Getting from Here to There…

Mat Reynders discussed his journey from a confused college student to a successful businessman. He stressed the fact that we must constantly be doing research, asking questions, going to career fairs, and networking with experienced individuals. He also emphasized the need to be open to change, take risks, and always be ‘thinking bigger’.

Two other discussion points really stood out to me. First, Mat explained his first job at Sears as a store manager. He described the excellent, intensive training program offered to recent college graduates, in which taught him many useful skills that he has used throughout his entire career. This made me start thinking about the internship that I will be participating in this summer. It made me consider how I must choose a business that is really going to give something back to me, rather than interning for a place that just wants free labor.  Second, Mat mentioned a trusted mentor as a key factor in his success. He even discussed established mentoring programs that many companies offer, in which I was not aware of. Another great take-away point from this discussion was using proper etiquette with a mentor. Some tips of advice were to have a theme for every meeting, do your ‘homework’, and brief your mentor on points of discussion before the meeting. It is important to help create an environment where the mentor is really enjoying their ability to lead others, and not feeling as if they are giving with no appreciation in return.

Overall, I enjoyed this presentation.

The Constant Gardener

The Constant Gardner is a great example of how businesses and consumers among differing nations interact.

I think the major theme that relates to international business is the idea of businesses in developed countries exploiting the poor and uneducated citizens of a lesser-developed area. The British government, KDH, and Three Bee’s have worked together to ensure that they are the major profiteers of TB and HIV vaccines in Kenya. Due to a fear of competition from other drug representatives, they have become completely corrupt and use any means possible in order to make more money. One major tactic they have used is bribery (paying off people in order to continue with the trials). The lack of law enforcement in Kenya is another advantage that proved beneficial for them.  The “triple axis of evil” proves to value a masculine society with little effort to take on any sort of social responsibility.

There are a multitude of minor IB issues that the characters face throughout the entire movie. A major one is a lack of cultural sensitivity. One instance of this was when Justin went to look for Kioko Kalulu. Kioko was constantly giving signals to Justin that he did not want to be seen with him because he knew he would get in trouble by the police. However, Justin did not recognize at the time what was going on and was very persistent, resulting in Kioko being questioned and upset. Another instance was when Justin tried to bribe the pilot. He assumed that since the police asked for a bribe, that everyone in Kenya accepted them as a means to get ahead. However, he only ended up embarrassing the pilot and himself.

In addition: (1) The lack of infrastructure affected their ability to distribute vaccines. (2) Outside forces such as the mob of men on horses who came to kidnap children, take food, and cause harm in Sudan posed a threat for business. (3) Technology allowed Tessa to research more efficiently, resulting in the demise of the entire international business scandal. (4) Language barriers can be attributed to the inability of citizens to ask questions about the potential harms of the vaccinations.

There are multitudes of underlying themes in this film that relate to international business.

The message was being sent to the young girl. The older woman was sending the message  that she knew the younger girl did the crime, but she didn’t want to embarrass her in front of her mother. The younger girl needed to confess to the crime on her own.

Should MNCs protect shareholder value by restricting the placement of female employees in certain foreign countries? Discuss sexism in international business.

As more businesses enter into the international market, cross-cultural skills are becoming increasingly necessary. Respecting the customs and culture of other nations is essential in order to maintain a profitable business relationship, no matter what the beliefs are in the host country. The variation in predominant religions among nations plays a big role. For example, nations such as Africa, South America, the Middle East, and India, have male dominant societies. This can be attributed to their compliance to Islamic law. The reason as to why there is a disconnect among sexes is deeply rooted in their historical values. The ability to change these long-standing beliefs is minimal.  Therefore, I do believe MNCs should protect shareholder value by restricting the placement of female employees in certain foreign countries. It is likely that a necessary relationship will not be formed if the terms of a business deal do not reflect the interests of the host country. And as discussed, a relationship is the key to almost all business deals outside of the United States.

As sexism is unacceptable and often poses many controversies in the United States, it is generally accepted in other societies. I believe that it is important to educate working women in the United States about cultural sensitivity in order for them to understand incidences of unfair treatment in international situations.  Once they understand the cultures and customs of other nations, they are less likely to feel discriminated against by their employers within the United States when they are not permitted to participate abroad.

The increase in international business has completely changed the business arena, where sexism is a very controversial topic. However, just like all issues, it should be dealt with respectfully, and a compromise will eventually prevail among differing nations. Who knows, maybe someday Saudi Arabia will capitalize on the fact that they could make a lot more money if they involved women in their world of business.

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