BU business school hosts global forum

Dr. Aránzazu Narbona, associate professor at Saint Louis University's campus in Madrid, Spain, speaks at a roundtable called "The View from Southern Europe." Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

By Megan Rule | Staff Writer

This year’s Global Business Forum, a conference held by Baylor University and the McBride Center for International Business, brought the world economy to the Hankamer School of Business by focusing on the future of Europe.

“The overall purpose of this whole series of global business forums is part of the educational mission of the business school,” said Dr. Stephen Gardner, professor of economics and director of the McBride Center for International Business. “Sometimes we organize academic conferences that are just researchers talking to other researchers, but for this, when we contact the speakers, we let them know that a large part of the audience will be Baylor students.”

Throughout the week, various events and speakers were scheduled to educate students about a major global issue: the future of Europe. Gardner said that in looking at major global issues and what’s big in the world right now, Europe was in the forefront. Since World War II, Europe has been moving in one direction, and that is growth, Gardner said. The European Union (EU) has been growing in size and depth, but in the last few years, two major factors have hindered the growth of the EU. Considering the recent economic recession as well as the immigration crisis, a political reaction has been sparked.

“In other years, this has focused on the Middle East, energy and healthcare and a wide range of other topics,” Gardner said. “This year, we’re focusing on Europe because this is a really pivotal time in the history of Europe.”

The week kicked off with a film and discussion on Monday afternoon titled “After Brexit: The Struggle for Europe.” Tuesday night, the keynote dinner was held with a presentation by speaker Michael Frenkel, professor of economics and associate dean for international relations and diversity at the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management in Koblenz, Germany.

Thursday was a full day of action as events took place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The day started with Jorge Zukoski, former senior business development representative for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Corey D. Munn, global business manager in the Advanced Materials Division of 3M, giving a presentation about the view from Eastern Europe.

Andreas Schultz, regional president and CFO of Ottobock North America ,and Andrea Glorioso, counselor for the digital economy for the Delegation of the European Union to the USA, gave a presentation about medical and information technology in Europe.

The keynote luncheon was presented by Nicolas Veron, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The afternoon activites started with a presentation about the European political and social environment by James Hollifield, professor of political science and director of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University, and Mitchell P. Smith, associate dean of academic affairs in the College of International Studies and the Max and Heidi Berry chair and professor in the department of international and area studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The day ended with a presentation about the view from southern Europe by Aranzazu Narbona, associate professor of economics at the Saint Louis University in Madrid, and Michalis Nikiforos, a research scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.

“The Global Business Forum conferences have enabled us to expose our students to the views of experts on important international issues,” Dr. Joseph McKinney, professor of economics and senior research fellow at the McBride Center for International Business, wrote in an email to the Lariat. “Being able to learn first-hand from and interact with these experts helps to broaden the views of our students (and faculty) to a global perspective on many issues. I have considered the time and effort invested in organizing these meetings well-spent.”

The week closes today with a student competition organized by the Global Business Connect group that is a challenge to discuss the future of the EU after Brexit. The competition will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. in Foster 144 and is open to the public.

Gardner said that the student involvement the past week has been very strong, and he has been pleased to see students who want to understand the world engaging in the information being presented.

“What we’ve been telling our students for the past 20 years is you need to prepare yourselves to work in a global setting,” Gardner said. “And I still think that’s true, but it’s a global setting where, in the United States and many European countries, there’s this new attitude towards the rest of the world, and that’s a reality that whether you’re a politician or a business person or a social worker or a psychologist that reaction that people are having to globalization seems to be an important new reality.”