Born Global: Five Reasons to Travel & Experience More

 | February 14, 2013 |

Global GenerationWe are the “Born Global” Generation. We are suspicious when on evening news that is only about America, we dream of vacations in Mykonos rather than Martha’s Vineyard, and are excited to meet people from countries we have never heard of. But, what does “Born Global” really mean?

Ted D. Zoller, Executive Director at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Kenan-Flagler Business School introduces it as such:

  • They are better traveled at twenty-one than most who are now forty, and many are already on their second passports.
  • Prague, Buenos Aires, and Dubai are not exotic to them; London, Paris, and New York are passé, and, at best, hub airports on their way to somewhere else.
  • They do not operate only in the West, and do not see you as legitimate if you haven’t engaged in all hemispheres—on all continents (save maybe Antarctica).

While some of you may protest, saying that you can’t name 75% of the world’s countries on Sporcle and aren’t on your second passport, I would like to suggest a new way of defining “Born Global”.

But being born global means a certain mindset, that we see our world as just that–an entire world–an interconnected series of diverse peoples, rather than just our homogenous city, state or country.

The most distinguishing trait of our “Born Global” generation is the ability to see a vast community woven together, operating seamlessly between developing and the developed world.  Also part of digital generation, we don’t see that the cultural or spatial barriers between countries and people, but rather the ability to communicate to nearly anyone else through technology and the internet.

Being flexible culturally, where different cultures are not viewed as uncomfortable situations to blend into but rather learning experiences, we are not inhibited by the thought of moving to a new country, doing our research, talking to locals, finding emerging market opportunities, and starting companies.

Globalization is no longer reserved for huge multinationals, as “Born Global” entrepreneurs think about scaling vertically, horizontally and across oceans.  Or better yet, we just start across seas.

Top Five Reasons to be Proactive as one of the Born Global

1) Jumpstart your career, whether corporate or entrepreneurial

As multinationals become more ubiquitous, each one of them is looking for an edge– and and that edge has taken the form of localization.  Working in another country for a local companies fully submerges you into that culture and language.  When companies are looking for candidates with diverse international experience, having hands-on experience in a country they’re interested in could land in you in a leadership role.

While the world of VC’s and startups are getting more and more oversaturated in the US, they are often just beginning in many other countries.  Not only can you take a more active role in foreign entrepreneurial communities, especially BRIC countries, but you may also have a prominent opportunity to shape these ecosystems.

2) Gain a new perspective on your own country

Working in another country and taking a vacation in another country are two very different experiences.  Working in another country and truly trying to interact with the local culture will enable you learn more about other nationalities’ perception of your own country.  Some of those perceptions may be pleasant, and others less so but it allows you to understand why people may act a certain way towards your country.  Consequently, you can react in a more civil and appropriate way in inflammatory situations, representing your own nationality better.  Sometimes you have to step outside to see more clearly what is inside.

3) Learn Faster and More

Being in another country is uncomfortable.  When you’re uncomfortable you’re forced to push yourself out of your boundaries and adapt faster.  You learn time management skills when you have schedule any hour learning a new language into your schedule, or have figure out how to achieve your own initiatives through a completely new kind of business politicking.  Often times you can no longer push the responsibility on someone else and become more accountable for all your tasks and endeavors at hand.

4) Use your skills in a surprising way

There are certain innate skills you have from receiving a Western education that are much more valuable than you would think.  Resourcesfulness in research and creativity can go much further in countries where your co-workers have received more sheltered or conservative educations.  This outside of the box thinking will position for a more accelerated professional trajectory.

5) How will you know what to do in the world if you haven’t seen all the options?

It’s easy to say that travel will “broaden your horizons”, but being in other countries exposes you people or situations with more fluid experiences.  Seeing other CEO’s or craftsman alike who have made a wider array of professional and personal decisions will enable you to make more educated opinions and decision about your own life.  Sometimes all it takes to have the courage to make a big decision is to see someone else who has done something similar.

The Born Global Generation is here to globalize the local and localize the global, aren’t you ready to take part?

Stephany Zoo creates fire, not flash. Incubated at powerhouses like Ralph Lauren, Princeton, and Likeable Media, Stephany is a vigorous steward of brand, relentlessly excited about enduring imprints of image and word. A New York City transplant, Stephany seeks to bridge her bicultural heritage and achieve a greater understanding of international consumer behavior in Shanghai, China. She enthusiastically advances the customer development of BUNDSHOP.COM, leveraging digital and viral assets to disseminate BUNDSHOP. COM’s vision and voice.

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About Alexander Gordin
An international merchant banking professional with over twenty years of business operating and advisory experience in the areas of export finance, international project finance, risk mitigation and cross-border business development. Clients include foreign governments, municipalities and state enterprises as well as Fortune 500 and small/medium enterprises. Strong entrepreneurial instincts, combined with leadership and strategic skills. Transactional and negotiations experience in over thirty five countries. Author of the highly acclaimed "Fluent in Foreign Business" book and creator of the "Fluent in OPIC", "Fluent in EXIM","Fluent In Foreign Franchising", "Fluent in FCPA",and "Fluent in USTDA" seminar/webinar series. Currently developing "Fluent In ......" seminars and publications. Co-author of the Fi3 Country Business Appeal Indices. Extensive international business development and project finance transaction experience in healthcare, aerospace, ICT, conventional and alternative energy infrastructure, distribution and hospitality industries. Experience managing international public and private corporations. Co-Founded three companies abroad. Strong Emerging and Frontier Market expertise. Published and featured in numerous publications including: The Wall Street Journal, Knowledge@Wharton,, The Chicago Tribune, Industry Week, Industry Today, Business Finance, Wharton Magazine Blog, NY Enterprise Report, Success magazine, Kyiv Post and on a number of radio and television programs including: Voice of America, CNBC, CNNfn, and Bloomberg. Frequent speaker on strategy, cross-border finance and international business development. Executive MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. B.S. in Management of Information Systems from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Specialties Strategic Management Advisory, Export Finance, International Project Finance & Risk Management, Cross-border Negotiations, Structured Finance transactions, Senior Government and Corporate officials liason

One Response to Born Global: Five Reasons to Travel & Experience More

  1. Jeff Anderson says:

    Like your comments.

    I have travelled extensively and just renewed my New Zealand passport, now on my 5th. From the outset I have viewed the world as one as there is nothing truly different in this world!!!!

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