I have always wanted to be a manager and liked to engage in solving complex problems, so I worked hard alongside my engineering education to gain the many skills necessary to become such a person.
I imagined becoming a 21st century global manager – a quick learner with an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, with the ability to work outside his area of expertise when necessary and work anywhere in the world, make decisions speedily and communicate with any kind of person.
How could I acquire these skills?
Ideas-gathering phase identifies the skill-set
I spent nearly two months reading survey reports about issues faced by large corporations, studies of future trends and many other different things to identify what the necessary skills are for a global manager. I used LinkedIn, and a few of my social media friends to identify the skills needed for such an interdisciplinary global manager. Here is what I learned:
1. Interdisciplinary studies: having participated in European Parliament Open Days, I was keen to include public policy as one of the interdisciplinary aspects in my learning programme.
2. Future trends: environmental law and policy and urban planning were just some of the trends I identified that can be useful for a person to understand an organisation’s changing needs. ‘Big data’ is another trend, which I added in the later part of the project from a discussion on LinkedIn.
3. Globalisation, culture and languages: when I used the words ‘global manager’, it was necessary for me to actually understand first the meaning behind globalisation and how I could become a global person. My positive experience of living in Denmark was helpful. In my own research, I have found business deals have failed and e-mail communication has become confused between people from different nations because they did not understand each other’s culture, including their history, social customs and political frameworks. Learning different languages can help with overcoming language difficulties.
For more on this ideas-gathering phase, click here.
Choosing skills over degrees
By now, you might have seen that my ambition was too big to fit in any traditional programme. In 2012, I did not have enough financial resources to go for a professional education and I had no intention of taking out a higher education loan.
I had been through the traditional education system before; it was unnecessary for me to compete for a degree when I was obsessed about developing a skill-set. With very good exposure towards business and management from many years of work, what I was looking for was something very different.
After careful thought, I decided to create my own learning path. I was uncertain initially, but the discovery of MOOCs – massive open online courses – after a few months gave me the motivation to continue my project and finish it successfully.
Check the list of courses I have studied here.
How is it different?
The concept of a ‘global manager’ as I envision it is entirely new.
Mixing general management concepts with aspects such as international trade, public policy, foreign affairs, culture, language and other future trends is part of a desire to create an interdisciplinary professional.
I have also found that the concept of ‘globalisation’ has not been developed very clearly and that culture is totally missing in many curricula, even though it can be the most important aspect when putting some sense to those numbers in the balance sheet or carrying out SWOT analysis in any business strategy.
All the resources I have used are in the public domain and easily available to anyone. They include company annual reports, collecting data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund etc, and free language learning resources for self learners or studying eight to 10 business newspapers from different countries regularly to get updates about market trends around the world.
This is very different to other management training programmes.
Learning by doing – testing knowledge in real life
I have put a lot of effort into developing practical knowledge that can be used in real-life situations.
My course projects, voluntary work and freelancing activities have taken me to every part of the world, either doing a globalisation project in central Asia or participating in a competition on improving the competitiveness of Eastern Europe or just helping a street vendor near my house to get rid of his debt worries.
I have invented many ways to keep my learning up-to-date in real terms and internationalised.
Outcomes and next steps
Today, even just by reading a headline in a business newspaper, I can start developing my thoughts on what kind of impact it can have on a particular business or on myself.
From understanding public policy to international trade, I can use my knowledge in many different settings and with the knowledge of different cultures and business trends around the world that I have acquired, I can easily understand their global impact and can communicate with other people too.
Although ‘Envisioning 21st century global manager’ was my own project, customised according to my needs and suiting my own ambition, it did open a door towards gaining education in an unusual way.
Now, I am looking forward to applying my skills in the much more real and complex corporate world to check how much my ideas hold true.