Editor’s note: The following commentary is by Ahmet Bozer, a non-executive board member and retired executive vice president and president, Coca-Cola International. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Ga.
There has been much debate on globalization lately. While some talk about “retreat of globalization” based on certain economic indicators, we are more globally connected today than any other time in history, thanks to technology and social media.
International business is a driving force of globalization. As someone who has spent over a quarter of a century doing business internationally with the most global company in human history, I have witnessed how international business creates economic and social value for the various countries in which it operates.
The driving force behind the value created by international business are the people with a unique set of talents, an inclusive culture, and leadership skills. Higher education in international business provides the most critical baseline experience for developing such talent and culture. It has been one of the best exports of the United States, and has been kept on a leading edge by programs that continually push the envelope in gaining new insights and competencies.
One such program is the Centers for International Business Education Research (CIBER), which was created by the U. S. Congress to advance the nation’s global competitiveness and talent development. Since its founding in 1989, CIBER programs focused on faculty development, competitiveness research, and business and academic outreach at 17 universities across the country. Over 25 million students have received targeted and relevant education in international business, and nearly 300,000 professionals have been funneled directly to the global work force.
As we move from the era of economic-policy driven growth to an era of technology-driven transformation, new opportunities for international business education become evident.
Technological transformation is creating an environment where ability to consistently grow talent with global wisdom, access to talent globally, and bringing out the best in talent, will become the most important sources of competitive advantage for business.
It is therefore time to re-imagine international business education to cultivate talent who can not only deal with our current problems such as inequality and sustainability, but also understand how technology can help create more shared value. This calls for global wisdom, global experiences, and innovative thinking. First and foremost, it requires talent who embraces change.
As we follow the deliberations on balancing the budget, one hopes that the strategic importance of such programs as CIBER are evaluated in the right context. This isn’t the time to retrench investments in international business education, it is time to re-imagine and re-invest to grow the talent our world needs.
To learn more about the Robinson College’s CIBER program, click here.