Global negotiations in the classroom

Global Network Week offers students a valuable opportunity to work with fellow peers from around the world. But what happens when you put them head-to-head, with each side confronting an organizational issue from a different angle?

The answer, according to Greg Hanifee, associate dean of the Kellogg Executive MBA Global Network, is the perfect cross-cultural experience — one that questions your methods and perspective while strengthening your skills for future on-the-job challenges.

“As a global leader, you need to be equipped with the specific skills to not only steer your organization toward a resolution, but to also do so in a culturally-sensitive and globally-minded way,” Hanifee explained.

The Negotiations course strengthens students’ cross-cultural skills while honing tactics with round after round of negotiations.

During the third week of August, Professor Victoria Medvec led sessions focused on negotiation strategies and how to apply them:

  • to your organization
  • to a merger or acquisition and finally
  • to your own career

Students learned how to approach their negotiation, frame a clear and persuasive offer, create multiple options and build and strengthen relationships through the negotiations process. Over the course of several classes, students tackled a variety of real case studies on different topics. Study groups comprised of students from across the Global Network, including peers from the Evanston, Miami, Hong Kong, Toronto, Beijing, Tel Aviv and Germany campuses.

“Because we’ve formed strong bonds with our cohort, negotiating with our classmates would be too easy,” Aatish Madhiwala EMP 100 said.

In one break out session, students passionately argued over sensitive issues like time off and company-wide employment tactics. However, it was further complicated by the global makeup of the classroom — often, members of the same team approached the negotiating table and placed value quite differently.

Students take negotiations with their team to the hallways to strategize.

“Our communication styles are different,” Lane Major EMP 101 said. “For example, the Israeli students have a different culture, and they’ve acknowledged that they are more direct and are willing to negotiate everything. On the other hand, the students from China have a less direct style.”

“Through Global Network Week, I’m not only learning a lot — I’m realizing how much more I need to know,” Karen Novick EMP 102 said. “Getting firsthand exposure to a different culture is crucial.”

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