Feb 23, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

For the past decade, the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry and FORTUNE magazine have partnered to rank the World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC). Perennial winner Apple claimed the top spot on the list in 2016, followed by Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Walt Disney, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Nike and General Electric. What’s one thing these “exceptional organizations with world-class reputations” have in common?  A pressing commitment to globalization.

In fact, according to an analysis of recent WMAC data by FORTUNE, 72 percent of WMAC respondents cited globalization as “very important” or “important” to their organizations compared to just 52 percent of their non-WMAC counterparts, while 61 percent viewed globalization as one of the top three “megatrends” influencing their strategic workforce planning compared to just 46 percent of their non-WMAC counterparts. The takeaway for prospective b-school students? Global Executive MBAs (EMBAs) offer an inside edge to getting ahead in the increasingly borderless business world. Here’s a closer look at three reasons to go global for your EMBA.


1. Successful communication across cultures is key.

From differences in communication styles to varying concepts of time, business negotiations are made and broken on acknowledging and understanding cultural differences.The ability to adjust your own attitudes, approaches and behaviors in order to align with international collaborators is invaluable on the contemporary global business stage.

Writes one NY Times columnist of her time working overseas, “The most important thing I’ve brought back with me is a greater sensitivity and perceptiveness. I’m beginning to see that global competence is also about understanding the interplay among individuals, countries, industries and organizational cultures. Those who seek out people and situations foreign to them and master the ability to assimilate are far more likely to be successful in a world that’s becoming both bigger and smaller at the same time.”

One example of a program which puts learning how to negotiate cultural differences at the forefront of its curriculum through the creation of truly global classroom environments is Hult's Global Executive MBA. Not only do students at Hult come from more than 150 nationalities, but the student population is a staggering 90 percent international. Hult’s equally diverse faculty comprises professors from more than 45 countries who have each worked in an average of three different countries. The resulting mix ensures that students are surrounded by both relevant real world examples and opportunities for practice -- all toward the development of new understanding and enriched global perspectives.

Said Hult alumni Seiji Marioka, Head of Business Operations and Sales Strategy at Vmware, “Hult is truly international and diverse business school that has a wide variety of students across the globe who have different cultural and business background, business experience and skills. You can simulate the diverse international working environment through the program. Technologies are making the globe flat and connected much tighter than before. I believe that leadership in truly international diverse working environments will be one of the most important competencies.”


2. Flexibility is paramount - particularly in uncertain times.

The year of 2016 was a reminder that circumstances can change without notice -- and situations often don’t go the way you might expect them too. The ability to pivot in response to the unanticipated, such as movements toward protectionist trade policies in both the US and the UK, can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s fast-moving business world.

But flexibility is also critical on a longer-term basis. According to McKinsey, “The emerging economies’ share of Fortune Global 500 companies will probably jump to more than 45 percent by 2025, up from just 5 percent in 2000 (Exhibit 1). That’s because while three-quarters of the world’s 8,000 companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more are today based in developed economies, we forecast that an additional 7,000 could reach that size in little more than a decade—and 70 percent of them will most likely come from emerging markets.”

Not only does choosing a b-school program with multiple global campuses prepare you to weather immediate storms like changing visa policies and trade restrictions, but it also facilitates the development of resiliency. EMBA students at Hult can study at up to four of the programs six global locations meaning they’re constantly challenged to adapt, evolve, and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

A huge additional benefit? The internationally recognized Hult EMBA program is one of the world’s only programs officially dual accredited in both the UK and the US. 


3. The sooner you start building your international network, the larger it grows.

Why wait until you begin your career to start building an international network? With a global EMBA, you immediately start cultivating a rich, diverse international network -- one which will stay with you throughout your entire career.

At Hult, for example, students gain a giant head start on network building, beginning with their fellow classmates and expanding to comprise a global alumni network of more than 17,000 students from over 150 nationalities. Students gain exclusive access to this network meaning the next opportune business contact or exciting new opportunity is always just around the corner -- even if it’s 9,000 miles away.

One last thing for today’s business students who aspire to be tomorrow’s business leaders to keep in mind: FORTUNE’s analysis of WMAC data further revealed that a full 86 percent of WMAC respondents indicated that “leaders in their companies are currently effective in managing with a global perspective.” A global EMBA will uniquely prepare you to take your place among them.


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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