While studying until all hours on an online marketing group project with team members from around the world, it’s hard to imagine ever getting to a point where you’ll be making world-changing decisions.
But in an increasingly global marketplace, today’s MBA students need to have a broader outlook to be competitive in the workforce and the boardroom.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges with the mission to turn ideas into action. CGI annual meetings, held in late September, bring together heads of state, CEOs, foundation and NGO leaders, major philanthropists, and members of the media to help put these ideas and action to work.
“Our corporate partners are saying ‘We want our leaders, women coming up through our pipeline, to be externally focused,’” said Gail Romero, CEO of MBA Women International, (MBAWI) who was in attendance at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York City, and described women in leadership as an overall theme.
To date, CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments to action, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries, according to its website. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.
Romero broke down three lessons that MBA students – current and future – can take away from the Clinton Global Initiative:
- Prepare to Represent. Romero says MBAWI’s corporate partner tells her that it’s important for women (to know) that as a business leader you will be asked to give time to your community, and that community could be in your neighborhood, around your workplace, in your city or state, or it could be the world.
- Evaluate Your Heart. For prospective MBA students, it is important to analyze what you’d like to do with your degree. “Do you love corporate finance, or you prefer to be working on something that betters the world,” said Romero. “Because your finance abilities can be utilized in many, many different ways.”
- Think Internationally. Many of the corporations at CGI were there because they have offices all over the world, and in turn are interested in MBA students with international experience. “As our corporate world is multi-national, shouldn’t you (as a business student) understand what is going on in the world and have some awareness, so if you do get transferred to India or Asia, that you have a sense of what that means,” Romero said. In an informal survey of its partners, MBAWI learned that businesses are looking for leaders with a global mindset, and an awareness of what is going on in the world. Romero added that even within the MBAWI community, many members speak more than one language and when adding to the organization’s team, she looks for language skills.
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Romero began filming at the CGI three years ago and posting to Rainmakers TV, for which she is the executive producer. This year, Romero focused on finding supporters of women around the world, and those interested in continuing to build skills for women to gain leadership roles. In total, Romero conducted 40 interviews, from Her Royal Highness Princess Fay JahanAra to actress Geena Davis. The videos will be posted to the MBAWI’s online magazine via YouTube.
“These leaders are people we want our MBA women to know about,” Romero said. “It’s important as a leader to be externally focused and be aware of what is going on in the world and how your leadership can be affected by or impact what’s going on. We can’t afford to have our MBAs unprepared.”
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets