Newspapers and websites are filled with headlines of immigration bans, reconsideration of trade agreements and stories of global interest in economic and political isolation. Despite this trend, faculty, alumni and students of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management see global partnerships as essential to personal and business growth and success.
The Bloch School is continuing to enhance its curriculum, broaden an already diverse population and develop new opportunities for students to explore studying and working abroad as a way to enhance both business and life experience.
This commitment to interconnectedness and the value of developing and nurturing global relationships not only mirrors Henry Bloch’s personal philosophies of recognizing opportunities and making a personal investment in building relationships, it’s a reflection of the growing significance in the global marketplace.
Below are a few ways the Bloch School enhances students’ global mindsets.
Developing a Global View
“The simple fact the term ‘global marketplace’ is commonly used is a signpost itself,” says Michael Wizniak (MBA ’14), Bloch instructor of international business and management systems. “In a relatively short period of time, due to technological advancements and reduced barriers, the world has integrated to a level that is virtually irreversible.”
The Bloch School, like other business schools nationwide, is expanding its international course base. Classes in international management, international business environment and global management consultancy are a few offerings that give students a taste of the new business community.
Wizniak teaches Global Mindset for Managers, which focuses on a variety of topics that business professionals need in today’s global marketplace.
Laying the Groundwork
Keith Small (MBA ’00), Black & Veatch associate vice president of Sub-Saharan Africa, appreciates that the school has expanded its international curriculum and solidified global partnerships with Asia Pacific organizations and universities. He sees this as a reflection of UMKC’s goal to embrace diversity.
“Participating on the Marketing Advisory Council with other local industry leaders allows me to peek under the hood periodically,” Small notes. “The Bloch School faculty engage various companies in two-way exchanges to ensure curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the business community, while also ensuring students remain current and attractive to recruiters.”
Gathering experience and knowledge and leveraging opportunity while in the Bloch School are a good spring boards for students and professionals who are intrigued by living and working abroad.
Get Up and Go
Beyond the current class offerings, the Bloch School also offers study abroad programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Current study abroad options have included London, Portugal and South Africa.
Wizniak has also taken both undergraduate and graduate students abroad to five different countries in Europe and Asia since last year, and he sees the value in the investment.
“We spend time with local institutions and businesses experientially learning about international business,” he says. “Some of the classes are consulting for companies in foreign markets like South Korea or conducting competitive industry research and forecasting in the EU with the coming Brexit implications.”
But studying abroad often offers more than practical experience and an understanding of other people and cultures.
“When students study abroad I can see them change,” Sidne Ward, chair, Department of Management and director of Bloch Global Management Education Initiatives, says.
“Sometimes I recognize the exact moment when a student opens up to the possibility of living abroad. They begin to see a different possible future.”
Global Views Close to Home
For those students who might not be able to study abroad, the Bloch faculty and staff have structured their programs in Kansas City to help provide that worldview perspective.
Jill C. Anderson (MBA ’12), revenue cycle executive, Cerner Middle East, experienced firsthand the advantages of having a diverse cohort at Bloch.
“We had representation from Cameroon, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and Vietnam,” says Anderson. “Many times we would get into in-depth conversations about how economies are run in those countries.”
Wizniak goes on to emphasize the universal appreciation of Henry Bloch’s model in business and in life.
“Being humble goes a long way in building relationships and trust. It would be a fool’s errand to try and find a more humble man than Henry Bloch.”
No one knows this better than Tom Bloch. “It was never about making the most money. He’s always wanted to help people. The most people. He thinks it’s important to make a difference.”
This article is an excerpt from the 2017 Bloch Magazine. To read the full article, click here.