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Darla Moore School of Business

Finding solutions for international strategy in an era of uncertainty

Long gone are the days when the generic risk algorithms and value-creating strategies underpinned by assumptions of globalization would guide your firm’s performance and even your career development. This is a time of disruption — be it from global pandemics, trade and supply chain uncertainty or the rise of the digital economy.

Just as firms, large and small, are assessing the threats and advantages from the diffusion of new technologies, so, too, must they determine how unexpected political and institutional changes can impact investments in overseas subsidiaries and supplier systems as well as once seemingly reliable consumer markets.

Take for instance the tumultuous changes in trade regimes and financial markets unleashed by the global financial crisis, the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism and COVID-19. Prior assumptions about the global or regional integration of markets have begun to crumble as citizens, firms and governments alike call into question the benefits of once taken-for-granted domestic and international institutions that have underpinned growth and innovation models. The leading emerging markets that experienced real gains from trade and new technologies are sliding into seemingly sustained bouts of income and political volatility. 

How well are we prepared to meet these challenges — challenges that force us to reassess not simply our risk management models but also our approaches to collaboration and innovation? What kinds of new capabilities or organizational changes can enable large multinationals or small firm suppliers see beyond the horizon to become more resilient and in turn profitable? How might firms, governments and nonprofit organizations work together to reconfigure their ecosystems in ways that improve skills, knowledge creation and adaptability, and thus compete effectively and sustainably in the new norms of global markets?

These are just some of the questions that we at the Folks Center for International Business in particular and the Sonoco International Business Department in general seek answers to as we collaborate with professors, students and business and policy leaders. In creating pioneering research, award-winning educational programs and dynamic partnerships, our aim is to find effective solutions emanating from this era of uncertainty and share them with you — our growing global community. 

This newsletter is just one of our new vehicles that will periodically deliver to you the latest thought leadership on core aspects of international strategy. The topics may range from political risk and innovation clusters to cross-border management and sustainable development, but the discussions and answers will help you rethink your business models as well as your role in the emerging multi-polar world. In so doing, we hope to bestow upon you exciting opportunities for you, your colleagues and your family to participate in this community, be they the top-ranked educational programs, dynamic debate forums or collaborations with our faculty and students.

-Gerald A. McDermott


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

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