Martha Lawless speaks to students at the First Year Seminar

It is a pleasure to have Ms. Martha Lawless, chief of the Services Industry Research Division of the U.S. International Trade Commission, as guest at our Seminar!

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What a great opportunity for the students to learn about her work directing the USITC’s project on Global Digital Trade for the U.S. Trade Representative. She is a regular contributor to USITC’s research, focused on reporting the effects of new technology on the services and manufacturing sectors, the impact of policy barriers to trade in services, and the influence of corporate finance and other competitiveness factors on international trade.

Ms. Lawless was the project leader and primary author for the USITC’s two previous reports on digital trade, delivered to the Senate Finance Committee in 2013 and 2014.

Prior to joining the USITC, she was the director of the Corporate Risk Advisory Group at UBS Investment Bank in London, advising over 200 multinational companies on currency, interest-rate and commodity risk management, and Lecturer in Economics at Sussex Downs College.

Ms. Lawless received an A.B. in History and Economics magna cum laude from Harvard University, M.B.A. in International Finance from Yale University, and M.Sc. in Economics from Trinity College Dublin.

To know more about the First Year Seminar previous guests, please click here.

Troy Fuhriman and Jozsef Szamosfalvi at the First Year Seminar

This week, the students had the opportunity to hear the insights of two professionals specialized in international trading financing, Troy Fuhriman and Jozsef Szamosfalvi, who kindly accepted the invitation to be our guests yesterday, Nov.1st.

Mr. Fuhriman, Professor Czinkota and Mr. Szamosfalvi

Mr. Fuhriman, Professor Czinkota and Mr. Szamosfalvi

Troy Fuhriman (left) is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). He helped analyze the rationale, history, tradition and needs of EXIM Bank. He also discussed the controversy surrounding the existence of EXIM Bank and highlighted the existence of competitive organizations. 

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Mr. Fuhriman has been one of the very early Trump’s appointees at the official US Government export credit agency, where he has served since January 2017. He has also been an Associate Professor of Law at the Kyungpook National University, in South Korea, for seven years.

Mr. Fuhriman also co-founded and managed Goldfinch Limited and Stellar Photonics for 14 years.

Mr. Jozsef Szamosfalvi (right) is the Managing Director at ExWorks Capital, a senior secured debt fund focused on international trade financing. He shared his thoughts from the perspective of private sector, especially on trade finance. He is also the Managing Director at the financial advisory firm Interlink Capital Strategies, where he focuses on emerging markets, especially for projects related to infrastructure, financial and energy sectors.

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Mr. Szamosfalvi is also part of Georgetown University as an adjunct instructor for international trade and emerging market finance at the McDonough Business School.  He kindly invited our students to consider applying for work at his firm.

To know more about the First Year Seminar previous guests, please click here.

Georgetown First Year Seminar Guest Speaker

We were visited by Mr. Barry Rhoads, Chairman of Cassidy and Associates. He presented his insights on the role of private sector influence on government, establishing and disrupting relationships and the achievement of thought for legislation.

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Mr. Rhoads arrived in Washington as an officer in the U.S. Army, became a tax prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. He is now the head of one of the largest lobbying firms in Washington D.C where he represents interests both foreign and domestic, such as Airbus Industries.

Georgetown First Year Seminar

I am delighted to have Ing. Jaroslava Pokorna Jermanová, who is the governor of the Central Bohemia Region of Czech Republic to our seminar. It’s such an honor to listen to her insights and the students all learned a lot from yesterday’s session.

WechatIMG143unnamed WechatIMG142Brief Work profile:

      • November 2016 elected by the governor of the Central Bohemia Region from October 2016 the representative of the Central Bohemia Region for the YO 2011 movement
      • 2014 until now the representative of Benešov and from 2016 the city councilor
      • November 2013 until now the deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies
      • October 2013 until now Member of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
      • 2007-2008 employee of ROP Central Bohemia
      • 2004-2008 representative of the Central Bohemian Region for ODS
      • 2002-2006 Mayor Krhanic in Benesov

Over the years, she has been employed by several private companies including a family enterprise to produce furniture, and before 2014 she was an advertising and marketing executive. She also founded the Women’s Academy, which aims to attract more women into politics.

The times, in Europe, they are a-changin’

From The Hill

afd_germany_1The German elections are over, and for a brief moment, it looks like all is stable. But make no mistake, this is only the eye of the storm. Germany has already shifted away from the current leadership.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that she has done nothing wrong. While that is true, there are many things she hasn’t done right. Society and its problematics around the world have moved on, circumventing traditional politics and politicians.

From a long-term analytical business perspective, politics requires a new direction. The parties in power may elegantly gloss over losing 10 percentage points in voter support. They talk about how the voters have made a mistake; how all it takes are better explanations and how all these inequities will be rectified shortly. How wrong they are!

Perceptions change. Research by Mintel reports that many consumers now judge soap bars to be a haven for bacteria. Similarly, voters now judge political insiders to be parasites to progress. Our work, which systematically tracks business behavior and expectations over the past 30 years, indicates new core values for voters.

Traditional dimensions of politics and individuals have four key dimensions, illustrated by the four legs of a stool. First is competition, which determines the approach to progress — one party achieves “the winner takes all,” others meekly fall in line for the droppings from the table.

Second is the establishment and management of risk, where steely nerves and occasional disasters determine lifestyle. Then comes profit, which accounts for success in tangible form. Finally, the fourth leg of the stool is property rights, which assure innovators of their return on investments. There now is a simultaneous splintering of all four legs, which inhibits successful conduct of direction.

A new stool with new legs has recently emerged, these changes are crucial in understanding society. First is truthfulness. Firms and voters detest fake news, insincere excuses and thoughtless comments. When the shadows of unreality obscure one’s outlook, exposed people extract a penalty.

Second is simplicity. Employees and citizens want to understand how relationships work and interact. Without that, it is hard to provide or accept truthfulness. Then there is participation, permitting insight beyond simple observation and offering an active role in shaping the conditions which confront one’s life.

The fourth leg is responsibility — going far beyond customary short memories and the traditional pleading of ignorance. The new drive says: “We are here and, if not, we are coming.”

Just as in America, European voters are beginning to be energized by the new legs of the stool and their new criteria. They expect new directions that negate tradition. Judging by shifts in Britain and Spain, stability in Germany may not be that assured.

It’s also not just the money or even economic growth that matter most. Known quantity may give way to even more quality and a rise of local criteria. “Merkelism” will be substituted for Mercantilism. German economic power may be repulsed by regions seeking to regain their cultural self-determination.

The U.S. emphasis on re-shoring, and the enhancing and encouraging of local production is likely a portent of the new Europe, which perhaps reduces Germany from the “King of Exports” to a mere prince. More export-supporting banks will permeate Europe, accompanied by increases in protectionism.

There are still many options for tariff and non-tariff barriers. Within, but particularly outside of the EU, one can expect growing restrictions in both capital and labor flows and a rise of sanctions. Vested interests will become more visible, and provide new decision frameworks.

All that requires a new team. Low-profile politicians will inexorably move onto the new pedestal. Andreas Pinkwart (FDP) and Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU/CSIS) are two who get it. Bob Dylan may have written the song half a century ago, but now more than eve,r we get key guidance from, “The times, they are a-changing.” The change is with us already — the new stool will give us new rules of success and new directors.

Michael Czinkota (czinkotm@georgetown.edu) teaches international business and trade at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the University of Kent. His key book is “International Marketing” 10th ed. (with Ilkka Ronkainen), CENGAGE.