The NYU Stern Executive MBA program’s curriculum is designed with a strong global focus. Stern is committed to helping students develop not only a deeper set of professional skills, but also a broader perspective of the role of business in the world. a) What is a pressing contemporary issue on which you would like to have an impact? b) Why is it important to you? c) How could you, as a business leader, leverage your skills and resources to address the issue?
Several new global trends are particularly shaping business today.
No one economy is isolated; US markets are dependent on European and Asian markets and vice versa. Greek debt has an impact on US banks, which in turn not only impact the Greek but also the global economy. The labor force is dealing with multi-cultural issues like serving customers online via phone or Internet from another country. Amidst these trends one of great interest to me is the increasing prominence of developing markets.
The influence of developing markets on the global economy is rapidly increasing. Once attractive for cheap labor and low cost manufacturing, emerging markets are now seen as promising with rapid population increases, growing middle classes, talented people and sustainable economies. As emerging markets continue to grow, so will their companies. We now see a lot of multi-national companies setting up offices and operations in emerging markets to take advantage of the growth; for example, most of the financial services firms like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs have operations in India and Philippines.
.The growth of local companies in the emerging markets will have an impact on the multi-national firms and ultimately the global economy. The untapped strong pool of talent in the emerging markets is clearly an opportunity for global businesses. I would like to tap into this talented pool of people to help MassMutual become a global leader in the life insurance industry.
Two months ago I was in Mumbai for a few days on a business trip. On the first evening, I stepped out of my hotel and took a cab to go to a restaurant for dinner. I was carrying a large bag with me as I planned to go shopping afterward. I asked the cab driver to put my bag in the trunk. He opened the front passenger door and placed my bag on the seat. I asked him why he didn’t place it in the trunk. He said he had a large propane tank in the trunk and that he modified the design of the car so that the engine runs on propane gas. I was amazed that a cab driver could re-engineer the car to make it more environmentally friendly and less expensive to operate. He then showed me the design and how he modified the car. I asked him if he had any advanced technical or engineering degrees; he answered no.
He used to work in a garage along with his father where he picked up the design, and using his innovative ideas was able to successfully alter the design. I was now in deep thoughts; a cab driver in Mumbai who could alter the design of a vehicle – imagine what he could do with a formal education in automotive engineering. There are talented people in emerging markets who lack opportunity. I always imagine, what if we can tap into such talent, provide them with some education and leverage them for growing our business?
We at MassMutual are constantly looking for ways to gain competitive advantage. I would like to explore the opportunities to tap into this strong resource pool, provide some formal training and help drive innovation which is lacking in the life insurance industry. An innovative way of selling life insurance which establishes a new sales and distribution channel, leverages technology as a key enabler and reaches a global consumer base will be a game changer.
I believe that a company’s greatest asset is its intellectual property. Companies that effectively tap into this talent pool in emerging markets and leverage their core strengths to the fullest will not just be successful but will be able to sustain change in market dynamics and other disruptions. I would like to seize this opportunity to help MassMutual become a global leader in the Life Insurance business.