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Become a Leader in International Business

Friday, August 25, 2017 | 12:00 AM

As more and more countries find new paths to economic prosperity, international connections continue to grow. Increasingly, even small- and medium-sized businesses are participating in the global economy. Increased global connections create more roles in global leadership, and business schools are responding to the call by offering degrees such as an international business MBA.

The Global Leadership Skill Set

Changing economic circumstances call for adaptive business leaders with a common skill set. Timothy J. Rentfrow, writing for Leadership Advance Online, has identified three characteristics of effective leadership in a multinational environment: vision to mobilize, service to the public and a will to nurture others’ development. While these characteristics are largely personality traits, they are also skills that degree programs like an international business MBA can develop.


A new wave of entrepreneurs and businesspeople is responsible for “setting the direction for the future prosperity of [organizations]” (Rentfrow). However, the vision for a company’s future extends beyond its short-term actions.

While a company’s strategy is analogous to a roadmap, “vision” refers to what inspires employees. Effective global leadership means inspiring others to do their best work. If strategy is the “how” of effective business practices, then vision is the “what” : what you want to change or do.

In global leadership, vision takes precedence over strategy. According to bestselling author and business consultant Michael Hyatt, “If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.”


A simple question can demonstrate the importance of service in global leadership: if your employees don’t care about the work they do, why should your customers? Engaged employees bring enthusiasm to their work that spills over into the marketplace. So, how do businesses create engaged employees? Purpose.

Purpose in work means answering a higher calling than simply earning a salary. Engaged employees believe in the products they sell or the services they provide. These employees regard what they do as a net benefit to society: their work serves not only the company but others, too. Effective global leadership means communicating how a company improves lives.


Not to be confused with “coddling,” nurturing connotes an active interest in others’ development. Strong leaders recognize the inherent human need for achievement and improvement. Taking an interest in employees’ development is integral to effective global leadership. These leaders know that helping employees improve helps the company, too.

These are only three of many characteristics of effective global leadership. Many MBA programs focused on international business offer practical instruction to develop global leaders in a continually diversifying world economy.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online MBA in International Trade program.


Leadership Advance Online: Effective Leadership within a Multinational Environment

Michael Hyatt: Why Vision Is More Important than Strategy

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