From global jobs to international careers, working internationally is something many of us dream about while we’re sat behind a desk, whether this is the chance to travel the world, explore new cultures, or interact with different businesses.
With an Executive MBA, the dream can go from a distant possibility to a near certainty.
BusinessBecause caught up with graduates from the Global OneMBA, an Executive MBA program offered by EGADE Business School at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico, who offer their advice on what you need to launch an international career, in four simple steps:
Step 1: Build a global network
“I could learn from other cultures, share my experiences and understand how, through a global vision, much higher goals can be achieved for me and my colleagues."
Stepping into the global world of business can be daunting, but with a strong, supportive network around the world, the journey can be much easier.
Alejandra García recognizes that this was one of the most important steps for her in establishing her international career. Her pre-EMBA career had been based in Mexico, and while she had a breadth of professional experience, she hadn’t yet built a network outside of her home country.
From the diversity of her classmates on the Global OneMBA, to networking with students and professionals around the world, she says she was quickly able to build a network that would serve her well in future endeavors abroad.
The whole OneMBA class consists of 120 students, with 20-to-25 students from each of five different partner schools on four different continents.
“I could learn from other cultures, share my experiences and understand how, through a global vision, much higher goals can be achieved for me and my colleagues,” Alejandra says.
As a country director at Sophos, a global cybersecurity company, Alejandra’s EMBA has had a big impact on the business, being able to draw upon her contacts around the world to look for best practices and solutions to the challenges they are addressing.
Step 2: Get global exposure
It’s easy to make assumptions about places if you’ve never visited or worked there. The best solution? Go out there and find out for yourself.
The Global OneMBA is a collaborative project with five business schools around the world, in the Netherlands, the US, China, Brazil, and Mexico. Students have a week-long residency in each country, a chance to meet students and professors from around the world and immerse yourself in businesses and markets of each different country.
Guillermo Demis’ experience during a residency in Istanbul, he recalls, was an eye-opening one.
It was his first time in a Muslim and Arabic country, and really took the time and care to understand the nuances of the culture and the way that business is done there.
“I had the opportunity to build my own opinion, instead of one based on the media, and realized the environment really wasn’t that different from the one in Mexico. Their focus is on being personal in business.”
Now working as chief financial officer (CFO) for the Latin American region of Walgreens Boots Alliance, his career is very much on a global scale. It all comes down to a global mindset which he took from his residencies.
“The best preparation is an immersion in new cultures.”
Step 3: Be ready to listen and learn
Global exposure is one step, but a willingness to listen and learn is the next important step.
Jorge Luis Pedraza, as CEO of Distribuidora de Productos Deshidratados SA de CV in Monterrey, had a solid understanding of the fundamentals of business. It was the high caliber of the class that attracted him to study on the Global OneMBA at EGADE. From his classmates in Mexico, to his peers on the international residencies, Jorge had a great deal to learn.
“It was really interesting, seeing that people around the world think different, they have different risk aversions, different goals. I learned a lot from them and also I learned how business is held in other countries,” Jorge remembers.
Students collaborate and cooperate on dynamic business simulations, where they must overcome their differences and input their strengths from their backgrounds. Jorge’s class enjoyed this spirit of collaboration so much, in fact, that several of them are in talks to set up a joint business together.
Overcoming differences, and being willing to learn remains Jorge’s main advice to anyone attempting to launch a global career.
“Open yourself to new experiences, you are going to meet people from all around the world, and they think differently. You need to get to know their culture, background and why they are the way they are.”
Step 4: Think global, act local
From country to country, business differs greatly. While adopting a global outlook is important, understanding local cultural diversity and uniqueness is crucial.
This was key to Guillermo Vazquez’s journey in expanding his global outlook in business. Interactions with businesses abroad in his role as a VP of sales at a US crane company had increased his desire to learn about global business.
During the international residencies on the Global OneMBA, he stepped beyond what he’d learned in the classroom, gaining an understanding of the nuances of different cultures.
“You learn from different cultures, how they respond to attitudes related to business. This provides you with the kind of tools you need to better understand how you approach other markets and their considerations,” he stresses.
For Guillermo, it boils down to something very simple—“Think global, act local.”
In 2020, business truly is a global operation, and it’s almost impossible to have an organization that exists in a single country. Navigating the global arena can be a challenge, but a necessary challenge.
Following these four steps can make the process a great deal easier.
4 Steps To Going Global