'Business Beyond Borders'
Symposium features growing international trade
Published: Monday, April 4, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
John C. Welch, an expert in international banking with J.P. Morgan Chase, advised his uncle, a CEO, that he ought to think internationally for his company to grow bigger. Welch said his uncle followed his advice and two years later, revenue of his company jumped from $8 million to $80 million.
This is just one story from several told Friday, by the speakers at the 2005 International Business Symposium of the Mays School: Business Beyond Borders, regarding the magnitude of ongoing international trade.
The symposium featured a variety of business figures, including executives in the oil and mining industry and chemical production, bankers, organization resources counselor and human resource directors.
Kerry Cooper, executive director of the International Business Center of the Mays School, said the purpose of the symposium is for undergraduate students in business to realize how important international trade is today and to help them begin to prepare for their future practice in this field.
"(To be prepared), the students need to know technical knowledge - international finance, international market and international management. And another part that is just as important is the ability to communicate in different cultures - cross-culture communication skills," Cooper said.
University President Robert M. Gates, keynote speaker of the symposium, said that to learn how to communicate with different cultures is to reach out to the international students on campus representing 120 countries.
"There are some things you can do today, almost immediately, to get yourself started ... making friends with an international student in one of your classes, becoming study partners, eating lunch together ... getting involved in any of the dozens of activities held on campus that celebrate diversity of cultures, such as I-week in the spring, joining Aggies for global interaction. And as president of the University, I want you to know that I know you know it," Gates said.
Welch said that for students at the Mays School, international business is outside the back door, as Houston ranks high in a number of indexes pertaining to international trade.
Welch said that Houston has over 800 multinational companies, 82 counselors offices, right after New York and Chicago, and 19 foreign banks. Fifty-two percent of companies in Houston are foreign companies and more than 4,400 Houston companies trade goods and services with countries in Asia, as well as the Pacific brim. Air cargo trade between Europe and Houston has gone up a rate of 15 to 20 percent a year, equaling over $3 billion.
"If you pursue the course and finally end up in the business field, almost all of you will find you are either directly or indirectly involved in (business) activities outside our borders," said Robert Allen, managing partner of Challenge Investment Partners and a member of Texas A&M Board of Regents from 1995 to 2001.
Cooper said the Center for International Business Studies offers many study abroad opportunities, as well as certificates tailored to specific fields, such as a certificate of international business or certificate of European business, and the number of students participating in the programs has been growing.
"I think the speakers provided insight and first-hand experience on what they have gone through which is very useful," said Charles Gerke, a freshman business major and one of more than 400 student attendants of the symposium.