Confucius had it right.
“Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.”

A decade ago I found myself sitting in an office in Switzerland participating in my first “authentic” international deal. Joined by several business executives from across EMEA we were negotiating a global outsourcing opportunity that would cover 34 countries and more than $10M. The contracts were written in English (mercifully for me), governed by French law, and arbitrated in Switzerland. The experience was both surreal and thrilling.

“This,” I thought, “is the new world of business. I’d better pay attention and learn it.” Becoming a global business professional requires a disciplined and dedicated approach. As I discussed in last week’s blog, establishing a self-development road map will enable you to not only learn global facts but to understand the driving forces of the world economy. Sitting in that Geneva conference room, I realized that if I wanted to participate in the global marketplace I needed to be able to view and understand international business from multiple perspectives.

Back to School
Formal education remains one of the best avenues for learning. Consider your options. From traditional universities and online programs to professional seminars and certifications, there are myriad of educational opportunities for expanding one’s professional skill set.

I chose the route of a Global MBA, working and going to school simultaneously. I found that the classroom setting enabled me to assemble a base of knowledge and a range of perspectives that I couldn’t have built on my own. Working in a classroom with professionals and students from around the world, we were forced to look beyond our own views and experiences. We studied. We disagreed. We collaborated. And in the end, we produced work that taught us how to lead and succeed in the global economy.

Consider your options for continued education, certification, or skill-building. The opportunities and avenues are numerous, and the knowledge you gain combined with the connections you make can help open doors to building a rewarding management career.

Education has no end.
The more we learn, the more we recognize that there is much we do not know. Think of any global business topic that interests you and do a quick Google search. Chances are you will be inundated with articles, blogs, podcasts, and books related to how to learn it, how to lead it, or how to do it better.

Many of us study the lessons of US business icons like Welch, Gates and Buffet, but how many of us follow non-US business and thought leaders like Narayana Murthy, Carlos Slim Helú, or Richard Tsai?

Same question for papers, magazines, and TV shows. We read the conventional business pubs and watch the economic programs, but consider what would happen to your perspective and your insight if you widened your intake to include The Times of India, Financial Times, or the Shanghai Daily?

Try it. Add even just one international media website or app to your weekly reading list, and watch your perspective begin to expand.

A process; not a product
By definition education is an act or process. Don’t think of it as a product or an end-result. Consider it an ongoing endeavor and a key aspect to your global embrace. In the coming weeks we’ll continue our global discussion and explore ways you can enrich your international experience in your own executive job search and career management.

What educational steps have you taken/do you take to expand your global perspective?

Scott Smith
Lucas Group