The onset of the digital age and the move toward globalisation has ushered in a new standard for business networking that goes beyond making connections in your backyard. Leadership skills and international relationships are now critical in a business setting.
The globalisation of business networking is “the process by which businesses or other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.” Global networking skills help professionals establish the necessary social networks and business connections to drive such growth.
Online business programmes like an online MBA transfer global networking skills to students and prepare graduates for an increasingly connected global community. Discover what classifies global networking, the value of networking for business students, future trends to look out for in the business networking landscape and how you can prepare for a career in business by creating social capital.
What Is Global Networking?
What do you think of when you hear networking for business students? Professional networking is about making contacts and building relationships that can lead to jobs or other work-related opportunities. This form of professional networking has traditionally taken place in an informal social setting among business professionals, such as a coffee meetup, industry event or conference.
Networking helps business professionals increase their awareness of industry trends and open doors for job opportunities. It also helps business owners establish partnerships or mutually beneficial connections that could lead to business opportunities in the future.
However, the way business students and seasoned professionals connect is changing rapidly in relation to technological disruptions, global conditions and economic forces.
How Technology Is Changing Global Networking
Technology is now changing the way we connect in all areas. This became evident when Facebook was founded in 2004. Facebook became the largest social network in the world, with more than one billion users as of 2012. Other players entered the game to provide business professionals with tools for online networking, such as LinkedIn.
LinkedIn redefined business networking in a virtual setting by allowing users to create a profile that resembles a resume, summarize their career and advertise their skills. LinkedIn allows professionals to make connections, message other professionals and seek career opportunities directly on the platform. LinkedIn started to take off in 2007 and accrued more than 15 million members. By 2011, this platform had more than 100 million members worldwide.
Such online platforms display the value of building business relationships online and open doors for increased global networking—the process of exchanging ideas and connecting with an international community.
However, these platforms are only the beginning of what is possible when business professionals integrate progressive technology and communication skills to build social capital.
In a business context, social capital is “the contribution to an organisation's success that can be attributed to personal relationships and networks, both within the organisation and outside of it.” This means that social capital is the product of successful networking.
Global networking is capable of producing immense value for business leaders long-term and online MBA programmes are teaching students how to accomplish this effectively.
The Value of Global Networking Skills From an Online MBA
Global networking offers business professionals more connections than ever before. In the past, professionals used to rely on word of mouth or proximity to dictate the growth of their business partnerships. Online MBA programmes give professionals access to global networking skills that cultivate connections in different countries and offer the following benefits.
1.Increase in Employment Opportunities
Global networking helps professionals lead a successful job search and advance their careers. Professionals interested in working abroad can use online networking skills to connect with organisations in their field and country of interest.
Global networking is also beneficial for freelance or contract professionals looking to build an international clientele, entrepreneurs interested in connecting with other professionals in their industry and recent online MBA graduates comparing job opportunities across various international markets.
Bianca Miller Cole, a professional in entrepreneurialism and a contributor at Forbes, said, “When networks have been created, it fosters a trade of ideas to sustain long-term relationships and mutual trust. When you are receiving ideas, it helps both in your place of work and out, in addition to instilling best practices that soothe your career.”
Online MBA programmes are giving business students a head start when it comes to creating and sustaining these long-term relationships. Trusted schools offer students a pre-established network of professionals in their field and access to events (online and face-to-face) that create a foundation for a thriving business network.
2.Access to International Business Talent
Just as working professionals use their networks to find lucrative job opportunities, businesses and organisations also engage in global networking to find the best talent.
A recent study shows that around 1.7 million people in the UK mainly work from home and 8.7 million people said that they have worked from home at some point. Businesses are meeting this demand and interested in hiring remote workers. The CEO of Hubstaff Dave NevGot says, “Businesses are continuing to embrace at least some form of remote work, likely because they’ve experienced the benefits of greater productivity, less wasted time, and lower overhead firsthand.”
If a business is able and willing to recruit remote employees, their office expands from the boundaries of their direct geography to the entire global population. This means that businesses can use global networking to recruit international talent and host a flexible, international and online office environment.
Additionally, there are numerous students completing their education online, from undergraduate programmes to online MBAs. Employers recognise that modern students are comfortable working online and capable of entering a virtual workplace after their graduation.
3. Diversify Perspective and Generate New Ideas
Cultural diversity in the workplace is a win-win for the business and the team. Nearly 95% of directors agree that diversity brings unique perspectives to the boardroom, while 84% believe it enhances board performance, according to Forbes.
A diversified team is capable of providing unique outlooks on business issues and offering up numerous creative solutions to problems. Janine Schindler, a leadership coach and contributor at Forbes, said,
“Diverse employees can bring together their different talents, experiences and various skill sets to come up with creative and inventive solutions, whereas another group made up of people with similar backgrounds and skill sets may decide to solve a dilemma in the same way they always have.”
Business leaders can use global networking to recruit international talent and implement a cultural diversity plan that promotes inclusivity and trains employees on teamwork, communication and problem-solving. Global networking facilitates the move toward a more highly connected global community that births new ideas and heightened collaboration at work.
4. Ability to Engage With Customers Worldwide
Professional networking is not reserved for employers and employees. Companies and professionals can also use global networking to connect with their audience, customers and potential clients.
Successful brands are capable of connecting with their customers effectively. According to John Rampton, the author of 8 Ways to Engage Better With Your Customers: “One of the most effective ways in building emotional connections with customers is to prove that they are dealing with an actual person and not just a nameless, faceless corporation.”
Rampton suggests that companies can reach out to their customers individually with an email or direct message and build an online community that turns customers into brand ambassadors. Global networking skills provided by an online MBA offer professionals the necessary communication tools and networks to start building this online community of customers and pitch potential clients.
5. Accelerated Business Growth and Economic Value
Global networking has immense economic value because it enables international exchange. International trade allows countries to expand their markets to include goods and services from other countries that would not be otherwise available domestically.
According to Investopedia, “International trade not only results in increased efficiency but also allows countries to participate in a global economy, encouraging the opportunity for foreign direct investment (FDI), which is the amount of money that individuals invest in foreign companies and assets.”
How do entrepreneurs and business professionals come into play? Business leaders should be educated on the intricacies of international trade agreements, supply and demand chains and foreign policies in order to expand their business internationally and capitalise on these opportunities. An online MBA teaches students how to navigate the international business landscape so they can build relationships and accelerate business growth.
Top 4 Trends in Global Networking That Online MBA Graduates Should Watch
New trends in global networking are emerging every day. Graduates from an online MBA can use networking for business students to remain agile and prepare for the following four movements in global networking. Leaders are constantly adapting to unexpected changes in the business environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic is one example of an abrupt disruption of business as usual. With the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), virtual reality (VR) and other destabilising technologies, business leaders should remain aware of incoming trends and prepare for global change.
1.A Move Toward Remote Work in the UK
A recent study shows that nearly a quarter of Britain's workforce now work flexibly—meaning they alternate between working in the office and from home. A common concern shared among many business owners and managers is that remote workers are less productive when working from home.
A technology company called Prodoscore recently conducted a study that tracked the activity of remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that employees showed a 47% increase in productivity. The survey used more than 100 million data points across 30,000 users and found the following trends:
- Phone calls increased by 230%
- CRM activity increased by 176%
- Email activity increased by 57%
- The average worker started their day at 8:32 a.m. and ended their day at 5:38 p.m.
After the global pandemic forced non-essential workplaces to move their employees online worldwide, more organisations and business leaders have experience managing a remote workplace.
It’s possible that with the reports of increased productivity, a reduction in overhead costs (such as office space, electricity bills and other material expenses) and the onset of helpful online technologies, more businesses in the UK will transition into remote work.
Organisations that operate online are capable of using global networking to hire professionals from across the world. This means that business teams could become increasingly diverse and internationally distributed.
2.The Rise of the Super Connector
A Super Connector is “a person who maintains contact with thousands of people in many different worlds and knows them well enough to give them a call.” Some Super Connectors actually make a living helping other professionals build social capital and unlock professional networking opportunities.
David Kleinandler, a member of Forbes Financial Council, outlined seven simple steps that help business professionals become Super Connectors themselves:
- Introduce your connections to one another
- Start introductions with an idea, such as a business opportunity or solution to a problem
- Host events with interesting people you know
- Follow up with connections you meet
- Reach out and reconnect with old contacts
- Attend events you’re invited to
- Create something of value and share it with others
The value of the Super Connector is on the rise because business professionals understand that well-connected individuals provide value to companies and their people. Online MBA graduates can use their highly developed network of alumni, teachers and advanced communication skills to become Super Connectors.
3. The Future of Unconventional Networking Apps
As businesses and professionals shift from in-person meetings to a digitalscape, how will social networking and professional networking platforms change? There are apps designed specifically for professional networking and career advancement opportunities, however, job seekers are starting to turn to other social-networking apps to expand their networks.
Chris Porteous, a High Performance Growth Marketer and contributor at Forbes, believes that some professional networking apps have become overly saturated and have driven business professionals to other unconventional network opportunities—from online hobby groups to dating apps.
Porteous acknowledged this shift when he said, “We should always keep our eyes peeled for new opportunities to expand our network of contacts, whether through a business networking app or by less conventional means.”
Online MBA graduates learn how to be resourceful and creative when it comes to making international business relations. The future of professional networking continues to mature and online MBA graduates are agile enough to match this high-speed growth.
4. Businesses and Online MBA Graduates Strive for Global Impact
It’s no longer good enough for businesses to solely focus on revenue growth—a new paradigm for business is here and it’s a move toward “social enterprises.”
According to Josh Bersin at Forbes, “Being a ‘social enterprise’ means going beyond a focus on revenue and profit and clearly understanding that we operate in an ecosystem, and all these relationships are equally important.”
This is an important movement in the business community because it has partially bloomed out of the greater realisation that we are a global community and we all must do our part to enhance the well-being of everyone, regardless of national boundaries or borders.
Online MBA graduates are familiar with this focus on community impact. Modern business programmes teach students about business ethics, the role businesses play in their community and how to use social influence to make positive global impacts.
This is because online MBA programmes are on the frontlines, producing change-makers that have the passion and skills to yield global impact in the workplace.
How Online MBA Graduates Redefine the Future of Social Capital
Online MBA graduates are changing how professionals think about networking for business students. Students taking an online MBA have to learn how to make meaningful professional connections online. These students are also accustomed to interacting with their peers online, navigating the virtual classroom and collaborating on group projects in an online environment. As a result, online MBA graduates are uniquely prepared to engage in global networking and produce valuable social capital.
What makes social capital so valuable? Social capital offers numerous benefits that make it valuable for business professionals, including the following:
- Social networks have become a primary source of social capital for entrepreneurs selling their products and services online
- Web services like Airbnb or Uber use social capital in the form of reviews to validate their services
- Influencer marketing allows people to use their social capital to make money through personal sponsorships
It is estimated that up to 85% of jobs are filled through informal networking—a result of social capital.
How Getting an Online MBA in the UK Promotes Global Networking
Online business programmes like an online MBA allow graduates to enter the international business community with an established network. The Aston online MBA is a global business programme for ambitious, working professionals that want to grow their careers and their companies.
Graduates from Aston University join a global alumni network of more than 90,000 professions and foster connections with peers, instructors and potential future employers that encourage professional development.
Students undertaking an online MBA with Aston are also granted free membership to AMBA. This means you have access to business schools and MBA employers throughout the world. You also have global networking opportunities with corporate partners, online or in-person, opening up your career possibilities as well as access to world-class events and training.
The Aston online MBA programme was ranked 3rd in the UK by CEO Magazine in 2020, making it one of the most widely recognised schools among employers.
In summary, Aston University helps students begin their journey to global networking in the following areas:
- Access to 90,000+ alumni
- Free entry to the AMBA
- Connections with industry experts
- Invitations to exclusive events and training
- Certificate from an online MBA with triple accreditation from Equis, AACSB and AMBA
Learn more about the Aston Online MBA programme, such as admission information and fees.