Global leadership

How an MBA will give you a jump on global leadership

By Rahul Sampat
Fueled by fast-changing technology, products, information, and jobs have spread across borders and cultures to make our world feel smaller than ever.

Regions in all corners of the Earth have more opportunities to participate in the wave of globalization, allowing economies all over the world to experience growth. In fact, the world GDP grew from around 50 trillion USD in 2000 to 75 trillion USD in 2016 and continues to trend upward, according to the UN.

This all means leading and working with people across different regions of the world is more common — and more necessary — than ever. And, to be effective in a global marketplace, cross-cultural leadership skills are essential. This goes beyond embracing diversity. It’s about learning how ethical decision-making, management strategies, and cross-cultural communication skills will influence and impact your ability to perform well on a global platform.

Learn how an MBA will better prepare you to meet--and exceed--the business expectations of the increasingly global economy.

Critical thinking with a broadened worldview

Though you may not believe it, we’re inherently biased. That doesn’t mean we’re prejudiced. Instead, it points to the fact that, at times, we all act on partial information or misinformation, or lack the ability to transcend our long-standing beliefs, all of which can blind us from actual truths or rational decision-making.

Critical thinking is the tool used to arrive at the best decision possible, despite ourselves and our biased thinking. This is a vitally important skill to learn as leaders, but it's especially important in a global marketplace, where cultural differences are abundant, and open-mindedness is critical.

When you enroll in an MBA program, you will have the opportunity to collaborate and debate with an astonishing diversity of students. They reflect different races, ethnicities, and ages. They speak many languages and practice many religions. They have different abilities/disabilities, gender orientations, and political perspectives. They come from many socio-economic statuses and geographic regions. This real-time communication with a diverse class can help you encounter and explore new ideas and thought structures that will improve your critical thinking abilities.

Understanding the science behind business behavior

Throughout your MBA studies, you’ll conduct relevant research based on behavioral sciences. Behavioral sciences touch on why humans act the way they do by drawing conclusions from fields of study like sociology, anthropology, and psychology.

In a business scenario, you will learn how employees, managers, and customers make choices by applying behavioral sciences to real-life business applications like:

  • Economics
  • Decision research
  • Consumer research

According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, behavioral science helps organizations address unconscious bias and instincts, and manage the irrational mind. By understanding and reacting appropriately to people’s behaviors, you’re able to create favorable business outcomes, without restricting the way your team operates.

Improving leadership skills around the world

While earning your MBA, you will have the chance to learn real-world problem solving and leadership techniques that give you a competitive edge in a global environment. Specifically, at Berkeley Haas, the Global Focus program and Trips and Treks initiatives allow students to build cross-cultural business understanding both in the classroom and on the ground, in countries around the world.

The Global Focus program includes initiatives like International Business Development (IBD), Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM), student clubs and activities, and an exchange program. They allow students to:

  • Engage in consulting projects with for-profit and non-profit organizations worldwide
  • Explore business as it is conducted in fast-growing emerging nations and developed countries
  • Lead clubs, participate in fellowship programs, attend conferences, and conduct research that fosters global understanding and provides opportunities to grow and use your leadership skills

By immersing yourself in global initiatives, and taking advantage of travel opportunities, you can make international connections with fellow students, corporate leaders, and alums who are scattered across the globe.

Strengthen your existing skill set

You also might think about an executive MBA program designed specifically for professionals with a solid understanding of business and leadership who want to drill deeper into their skillset. By advancing your leadership skills, you increase your odds of assuming a top-level position within the corporate, government, or non-profit sectors.

In the Berkeley MBA for Executives program, you can expect to learn leadership techniques specific to a cross-border context, which are particularly useful within high stakes roles in corporations and within the government.

EMBA students have the opportunity to assess business models, suppliers, competitors, partners, and customers through a global lens, as opposed to a domestic view. You’ll also have the opportunity to apply your findings in real-world settings through programs like the Global Immersion initiative at Berkeley.

By studying to earn your MBA you’ll be able to practice global business strategies and business communication techniques so that post-graduation, you’ll be ready to jump into a global leadership position with confidence and skill.

Are you ready to start down the path of global leadership? See how Berkeley can help you today.

Posted on July 18, 2019
Themes: MBA Benefits
Rahul Sampat
Rahul was Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals from 2015-2019. He hopes these blog posts provide you with useful insights into the Berkeley MBA experience and questions you may have about the MBA in general.