traveling during the week but home by Friday. However, many of these employees move to more stable environments as they become more established in their lives.

The large investment banks and commercial banks may ask their employees to move to other countries. With global electronic trading, location is not as much of a factor as it was in the past. Also, there are highly trained workers in multiple locations, so that companies can hire in-country as well more easily than in the past.

Manufacturing companies or other product companies may have to have key personnel move to various locations for a few years, as in the past. Often these upper managers train locals to take control, but often the key upper managers are permanent. Oil companies are examples. However, this is nothing different from past practices and in a relatively few very large MNCs.

It is important that companies to change themselves, to be more innovative, to allow managers and other employees to help to create new products and services. The situation described in the questionare tends to be an older, less democratic model.

In current times, the global manager can work from his/her laptop in his/her kitchen, if necessary, making trips to visit the troops or clients on an as needed basis.

3. What are the qualifications of the Manager of Tomorrow? His talents, language skills etc.?
4. Will we have a very tiny elite of truly "global" top managers and a more "national" middle management? In other words: Do we tend towards a two-class manager system?

Qualifications include a good knowledge of computer usage, the English language and possibly one other, especially if dealing in Asia countries. He/she must have the discipline to work from any location, office, home or plane, and with people of various cultures. There will still be demand for those who will move for a few years to other countries, but as there are fewer of those people willing to be uprooted than in the past, then corporations will have to continue to adjust work styles and conditions. (Witness the problems consulting firms have with recruiting longer-term (a few months) than short-term (a few weeks) assignment individuals.)

5. As a business school, how do you see your role in shaping the world of tomorrow?

As a program director of the MBA at City University Business School, I have seen that the students who are most likely to travel abroad for education are those whose parents traveled abroad with their children. These young people tend to be more adventuresome. To develop managers of the future, we in the business school need to be aware that there are many needs of our students as clients and of business as recipients of our products (our graduates).

Our role is to prepare individuals with the tools to see the strategic needs of their organization, to understand areas of specialization to at least be able to converse with area specialists, to be entrepreneurial and independent enough to move to other positions within their companies or to move on as needed and to be culturally aware. Curriculum development has progressed over time to encompass most areas of business. Team building, computer usage and presentation shills are as necessary for today's managers, as are finance, marketing and management skills. We also owe it to our graduates to have some cultural experiences, mainly in travel situations, to feel comfortable in saying "yes" to their bosses when asked to live abroad for a while. At City University Business School in the MBA Programme, we have several classes that go abroad to the US, to Asia and Europe. In addition to these classes, students can study with other schools with whom we have agreements. We are developing other opportunities to broaden students' experiences.

At City University Business School, we offer courses on the MBA to address these global management issues. Two examples are International Economics and Management and the Environment. International Economics is offered on the core so that future managers get a strong understanding of international trade and monetary issues. Lecturers in upper level elective courses were teaching fundamentals of international economics on an as-needed basis, creating overlap with other courses. Now, lecturers can teach their subject, knowing the basics are covered earlier. We are also offering a new course entitled "Management and the Environment". This course is a must for the new global manager.
Dieser Artikel ist erschienen am 23.02.2001