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What should a professional expect in a course that provides global learning?

By   /  June 14, 2022  /  Comments Off on What should a professional expect in a course that provides global learning?

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By Dr Veena Jadhav, Associate Dean, MGB and Associate Professor (Leadership and HRM), S P Jain School of Global Management.

The relevance of global learning took centre stage when management thinker and best-selling author Thomas L. Friedman claimed, ‘The World is Flat’! Freidman depicted a flat world with global markets that provide level playing opportunities for all players. However, the perennial challenge for professionals, both mature and entry level, is to continually invest in relevant skills and ever evolving competencies. The onset of the current pandemic has further accelerated the demand for professionals to recalibrate their skills to match the transformations taking place at workplaces.

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, several disruptions were affecting organisations, and in turn the professionals and business leaders. The impact of pandemic has forced organisations and individuals to embrace these changes to ensure survival and sustainability. Future of work and digital transformation is not a desirable goal anymore and COVID-19 pandemic has permanently modified workplaces with greater adoption of remote and virtual work.

According to a recent report by World Economic Forum (WEF), the new age of work will be characterised by radical new set of skills that would be essential to thrive in a highly dynamic and competitive global business environment. While professionals tend to gravitate towards acquiring more complex functional and technical skills, the area of soft skills remains an Achilles’ heel. The traditional ‘soft skills’, now deemed as ‘smart skills’, are increasingly understood to be the catalyst that differentiates a high performing business leader.

Global learning is one such ‘smart skill’ that is pivotal for the success of a business professional aspiring to lead a diverse, global team. According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), global learning is “… a critical analysis of and an engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (such as natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability.” Several other definitions are in vogue since global learning has been interpreted and defined in several different manner.

This can pose a challenge for a professional seeking to enrol in a course that provides global learning. A good starting point would be to assess global learning course based on the coverage of four essential dimensions: business environment, global mindset and beliefs, rituals and behaviours and real-life immersion.

Business environment

Globalisation has made businesses and organisations adopt a borderless operating model, causing significant interlinkages and dependencies amongst different economies and markets at a macro level. A well-structured course equips the participant with an excellent understanding of the complexities and vagaries of global and regional business environment and develops acumen to predict its impact in their own settings.

Global mindset and beliefs

Global learning is all about openness to examine personal mindset and beliefs, without any prejudice and pre-set notions! It means being comfortable with difficult questions, uncomfortable, difficult and unexpected situations. Finally, it is also about being able to by challenge your beliefs adopt and adapt your mindset towards creating a more inclusive, humane and sustainable team, organisation and society at large. This is the core an effective global learning course.

Rituals and behaviours

Every region and society nurture its own unique rituals and behaviours that are linked to its history, cultural norms and social context. Many of these rituals and behaviours have a direct implication on the strategies and practices of firms and even customer behaviour. Developing a sound understanding of these rituals and their association with perception of ‘value’ is another important aspect of global learning. These insights enable professionals to establish strong trust based on shared values and behaviours while working with diverse customer and teams.

Real-life immersion

Eventually, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! While businesses are going virtual and digital, without real-life immersion and practical exposure to different regions, global learning will remain a theory in the minds of participants. While the pandemic has placed several restrictions on travel and immersion opportunities, the essence of global learning is regional immersion. A well curated and thought through immersion experience will not only have a lasting behavioural and attitudinal changes for the participants, but also grow professional networks in new markets.

About the Author: Dr Veena Jadhav, Associate Dean, MGB and Associate Professor (Leadership and HRM), S P Jain School of Global Management.
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