Communication is Global
Posted by: MSC Admissions
by Abby Gunia, Class of 2011
The world may be flat according to Thomas Friedman, but it is definitely not uni-cultural. While Thomas Friedman makes many valid points about the evolution of the world market and the technological advances that have leveled the playing field globally in his book, The World is Flat, he does little to understand the multiculturalism that still exists. I work in negotiations. This week I am helping to facilitate an International Executive MBA program and am learning a lot from the students. Students travel from across the globe to attend a two week live-in session. The institution partners with campuses in Tel Aviv, Israel, Vallendar, Germany, Toronto, and Hong Kong.
One of the biggest takeaways I have learned in both the MSC and in the real world job experience is that culture plays a key role in how communication works. Although many of us may not deal globally, the chance to interact with colleagues or clients even in different regions may produce vast differences in communication, negotiation, and any other form of business for that matter. As a matter of fact, one student spoke up in class about his experiences with contracts. He does business in a region of India. He simply stated that if you attempt to do business on a Tuesday, it won’t get done. In that region, they do no sign contracts until Friday. This may seem a little backwards to many of us doing business in the Western hemisphere and we may think….how can you stop business for a day or a week or even delay it til Friday? We need to sign today, we need to push forward with the deal. But it just won’t happen. Understanding and developing relationships is the only way to successfully manage these differences, albeit seemingly strange to some, but none the less important.
The thing that makes a program like the MSC valuable is that it helps you to understand this multiculturalism. While real world experience is a definite key to understanding all of the idiosyncratic differences, learning to adjust communication starts in the classroom and with the appreciation that differences exist.
While you may view business in a certain light, remember your counterpart may see it completely differently. Communication and understanding of interests and priorities can help to make your life much simpler. The MSC is a great place to start to develop an understanding of global communication.