Indiana businesses continue to grow into international markets at a brisk rate, requiring Hoosier companies and universities to focus on developing talent with a global skillset, a panel of experts recently said.
The Kelley School of Business Indianapolis formed the panel to discuss the need to build global talent in Indiana. The business school focuses heavily on an international curriculum and continues to offer annual consulting or study tours to various global destinations.
“If I want to get to the pinnacle of my career, can I get there by being blind to the fact that things are happening outside my world?” asked Rajan Gajaria, the U.S. marketing director for Dow AgroSciences.
Gajaria was one of the four panelists chosen because of their extensive international experience. Joining him were Stephen Fry, senior vice president of human resources at Eli Lilly and Co.; Matthew Hursh, market manager at the Asia Pacific branch of Cook Medical; and Nate Feltman, president of Home Health Depot Inc.
“We like to look at our talent pipeline like our research pipeline,” Fry said as he discussed his role in finding diverse talent for Eli Lilly’s international operations. “If we’re going to be successful in the international space, we have to be involved in creating that same type of diversity in the workplace.”
Lilly operates in more than 20 countries and that number continues to grow. Fry provided context for that growth rate by describing how the company now can launch products “not simultaneously with the U.S. launch, but within the next 12 months of introducing a product to the western world.”
Emerging markets like China continue to grow nearly 10 times quicker than the U.S. economy. For the past 13 years, the Kelley School has taken a group of students to consult with Chinese companies. More recently, study tours have taken Evening MBA students to locations like Brazil and Russia, also markets with an impressive growth trend.
Gajaria, who emigrated from India nearly 12 years ago to work with Dow AgroSciences, said “Hoosier Hospitality” provides Indiana the perfect culture to welcome international investment.
The understanding of global business issues is “not just a nice thing to have, it’s a necessary thing to have,” he said.
The event also served to honor Kelley Prof. Marjorie Lyles, professor of international strategic management for more than 25 years with Kelley Indianapolis. She was presented the IU John W. Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Programs and Studies.
Hursh is one of the many MBA students who have gone to China with Lyles over the years. He described his work consulting with a Chinese telecom company as a “life-changing experience.”
The May 2009 graduate said his China experience directly contributed to his position with Cook Medical, in which he directs business in China, Korea, Japan and Australia.
Lyles has has taught and conducted research in many international destinations, including China, Thailand and Malaysia. She has consulted with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as with many Indiana companies looking for business opportunities outside the United States. Her research is also well known globally and in 2006 she received the Decade Award from the Journal of International Business.
Lyles is the first Kelley Indianapolis faculty member to win the award.
For more insight into Lyles’ approach to helping students absorb the international experience, view the video below.