Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

New program gives business students global leadership perspective


Developing leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence that are essential to succeeding in an international business environment is at the crux of a new program being launched this fall in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business.

Dean Wendy York teaches a leadership class

The Dean’s Global Leadership Program focuses on global awareness and leadership through course work and experiential immersion in multi-cultural working and living environments. It’s something Dean Wendy York says is critical to ensuring Clemson graduates are market ready to compete and succeed in a global economy.

“Clemson has a history of producing principled leaders and 21st century business requires they have a global mindset and that they be comfortable and confident in working in an international environment,” Dean York said. “The Dean’s Global Leadership Program will focus on two business-critical competencies, Global Awareness and Leadership, which will help our students understand and effectively address the global circumstances that are important for their careers.”

The Dean’s Global Leadership Program will prepare students to succeed in a modern, global economy through a series of strategically selected academic and experiential courses.  In addition to taking one of the several International Business Perspective courses currently offered in each business major, students will receive hands-on learning through two new courses:  Global Business Negotiations and Global Leadership Lessons.  

Judson Jahn makes a point in a summer global leadership class

“In Global Business Negotiations, students not only learn negotiation theory, but they actually negotiate in almost every class,” said Judson Jahn, senior lecturer of Legal Studies.  “The most fulfilling part of teaching the course is seeing the confidence students gain in their negotiating skills between the first and last class,” Jahn added.

The Global Leadership Lessons course, team taught by Dean York and Jahn, examines current global leadership issues and gives students hands-on experience discussing leadership issues with global business and organization leaders.  In a pilot run of the course this summer, students also participated in three days of leadership-based simulations and case studies with students from the IESEG School of Management in France.

The program also requires a global experience, which could be fulfilled by participating in a study abroad program, service-learning abroad program, global internship, or an internship with multi-national company located in the U.S., and participation in a Global Competence Certificate program led by Gaby Peschiera, assistant director of the Office of Career and Global Engagement.

Junior Financial Management major Elizabeth Lackey is one of the students who received an early taste of the program through a pilot run of the Global Leadership Lessons course this summer.  The Lexington, Ky., native said she took the course primarily for self-development, but the payback was more than she anticipated.

“The courses gave me an opportunity to interact with students from other cultures. And leadership in the 21st century isn’t just about working with people just like you. I realize that to excel as a leader, it’s important for me to learn and explore cultures beyond my own. The classes allowed me to work with peers from other countries in problem solving and gave me a cultural confidence that I didn’t have before.”

Dean York, a successful leader herself in business and academia, said leadership is central to Clemson’s history of producing principled leaders of business and industry and is a vitally important component of business education’s strategic plan at Clemson.

Dean York works with student Elizabeth Lackey

“I’ve often said that leadership is a choice, not a title and teaching leadership from a global perspective is what 21st century business requires. The Dean’s Global Leadership Program and our Leadership Signature Program complement our highly regarded and well-established Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholars program and ROTC military leadership programs. Collectively, the Wilbur O. and Ann College of Business is instilling a global leadership mindset across all business disciplines to prepare our students for the challenges they will face in the business world.”

Dean’s Global Leadership Program students are also required to complete two credit hours of leadership practicum courses, which are offered in either the Leadership Signature Program or the Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholars Program.

The new Leadership Signature Program, under the direction of Professor of Practice in Leadership, Keith Balts, Col. (Retired) USAF, will provide student leadership development and faculty research opportunities across all business majors.

Currently in the process of receiving university and state approvals, the program will award Certificates in Leadership upon completion that will appear on students’ transcripts. It will require six credit hours of course work and six hours of practicums. The cornerstone practicum course for the program is already up and running, and ready to support those seeking their two practicum credit hours for DGLP. There will be more to follow on this emerging signature program in the coming months.

Elizabeth said the summer session courses gave her a “great global perspective” and have contributed not only to her professional development, but as a global citizen.

“The experience has given me momentum to keep growing as a leader. The courses helped me multi-culturally, but also inspired me to collaborate with others and take charge as a leader,” said Elizabeth, who also majors in English. “I have a better understanding of empathy for those in other cultures. If I don’t go into business, this experience will benefit me in my everyday life on how to lead by example.”

For more information on the Dean’s Global Leadership Program, and to apply, click here.

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