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Global Culture and Business Etiquette Takeaway

10 Apr

This semester, one of my final classes that I was required to complete was Business Development, taught by Philip Ho. Throughout the course of this semester, I have learned a lot about the strategies and skills needed to become a key account manager by attending this class. Out of all of the reports and exercises assigned throughout the semester, the one that resonated with me the most was the Global Culture and Business Etiquette exercise. Four different groups in the class were asked to choose which country they wanted to research and represent. Seeing as I have attended a real business meeting in Milan, Italy, my group found it fitting to act as Italians.

The exercise required a presentation about the business etiquette of our chosen country, a report on our major findings, and a role play of a business meeting with another group representing a different country. Researching Italian business etiquette gave me a further understanding of the Italian way of life, and clarified a few of the things I noticed while I was in Italy. Watching all of the presentations consecutively gave the class an opportunity to compare four different cultures, which all had many similarities. The presentations also allowed the class to improve their oral skills, and educate the class on their chosen country.

The role play occurred directly after all business etiquette presentations, and our group, Italy, was paired with another group representing India. The role play was meant to take place after the supplier (India) showed the buyer (Italy) around their warehouse and production facility. The skit implied that this was our first business meeting, and we were interested in purchasing blouses from India. My group, as Italians, stayed very off-topic, referring to sports such as Cricket and Football, and asking the other party about their interests, family, and history of the company. We achieved our objectives of the business meeting, which were very clear – we were not to come to any decisions until we returned back to Italy, where our key decision maker would analyze all other options and alternatives.

This role play allowed me to experience a mock international business meeting, and relayed the fact that Italians rarely discuss business during the first few meetings with a potential client. This assignment also gave me a chance to develop an understanding of global influences and their impact on social and business interactions. By completing this exercise, I have a better understanding of the Italian way of thinking, and I am better prepared to deal with international countries in the future. Overall, the main message behind this assignment was that there is never one right way of doing things – every culture and every person has their own way of thinking and their own way of doing business.

See you at graduation!

Linnea