To understand more about global trends, by late May 2012, I started to read news (mostly business) from different parts of the world. Both developing (India, China, Russia, Latin America) and developed (USA, Germany) on regular basis and on weekly basis from other parts of the world. I have recently added Japan and Africa to my reading lists. In initial months, I spend 4-5 hours daily to grasp every minute detail along with their meanings in business sections. Today, I just need 20 minutes to glance all news from all these regions to get a quick update of market situations around the world.Through such readings, I have put many of economic, finance, strategic theories in practice to understand them in real situations. I have also created a knowledge database by storing important information and classified it according to different sectors. Today, just by reading a newspaper headline, I can think about its impact in multiple direction. These readings were the good upgradation to my existing quick decision making ability at international level.
However, I also started to become careful when I doubt the angle presented in certain news stories. Many times, a coverage can be biased and it can be a big mistake to blindly follow such leads. Whenever I find any information doubtful, I can use my global network (spanning now in more than 100 countries) to cross check the its validity. Few times, I did cross check the information and found that presented information is different from what is happening on the ground. In today’s world, when information is readily available, sometime it is also necessary to check the accuracy of it.
Using the card borrowed from my friend, I have extensively used private libraries to study different business magazines. Also studied some management books to grasp some remaining fundamentals not covered through online courses or newspaper readings.
Courses on general management: My course list includes taking courses on general management like operations, human resources, business strategy with objective to get a professional upgradation on existing skills. With special interest to uncover secrets behind money movements in the world, I have taken 5-6 courses in Economics. I have also given special emphasis to new market trends and studied more about Mergers & Acquisitions, design thinking and data analytics.
Courses on Future trends/interdisciplinary aspects:
I was observing this trend from a long time and directly involved in it through competitions. Majority of world population is going to live in cities in future, so understanding more about city planning can definitely help a future manager.
From the course Latin American Migration, I have tried to observe changes migration bring to any nation. Future population is going to be very mobile, very aged in some countries and having mixed ethnicity due to mass migration. Some regions of the world are experiencing high population growth going to offer opportunities as well as challenges. Knowledge of such trends can help in better planning.
Environment is going to be involved in every big project of future. Using my engineering knowledge, I have tried to understand basics of laws and policy in this field. It will be helpful in dealing with conflicting interest scenarios of future.
Natural disasters are occurring more frequently than before and already affected many businesses in recent years. I gained knowledge on how to face such challenges.
EU is most complex governmental organization in the world. Using my experience of EU Open Days, I have studied different policies and get an overview of functioning of EU in general. It will be helpful in understanding other world organizations and their working mechanisms.
Trade agreements and trade disputes are very common today. For any firm engaged in multinational cooperation, knowing basics of this area can be helpful. I have studied this to get a good overview of how to handle such situations.
Becoming more globalized
It is still not clear what exactly globalization means and how a person can become more globalized. I used my own thoughts and tried to expand my knowledge base to be in a position to conversation anywhere, work anywhere and live anywhere. These ideas came from my positive experiences of living in Denmark.
Although, there is no single definition on what is termed as culture but in my view combine study of (history, geography, festivals, economic conditions, likes & dislikes, local customs, social structure etc) can make one slightly more culturally sensitive even without living in that place. I have tested this methodology while staying in Denmark. Following similar methods, I have spent past 2 years studying about China, Russia, Latin America, Middle East and Japan. I have also communicated with native people to know more about their countries. I have also learn flags of the all the different countries and explored their relations with the society.
For a future global manager, knowing few foreign language can be very helpful. My first stint with foreign language was learning Danish but it was not successful giving me valuable lessons to change my strategy of learning languages. I was mostly in my home town with no language school to study. I decided to study top business languages of the world step by step. I was keen on German from past few years, so I have started with it. I spent lot of time in finding good online resources for self-learning resources and using them to develop my methods of language learning. Be it watching movies, listening to you-tube serials or undergoing language exchange with native speakers, it was not an easy task. It failed many times, lost patience too sometime. But gradually, I developed some ways to learn any foreign language easily. I have later tried this with Spanish and Russian and going to repeat them to learn more languages in future.
It was my favorite free time activity. I have spend a lot of time on Google Map scanning entire world map, finding any random corner on it and reading about it on Wikipedia. Now, I understand time zone difference easily and can set meeting timings easily with people from any parts of the world.
Practicing knowledge in real life
I always believe that, any gained knowledge can not become skill, until it has been tested in real situations. As, I did not have luxury to do internships, buying cases to read, my best bet was to turn to surrounding environment and making the best use of available online/offline situations.
Course projects included strategic analysis on an African Bank, comparative economic analysis between 2 Latin American countries, globalization project on Kazakhstan, solving a dispute in context of EU Legislation’s, checking environment law violation disputes at a farm in USA and also modifying traffic plan of my own city. I have also written essays covering cultural aspects of Iran, China, Latin America as well as Middle-East. Using the knowledge from courses, I have participated in several competitions, important of them were ‘Improving competitiveness of Eastern Europe’ and ‘Improving cultural cooperation between India-Russia’.
Some of the side studies, I have undertaken using the course knowledge were, ‘Economics analysis of coffee production in Peru’, ‘Investment potential in green technologies in India’, ‘How to maintain discipline in lines in crowded temples of India’, ‘Marketing in megacities in 2020’ etc. I have observed an under construction bridge in my vicinity continuously for 2 months and made notes to test different project management tools. Using knowledge of finance, I helped a street vendor to solve his debt worries and another street vendor to increase his revenues. I have also helped an NGO in Sierra Leone in improving their agricultural activities and from past few months working with a Mexican firm to improve their packaging efficiency.
I spent majority of my time in my home town with an effort to reduce my expenses and getting things done with minimum resources. The downside, it offered very little possibility for me to have face to face interactions on topics of my interest. So, I turned to virtual world and became more active on social media. Especially at different groups of LinkedIn/Facebook for exchanging information, putting my thoughts on issues of public policy, project management, leadership, international trade etc. I have expanded my network to over 100 countries and got many different cultural insights through direct interactions with native people. As I could not buy the case studies; I have read easily available resources like company annual reports, published reports of international institutions (world bank, IMF, EU etc) to gain necessary depth in different economic sectors.
Today, I feel glad that lack of resources and financial constraints forced me to develop my own methods, to try things in a different ways.