An eagerness to immerse yourself in different cultures, a drive to be adventurous, and dedication to succeeding in a foreign environment are key elements in pursuing a career abroad, a panel of international business experts told a Lehigh networking gathering Wednesday.
Four panelists shared insight and advice with those attending Connecting Our Worlds, an event that brought together Lehigh students, alumni, Global Village members and alumni, and faculty. Hosted by Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry, Career Services, the Professional Development Program and Graduate Business Programs, the event focused on how to navigate global assignments.
The panelists were Richard Boocock, Vice President, Global Operations of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; Sandi Klose, Global Head of Investment Banking Operations and Specialty Solutions for Thomson Reuters; Steve Luken ’82, National Managing Principal, Advisory Services of Grant Thornton, LLP; and Ylber Dauti, founder of The Dauti Law Firm, P.C.
Each of the panelists discussed their own personal global experiences, as well as the many skill sets that led them to success in the global sphere.
The Global Village, run by the Iacocca Institute under Dick Brandt, offers students from around the world a chance to immerse themselves in a six-week leadership and cross-cultural training program that will help prepare them to work in a globalized society. The program was founded by Lee Iacocca ’45, in 1997, and continues to grow.
Dauti said that Global Village is a great place to meet people, such as business executives, with corporation branches overseas. “You need to establish contacts with people. That’s the first step to getting a job overseas,” he said.
The panelists stressed that professionals who work abroad should immerse themselves in the country’s culture and learn to respect its diverse values. Brandt said it is extremely important for people to demonstrate charisma and character, while also bringing communication and team building skills to the forefront.
Panelists also emphasized the skill sets that are necessary to navigate international mine fields, the importance of ethics, and the ability to deal with family and personal issues that arise while working as a professional abroad.
Boocock said when pursuing a career in the global marketplace, having a sense of adventure is very important, as well as an interest in trying something new and being open to new opportunities.
The panelists agreed with Brandt about the importance of team building and communication skills. They said global teams are best made up of people with diverse skill sets that complement each other. In order to be successful, you must be willing to accept both the culture of the country you are working in, along with the cultures of the countries your fellow workers come from.
Along with the panel discussion at Connecting Our Worlds, introductory speeches were given by Paul Brockman, who holds a Perella Chair in Finance and serves as co-chair of the College of Business and Economics Globalization Steering Committee, and Brandt. Closing remarks were made by Brandon Gallagher, a current Lehigh MBA student.