In module two of EMBA S16, we began to explore various leadership styles. One theme which emerged from our discussion is that different leadership styles are effective in different contexts. There is no one size fits all style that would work well in all situations. A leader who excels in turnaround strategies might not be the right person at the helm for a major global expansion. Of course, on the eve of the general elections back home in the U.S., I cannot help but think about how different leadership styles would apply in a broader geopolitical context. As a business person, I was thinking about how the choice that we, the American people, make for our next president will impact both the U.S. and global economy. After decades of globalisation post World War II, what is the context of free trade under either a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump presidency? Will we revert to economic protectionism with Brexit and a Trump administration? If so, how will this new trend impact emerging markets which rely heavily on international trade for economic growth? All these will make for interesting discussion topics in our upcoming economics class.
Taking a respite from the intense class schedule, our cohort celebrated Halloween with a night walking ghost tour around campus. Our classmate who organised the event even dressed up as a Ghostbuster for the occasion. It was wonderful to balance out our right brains after a full day of analytics and fuel our left brains with Oxford’s rich history. For the first stop, our guide took us to the cross on the street outside Balliol College which marked the burning of the bishops in the 1550s. We visited numerous places where sightings have occurred and ended our journey at the supposedly most haunted bar in Oxford.
On another night, we sampled French wine from one of our French classmate’s wife’s family vineyard and California wine flown in from the states by a Californian classmate. We had a wine and cheese party over dinner and enjoyed lively conversations with one another. This is a definitely a perk of having an international cohort.
As with the elections results, I am extremely disappointed that we will not have our first woman president yet even though I woke up early on elections day to vote for Hillary Clinton after flying home. I am confident that we will have the first U.S. woman president one day not too far in the distant future. We must march forward and continue to fight for equality everyday.
As business leaders, we need to focus on our tasks at hand. To maintain growth and operate a successful enterprise, we need to evolve as leaders and adapt our leadership style to changing business goals and market conditions. We must accept that geopolitics and business are forever intertwined. Changes in policies will impact the operating environment both positively and negatively for years to come. Whether we agree with them or not, for now, we must spot the new trends and adapt our business to the new policies that will be coming out of Washington and London.Back to top of article