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Learning to Succeed in Business as the World Gets Smaller

February 09, 2012
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Bill Fisse (BBA ’75, MBA ’77), senior human resources officer at Citi Global Transaction Services, helped lead a discussion on growing career opportunities in Asia.

What does it take to be successful in business on the other side of the world?  The School of Business had the chance to find out in a panel discussion and networking forum in January. The forum, Focus on Asia: Building a Career and Doing Business in a Global Environment, was hosted by Citi Global Transaction Services in partnership with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. Students listened to keynote speakers Michael Werner, accounting lecturer; Yongtao Guan, management science professor; and Bill Fisse (BBA ’75, MBA ’77), senior human resources officer at Citi Global Transaction Services, as they discussed the growing career opportunities in the region.

The forum also gave students the chance to familiarize themselves with practical skills they will need, should their careers take them to Asia. Guan engaged students in a lively discussion about the cultural differences between American and Asian dining scenarios. He explained best practices for Asian business dinners, where it is polite, for example, for guests to leave food on their plates as a sign their host had ordered enough food.

“You need to be adaptive and open-minded,” said Guan about networking and assimilating into Asian culture. “The idea is to build a relationship based on trust.”

Panel participants Tonette Palencia, vice president of Citi Global Transaction Services’ public sector; Amit Talati, senior vice president of Citi Information Technology; and Fion Basch, a Citi analyst, were also on hand to tell students about career experiences that have taken them across the globe.

“The more people you meet, the more you realize you’re the same,” said Talati, who currently works in Citi’s Ft. Lauderdale office and has worked in its Australian, United Kingdom and Latin American offices.

According to Fisse, platforms to create awareness of different cultures and opportunities for students abroad are essential. “The world is increasingly becoming a smaller place,” he told students. “Globalization is real, it’s happening, and you need to take advantage of it.”

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