#GNW2015: Businesses Can No Longer Operate in a Vacuum

March 6, 2015

The conclusion of UCT-GSBs’ first Global Network Week, on emerging markets.

The “Economics of Emerging Markets” course held at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business is almost over. The week started by laying the groundwork: the social and political contexts of South Africa in relation to the continent. Students visited some of the poorest areas in the townships to look at social innovation, and then came back to the classroom to learn more about how companies operate in an emerging economy.

“There is a tie to the land. There is a tie to history here,” John Luiz, a professor of international business strategy who led the course, said Friday. “The days of business operating in a social and political vacuum are over. It’s no longer possible to operate this way in emerging markets. You have to find ways of engaging and being embedded.”

Claire Vivier, from Sauder School of Business in Canada, said that the mix of classroom learning with practical field trips made the course memorable. Vivier, who is currently enrolled in the Global Network course “Natural Capital: Risks and Opportunities in Global Resource Systems,” said that that course added an additional element to the Global Network Week.

“It will stick. I’ve see the theory in practice and it’s given me ideas that I want to share in my MBA cohort back at UBC,” Vivier said. “It’s given me ideas for what I want to do with my own business. The mix of students has been an equally big takeaway.”

Matthew O’Rourke is blogging this week from the University of Cape Town’s Global Network Week module on emerging markets.