Chinese Business Leaders Visit NWC
Forty Chinese business leaders enrolled in Babson College’s Executive Education (China) Program visited the U.S. Naval War College (NWC), July 26, to learn about military perspectives of leadership and innovation and discuss how to apply that knowledge to their own businesses.
NWC’s academic relationship with the nearby Massachusetts’ business school made the international outreach opportunity possible. The students toured the campus and listened intently to NWC faculty presentations in leadership and innovation, warfare analysis and research, operational and strategic leadership, national security affairs, and strategy and policy.
“The Naval War College demonstrates how the military develops through transformation, innovation and leadership in times of uncertainty. There are a lot of skills that national security professionals and business professionals have in common in rapidly evolving environments,” explained professor Peter Dutton, NWC’s director, China Maritime Studies Institute.
According to John Chen, Babson College’s vice president, Asia Pacific Babson Global, these students will one day transition to higher executive levels in their respective industries.
“The Babson Executive Education Program helps to train professionals in entrepreneurial education and helps people transition from functional managers to general managers,” said Chen. “For these students who are transforming in their careers to executive positions within their companies, coming to the Naval War College allows them to observe leadership lessons from the military, which trains officers to manage people as they manage the unpredictable.”
Elaine Eisenman, dean of Babson College’s Executive Education, said the NWC visit provides students a unique perspective as military leaders often times make tough decisions that also occur in the business world.
“These executives will make decisions when they have limited knowledge to forecast what would occur,” said Eisenman. “Coming here to NWC, to discuss making such forecasts from the military perspective, was a logical place. There are common characteristics shared by military officers and entrepreneurs, including the concepts of making decisions by taking risks and having a common strategy in execution.”
Students found the NWC visit valuable to their view of international business, especially since the majority of Chinese produced goods travel overseas on ships to America.
“In the future, uncertainty in business will increase. One may not know the advantages or disadvantages or even the languages spoken of the competing business,” said Xuchang Guo, chairman of a mining company. “Like the military, entrepreneurs are making decisions in uncertain environments, and I was interested to see how military leaders make the correct decisions when faced with these challenges.”
Jingsong (Jason) Chen, founder and chief executive officer, World Union Properties, saw similarities between business and the military.
“Commerce and business are like war,” said Chen. “I can easily see the connection between business and the military especially with regard to honor and teamwork. I work in a real estate company and we are human resource-based and learning how to establish the efficiency of teamwork. Honor for the team is critical.”
With two NWC missions being education and development of leaders and strengthening global maritime partnerships, academic support with other colleges like nearby Babson College is valuable.
“International friendship and cooperation have long been critical components to successfully meeting the charge,” said Dutton.
Naval Today Staff, July 30, 2012; Image: US Navy