Going Global: Why Professional Education Must Reflect a Changing Business World
by John Danilovich, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce
As the business world becomes increasingly globalised, it is time for professional education to follow suit. Greater worldwide integration is creating business opportunities across the globe, and a global standard of education can put companies in a position to take full advantage, says John Danilovich, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) recently launched the ICC Academy, a ground-breaking educational initiative that brings together the world business organisation’s global network of business experts to provide professional education – starting with courses in banking and trade finance – to a global audience. We have done this because professional education today is more important than ever – and it needs to be tailored to the demands of a changing business world.
Shortage of skills is hampering opportunities
The business world today is more connected than ever. Improvements in technology have made it possible for businesses to collaborate successfully with partners on the other side of the globe. What’s more, the emerging markets are becoming an increasingly important factor on the global stage – not only trading with western economies, and each other, in ever-greater volumes, but also trading increasingly in higher-value goods. These are just two of the factors creating opportunities for business expansion into new markets and regions.
But while the opportunities are abundant, businesses are not yet in position to take full advantage of them. One reason for this is a shortage of professional skills – something which has been identified by a number of surveys as one of the major obstacles to global economic growth. For example, a recent survey from the research body Financial Executives Research Foundation, and the consultant Protiviti, cites the difficulty of getting hold of the right talent as one the primary issues facing finance directors in the US.
This shortage of skills exposes the need for a higher quality, practical professional education. In this respect, it is our view that professional education is best provided by industry authorities with an in-depth understanding of the problems and a strong command of the best solutions. The ‘on-the-ground’ experience these experts can offer is critical – grounding education in principles that are proven to lead to business success.
Global inconsistency is another hindrance
A shortage of skills is not the only problem, however. Disparate business practices and standards worldwide represent another barrier to growth. Certainly, the way professionals conduct their business differs significantly from country to country – meaning trade transactions or other deals are often slowed as each side comes to terms with the way the other works.
This variation can be seen clearly in the case of supply chain finance – where the lack of consensus on terminology, products and practices is a source of frustration for finance directors and CFOs worldwide. Because supply chain finance encompasses such a wide array of business activities, those involved in different stages of the process or in different parts of the world often understand it in a completely different light – a phenomenon that poses a significant challenge to international trade.
These problems need to be tackled directly – by fostering a set of common principles by which all professionals can work. Certainly, ICC has dedicated much effort to standardising global trade practices. Such a standard can also be encouraged via education, however – with professionals worldwide being taught the same principles.