MBA@UNC Global Immersion: London - Day Two

MBA@UNC Global Immersions are offered four times a year as unique opportunities for students to travel to major international business destinations with their fellow classmates, participate in engaging discussions with their professors and elite industry leaders, as well as apply what they have learned to real-life problems they now have the knowledge to effectively overcome. At the London immersion, MBA@UNC students participated in one of two tracks: Globalization Strategy or Consulting. On Day Two, while students on the Consulting track were hard at work on their cases ahead of the Sunday presentations, students in the Globalization Strategy track learned more about global organizations and global marketing. A central thread that ran through each speaker’s presentation on Day Two was the critical need to closely understand local cultures when expanding business across borders.


Session One: Managing Matrix: Navigating Through an International Workforce

Leading the first session was Professor Dave Roberts, who joined UNC Kenan-Flagler after having spent more than 25 years helping organizations improve performance in sales, sales consulting and sales management. He has worked with leading organizations across Europe, Asia and North America, including Avaya, EDS, IBM, Microsoft, Nortel, Sun Microsystems and United Health Group.

In his engaging morning session, Roberts discussed several issues pertaining to the global workplace:

  • Managing growth in new markets and the specific challenges organizations may confront when considering international expansion
  • Understanding misconceptions regarding persuasion
    • Today, research shows that optimism, knowledge, ability to execute and intent are the keys to successful persuasion.
  • Effective communication across different functional areas
  • Critical competencies required today for success in the global marketplace
  • Considering one’s cultural self and one’s place in a global work environment


Session Two: The Global Marketing Challenge

Dr. Sridhar Balasubramanian took over for session two. Well-known throughout UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School as Dr. B, he's the associate dean of both the full-time MBA program and MBA@UNC. Dr. B is also a marketing professor whose teaching and research interests include marketing strategy and technology strategy. Dr. B has been named “one of the Top 50 Business Professors in the World” and has won many prestigious awards at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

In his talk on global marketing, Dr. B built further on the morning session by discussing:

  • Effects and importance of pricing on usage in less developed countries
  • Cross-border brand positioning
  • Accommodating cultural differences
  • Challenges that exist across countries, whether well developed or less developed


Session Three: Developing a Global Marketing Organization

For session three, David McSpadden spoke in-depth about how to develop a global marketing organization. He's senior vice president of global marketing at Franklin Templeton Investments and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. McSpadden currently lives in London with his family while on assignment, and leads global marketing communication. He also leads local marketing efforts across 35 countries.

McSpadden’s presentation focused on the challenges and opportunities of global marketing strategy when operating across multiple autonomous offices. He discussed how he was able to help align teams and create collaboration amongst the geographically distinct offices. Central to this, as students have heard in presentations throughout the weekend, is creating global strategy while delivering on a local level.


Session Four: Global Consumer Insights

Consumer Insights Director at General Mills, Simon Pollock conducted the final session of the day. He has spent 20 years in international marketing and insight. Pollock leads the Consumer Insights function in Europe and Australia, where he has worked on many local, regional and global initiatives across many categories.

Pollock continued to build on one of the day’s key themes: cultural awareness. He discussed how to identify both cultural similarities and differences across borders when developing and marketing products. Pollock’s presentation also covered the importance of getting as close to the consumer as possible in order to create great products, find opportunities to transfer products to new markets or to customize existing products for additional markets.  

Following a final Day Two wrap-up from Dr. B, all students departed for a private evening event at the Tower of London.


Consulting Track

Meanwhile, during the vast majority of Day Two, students in the Consulting track have been hard at work preparing presentations for Sunday, when the case competition will be held. Stay tuned for more on Day Three.


Tower of London

At the Tower of London, our students were treated to a private viewing of the Crown Jewels, a history of the Tower from the Yeoman Warders and a fantastic dinner to wrap up the evening.

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