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Wednesday, 16 June 2021 | Dr Christopher Abraham

In a globally connected world of humans and technology, every person has access to connect, communicate, collaborate and contribute to make the world a better place. At present, there is evidence that any new experience in any new country can certainly add value to the person's attitudes, perceptions and behaviors.

 Every new experience broadens their perspectives and opens up a new world of possibilities. Notwithstanding the present challenges posed by the pandemic, the world is still full of possibilities and opportunities for the global adventurer. This concept is even more relevant when management and business students get exposed to global experiences.

When corporations across the world are connected, they look for professionals who understand these cultural, business, economic and political nuances. The way businesses are done in different geographies is influenced by the culture, language, traditions and unique practices of that region. An exposure to these subtleties can certainly enhance one's efficacy in dealing with these location-specific practices.

A multi-country, multicultural exposure can provide practical insights to the students regarding human interactions, become more open- minded and have a better understanding of other perspectives. It can also help in enhancing interpersonal skills such as communication, listening and empathy.

Case studies of successful global managers clearly validate that professionals and managers with global exposure and experience tend to appreciate different cultures and different points of view and are more successful in creating conducive work environments where people can work in mutual collaboration and understanding. A fascinating study done by Cornell University validates the concept that exposure to multiple global cultures actually enhances one's problem-solving skills. Three categories of people were chosen for this interesting experiment: one group that had lived its entire lifetime in one country, a second group that had a two-country exposure and a third group that had experiences in multiple countries.

All three groups were given the same problem— Dunker Candle Problem. The results were astounding, the group with the multi-country exposure was faster with their solutions in comparison to the other groups, validating that a multi-country exposure certainly helps enhance one's creativity and problem-solving skills.

Corporates are continuously looking for relevant and qualified professionals who can be successful in any global environment. With more global exposure, these professionals have the ability to enhance their skills of adaptability and critical thinking. Global work can be understood as professionals working across different cultures, geographies and markets. This means that these professionals are dealing with the changing context of the environment and the stakeholders, resulting in ambiguity and complexity.

This poses unique challenges and can be addressed by a combination of 21st Century intelligences including global and cultural intelligence, which is only possible when students are given an exposure to different international experiences.

The world today needs leaders and managers who can effectively lead across borders with unique skills to understand different cultures and work with openness and empathy, embrace diversity and plurality and accept inclusiveness. This calls for a global mindset which can help students who are exposed to global practices, appreciate, adapt and address different business challenges in different global and cultural environments.

The writer is Dr Christopher Abraham CEO-head, Dubai Campus, SP Jain School of Global Management

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