By Tim Pate
Nothing is isolated any more. Last semester I took my business minor capstone class, Contemporary Business Topics – International Business, taught by Asad Aziz, a lecturer in the Department of Management. At the beginning of each class session, Aziz started by running through a list of what he considered to be the 10 most important news items of the day. Often these headlines didn’t appear to have any connection to the business world, but Aziz asked us why they might be important for a business person to know. What Aziz taught me was that being aware of news from around the world is essential making informed decisions, and I’d like to expand on that idea in this post.
The world is growing ever more connected, and what happens across the globe has increasing potential to affect you at home. As U.S. businesses develop in markets outside of the States, they must diligently pay attention to world events. However, the ripple created by these events extends beyond international businesses. A technology invented in India could change your daily routine. The United States’ relationship with a European nation could impact how you vote. The political climate of a country you’ve never visited could change your investment decisions.
You know that T.Rowe Price commercial that says, “…we understand the connections of a complex, global economy”? Well, it’s important that you do, too. Maybe you don’t need to have the same depth of knowledge as an investing firm, but at least being aware of what’s happening in the world is sure to serve you in your decision-making process.
The best part is that this information is readily available to you. The news doesn’t only come to you in the morning in the form of a paper on your doorstep – it’s everywhere. This also means that it doesn’t take extraordinary effort on your part to gather the information. Follow a few news sources on social media, read blogs, tune into news channel every now and then – these are all easy ways to gain this critical information, even if only by osmosis.
It’s important to follow news that goes beyond your field of interest, as I discussed in regard to Aziz’s class. Certainly stay up-to-date with trends in your industry, but also make sure that you know about the big happenings that could potentially affect your business in an indirect or unexpected way. News aggregating sources such as Feedly, Pulse, and Flipboard make browsing all kinds of news easy, and I highly recommend utilizing these resources.
As business students and professionals, being informed is paramount. What sets many business leaders apart from the crowd is that they can see the relationship between seemingly disconnected events and apply that knowledge to the decisions they make. If you make a habit of building your database of knowledge, you’ll just be one step closer to achieving that success.
Business students and alumni: What do you do to stay informed? How has it helped in your business or personal decision-making process? Share your thoughts in the comments below.