Setting the Stage for Students to Understand Business in the Global Political Economy
On November 18 at the LSE, over 40 students, alumni and friends of TRIUM came to hear Dr. Robert Falkner speak on “Economic Globalization and Authoritarian Capitalism: Friends or Foes?” The lecture offered the audience a preview to the coursework that TRIUM students attend during their Module 1 studies at the LSE.
On a recent afternoon, Dr. Falkner further shared his views on how LSE sets the stage for TRIUM students to better understand business in the global political economy. Highlights from this afternoon conversation are listed below.
“Why do business leaders need to be concerned about long-term political-economic changes at the global level?”
During a coffee break in London recently, Professor Robert Falkner passionately conveyed the urgent relevance of studying the drivers of global change as part of an Executive MBA: “Climate change, for example,” he stated “has been a part of the TRIUM curriculum for many years now. It is one of the core systemic risks that globalization is producing. Although seemingly long-term and slow-moving, global warming is already having a profound and increasingly disruptive impact on business operations and strategies around the world. TRIUM students study climate disruption just as they consider the implications of the global financial crisis and gridlock in the multilateral trade system.”
As the LSE’s Academic Director for TRIUM, the Munich- and Oxford-educated Professor Falkner has the challenging yet exciting task of developing the Module 1 curriculum of TRIUM. As one of the leading social science universities, LSE has a world-class faculty at the forefront of investigating the changing face of globalization. As such, Falkner is in a unique position to design a program that brings a diversity of social science perspectives to the TRIUM classroom. “At LSE, we have leading experts from International Relations, Economics, Government, Development Studies and Management,” he stated. Moreover, he added,by starting their TRIUM studies at LSE, “students have to step back from their day to day business concerns and reflect on the broader geo-political and economic trends that will shape global markets in the future.”
For this reason, says Falkner, Module 1 at LSE sets the stage for the rest of the students’ learning experience: “We give students the analytical tools to make sense of global power shifts that are remaking the international order. We enable them to examine the international rule-book that governs trade and financial flows, and we identify the business risks that result from global political and social turmoil.”
In addition to designing the Module 1 program of TRIUM, Falkner also teaches the introductory course on ‘The Political Economy of Globalization.’ In his experience, there is no ‘typical’ TRIUM student. He does believe they do share certain characteristics as “successful senior executives with a global perspective who are dynamic and willing to transform themselves to reach the next stage of their careers”. But beyond that, Falkner finds them quite diverse, with a rich andvaried background, ranging from traditional senior-level executives to business leaders with an entrepreneurial streak. Falkner finds teaching in TRIUM exciting, as the highly engaged cohort is “constantly probing and challenging the ideas and concepts they encounter.”
Both in his new book, ‘The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy’ and in his class on globalization, Falkner clearly illustrates to his students why seemingly remote global trends such as climate change matter to business leaders. But teaching global political economy for TRIUM is not a one-way street: “Much of what happens in the classroom is determined by the student cohort and the experience they bring to sessions,” says Falkner. “The true relevance of climate change as a global challenge and opportunity is reinforced by the engaging class-room interactions and the business scenarios that our TRIUM students inject into the debate.”