Going Global Fall 2014

Greetings from the Carlson Global Institute!

Fall is again upon us, with a new academic year well underway. We are pleased to share with you a few updates from the Carlson School as well as a new addition to our newsletter, Insights from the Field.

Insights from the Field is designed to feature insights and perspectives of global business practitioners. In this edition, we are featuring an article from Patrick McGinnis, vice-president of product development at Best Buy. He is an alumnus of the Carlson MBA program and serves as chair of the Carlson Global Institute Advisory Council. In this inaugural column, Patrick shares his thoughts on global competency. 

We hope you enjoy this edition of Going Global!


Michael Houston,
Associate Dean of Global Initiatives

Anne D'Angelo,
Assistant Dean of Global Initiatives

New Programs Options Launching in 2014-15

As the world of global management education continues to evolve, the Carlson School modifies its programming options available to students. This year we are pleased to add the following programs to our portfolio of offerings: 

Semester Exchange Programs: 

  • Lingnan (University) College, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China
  • Leeds University Business School in Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China

Carlson Faculty-Led Programs: 

  • Global Business Practicum in Ireland (graduate)  
  • Integrated Corporate Reporting and the Triple Bottom Line in Glasgow and London (graduate)
  • Business Communication in Spain (undergraduate)

Developing Virtual Collaboration Skills through Education Abroad

Each year, the Carlson School’s HRIR 3021 course brings 30 undergraduates to Australia for two weeks as part of their core human resources class. The students explore human resource topics in classes during the spring semester on the Minneapolis campus and then travel to Sydney and Brisbane in May.  Historically, this program has been a collaboration with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS). This year, the instructors, Bernd Ermer of QUT and Stacy Doepner-Hove and Amy Falink of the Carlson School took it one step further. 

The instructors designed the course around a live case exploring the human resource considerations for a U.S. company entering Australia. Thirty Carlson students and nine QUT students participated in the course, which included joint class sessions utilizing teleconferencing technology on both campuses. According to Doepner-Hove, “They appreciated the learning experience, both the Australian students learning from the U.S. professor and the U.S students learning for the Australian professor. They got some of that academic cultural interaction.” Additionally, the students were able to learn firsthand from their peers what it means to work globally, across time zones, and across cultures - something that all three instructors feel will serve them well in the workplace after they graduate. 

Carlson School Faculty Receives 2014 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research

Carlson School Professor Shaker Zahra recently was awarded the 2014 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research. This annual award, established in 1996, recognizes important contributions to research on entrepreneurship. The award is conferred by a consortium of partners, including the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum (Entreprenörskapsforum), the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), VINNOVA, and Melker Schörling.

Professor Zahra was recognized for “his work on the role of corporate entrepreneurship in knowledge creation, absorption, and conversation.” The committee noted Professor Zahra’s “record of exceptional scholarship, consisting of theoretical, empirical, as well as institutional contributions” and the diversity of his work which has explored corporate entrepreneurship, international entrepreneurship, and social entrepreneurship, in describing their motivation for conferring this award. 

Congratulations Dr. Zahra!

Global Mentorship Program Launched for Carlson School Students

The Carlson School Undergraduate Business Career Center (UBCC) operates a robust mentorship program, matching alumni and friends of the Carlson School with undergraduate Carlson School students for a year-long mentorship. 

This past fall, the Carlson Global Institute partnered with the UBCC and Alumni Relations to pilot a new aspect of the program – matching students who are spending a semester on a Carlson School exchange program at a business school abroad with mentors in their destinations. 

The level of interest from both students and alumni and friends of the Carlson School abroad was tremendous. A total of 24 matches were made for the 2014-15 pilot year.  We are looking forward to monitoring the program over the course of this year and continuing to build upon its initial success.  

New Global Matters Videos 

We have added several new Global Matters videos to the Carlson School's YouTube channel. The videos highlight academic and practitioners sharing their insights into a variety of important global business and management topics. 

Check them out by clicking on the links below: 

Subscribe to the channel to receive alerts when new content is created. 

2013-14 Carlson Global Institute Year in Review Available Online

The Carlson Global Institute recently published its second annual Year in Review. The publication highlights the global management education-related activities and accomplishments of the Carlson School, its faculty, and students over the most recently completed academic year.

Four Years of CIBER

The University of Minnesota’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) is finishing its fourth year. CIBER is part of a national network of centers charged with increasing U. S. economic competitiveness and capacity for international understanding. 

The University of Minnesota CIBER has focused its work on sustainability, emerging markets, and world languages. To address these themes, we have worked with partners in the business community, government, the University of Minnesota, and other educational institutions across the country.

With this support CIBER has accomplished a lot:

  • Served more than 500 companies through educational workshops and events.
  • Awarded $22,500 in scholarships to 40 undergraduate students to pursue language study for business.
  • Engaged 67 faculty members and educators from 52 institutions across the country in professional development programs in the U.S. and abroad. These experiences have inspired new courses and research partnerships.
  • Awarded research grants totaling more than $40,000 to Carlson School faculty. Grants supported research on topics as diverse as clean energy sector development, political business cycles in China, global teams, and differing uses of social media across cultures.
  • Connected business practitioners with the Carlson School for internationally focused consulting projects.
  • Supported the MSP Export Initiative, an effort to double exports from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region between 2012 and 2017.

The global business context has changed since we launched CIBER in 2010. The need for a global perspective is clearer than ever:

  • U.S. states and cities are being more deliberate about articulating their global identities and creating strategies to encourage exporting and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). Minneapolis-St. Paul and the state of Minnesota are actively working on FDI and export growth strategies.
  • Multi-national companies from emerging markets are more active competitors on the world stage.
  • More than ever, companies seek employees with the global mindset and skills to navigate across geographic and cultural boundaries.

CIBER is in a transition period as we move from being supported by a federal grant to being self-sustaining. Projects on the horizon include:

  • Continued partnership with the Minnesota District Council on several fronts. We’re developing a pipeline of experienced speakers from Council for Carlson School courses and student organizations. We’re also working on an internship program for students to assist small and mid-sized companies with international market research and export planning.
  • A spring 2015 conference on doing business in Africa, which will include business, policy, and government perspectives.
  • More research work on sustainability issues, with support from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

CIBER has played a significant role in furthering the outreach of the Carlson School.  As a result of CIBER’s activities, the school is better connected than ever with other units within the University of Minnesota as well as the government and business sectors of Minnesota.

Note: This is a new addition to our Going Global Newsletter. Going forward, we anticipate including a column from a practitioner of global business. In this edition, we are featuring an article from Patrick McGinnis, Vice-President and General Manager-Exclusive Brands at Best Buy. He is an alumnus of the Carlson MBA program and serves as chair of the Carlson Global Institute Advisory Council. 

Perspectives on Global Competency

So often business people succumb to thinking that adoption of common visible business norms and etiquette are all they need to navigate the global stage.  Giving a business card properly or saying a few bars in the local tongue are often romanticized into an image of global savvy.  In my experience, a business person who overly focuses on such trivial matters often falls short of achieving full potential and misses out on the real fun in bridging cultures for driving great business outcomes. 

So, what does global effectiveness look like?  My perspective on this is formed from my personal experience building and leading a terrific team—domestic and international—that has a blast building consumer electronics hardware and accessories under several brands.  It boils down to three words: Self-Awareness, Resilience, and Respect.  Accomplished business people nurture these fundamentals in any context—globally or right down the street—and end up having amazingly fulfilling careers while they are at it.

When I first started living in China in 2003, it was during a start-up phase of the team I was there to build.  We also had a few consultants on hand to help move things along. Without knowing it, I slipped into spending disproportionate time with the consultants. I have a background in consulting with a large firm, so our discussions and brainstorming—often during lunch—were very comfortable to me. Meanwhile, the team members I hired were hungry to share their perspectives, share more about themselves, and learn about the company they joined. But I was spending precious, unstructured time with the people I naturally gravitated towards because of my background. Fail! Thankfully, I was lucky to have two things going for me: 1.) I had an early employee who was willing to take a risk and let me know that I should consider spending my time a little differently, and 2.) I was open to the feedback and recognized how easily I was leaning into that gravitational pull. I credit that brief moment in time as being absolutely formative. I know that the journey I enjoyed with the team would have taken a decidedly different course were it not for this moment in time. The brave employee who knocked some sense into me...she is a friend for life! My advice to anyone becoming deeply involved with a global team is to find a friend—fast!

People can easily get an idealized view of what it is like to work globally. Who wouldn’t think that jetting off to gleaming cities to wheel and deal is glamorous and fun? Persistent communicating, often reaching into the wee hours and riddled with risk of misunderstanding, is the key. The resilient person will keep at it, often trying different methods to drive the necessary alignment within a team or with a partner. Doing this well requires being responsive to written communications in the same day, unceasing willingness to spend countless evenings on the phone grinding through issues and roadblocks while tuning one’s ear for nuances in how English is spoken by individuals, and long spans spent away from family while spending invaluable time learning with and about your colleagues.  Being an expert communicator across time, distance, language, and culture is not for the dilettante. Growing expertise is a function of persistence and practice. The ability to get back up and go at it again after a false start or misfire—resilience—is essential. Is it glamorous? Not really, but it is highly rewarding once you get the hang of it and are able to navigate the barriers that typically make global business so challenging for so many.

Harry Truman said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” People spend too much time tallying credit and allocating blame. Sometimes things go wrong. My advice is to own those situations with a commitment to learn from them and not have the same happen again. Don’t succumb to the temptation to subtly lay blame on people thousands of miles away without a voice in the moment. When things go really well, be generous with praise directly and indirectly. And make sure your global colleagues are getting recognition from you when they are not looking! Over time, your global colleagues will understand how genuine and generous you are with recognition of their role in driving success. This is a tremendously powerful cycle to get into, one that reinforces itself with higher levels of commitment and performance. Credibility and trust—the underpinnings of respect—are built over time as this cycle plays out. 
There is no easy button when it comes to growing competence in global business. It really comes down to extensive practice of some key behaviors, albeit in a different context, common to successful business people. I have found practicing self-awareness, personal resilience, and nurturing mutual respect with my global colleagues and business partners builds a strong foundation. And, like aspiring to excellence in any skill, the more you develop as a globally capable business person, the more you realize you have work to do. Hang in there and have fun along the journey!    

Global Matters: Redefining Global Strategy

November 7, 2014
Time: 3:30-5:00 p.m., reception 5:00-6:00 p.m. 
Location: Carlson School of Management
Visit the website for additional information and to register.

Professional Development Program - Sustainability and CSR in Denmark and Sweden

June 7-18, 2015
Stockholm, Sweden & Copenhagen, Denmark

The University of Minnesota Center for International Business and Education Research (CIBER) and Robert Strand of the Copenhagen Business School and the Nordic Centre for Sustainability will host the third annual Professional Development in International Business (PDIB) program showcasing sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices in Scandinavia. Travel destinations include Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark. This program is open to faculty and professionals interested in this topic.