Fordham’s Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) announced a unique partnership that combines experiential learning and traditional academic rigor on June 7 at the NASDAQ Marketplace.

The unveiling of “World Program,” a partnership between GBA, Clipper Ventures, Talent Q, Ashridge Business School, and Beijing International MBA (BiMBA) at Peking University, was followed by a forum “Business in the New World: The Relevance of Geo Politics.”

“We are taking determined steps to reposition the school for the pressures and needs of the moment and make the school a world business school,” said David Gautschi, Ph.D., dean of the GBA.

“As great as New York City is, and as great an asset as it is to be situated right in the heart of New York City, we have to recognize that the world is unfolding in very exciting, dramatic and even in some cases disturbing ways, and we are obliged to understand the world of business well beyond the comfort that is within the boundaries of New York City.”

Earlier in the day, participants visited the North Cove Marina in Battery Park City to view the preparations for the Clipper Race yachts’ departure for the last leg of its 40,000-mile race around the globe. The year-long circumnavigation, which draws 650 crew members from 41 nations, is meant to impart leadership and teamwork skills for business leaders who have no previous sailing expertise.

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The Clipper fleet passed through New York harbor as part of a trip around the world.
Contributed Photo

Speakers at the forum tackled a wide array of topics connected to geopolitics. Jonathan Story, Ph.D., emeritus professor of International Political Economy at INSEAD, addressed the various political contexts in which business takes place around the globe. He noted that, despite all that is currently happening in Europe now, it is still a better environment to do business than either China or Russia.

Dominique Moisi, senior adviser for the French Institute for International Relations, explained the significance of the recent defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential election in France to the Socialist Party candidate. Moisi cautioned against reading the election as a referendum on Sarkozy’s economic policies of austerity.

Rather, he said the French presidency entails both the concrete role of a prime minister and the ceremonial role that the Queen of England occupies.

“As prime minister, Nicolas Sarkozy did pretty well. But as queen, he did very badly, and the problem is that in France, the president is at the same time the prime minister and the queen,” he said.

“He desacralized the function of the elected monarch that is the president of France.”

Other speakers included Peter Pace, retired Marines General and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; John Tognino, former vice chairman of NASDAQ and chair of the Fordham Board of Trustees, Sir Robin Knox Johnson, chairman of Clipper Ventures, and Jamil Qureshi and Andrew Greening from Clipper Greening Ventures.

General Pace explored the myriad challenges that cyber crime poses to businesses. In five to ten years, he predicted, small groups of individuals will have the computing capacity to inflict serious damage.

“When I talk to C.E.O.’s, I say, call your C.I.O., and ask him or her, ‘Has your database ever been penetrated?’ If they tell you no, get a new C.I.O, because you have been penetrated.”

Tognino noted that the most important asset any business has its reputation. As a young trader at Merrill Lynch on November 22, 1963, Tognino and colleagues said they immediately put in orders to sell when they found out that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. As a result, they made a windfall in the short period before the markets were shut down at 2 p.m.

This did not sit well with their supervisor, who demanded that they call back all the clients they sold to and cancel the trades. It was a lesson he said he has always taken to heart.

“There is no price on reputation,” he said. “We’re in a global marketplace. You can’t hide. What you do tomorrow in Shanghai, we’ll know immediately in New York, and based on that alone, you’ve got to protect each one of your reputations.”