Should you ever sip your soup straight from the bowl? What is the difference between Japanese and Chinese chopsticks? How do you eat a cherry tomato at a four- or five-star restaurant? In Europe, does the salad come before or after the entrée?
About 70 College of Business Administration (CBA) students got answers to these questions and many others during a presentation and dinner on global etiquette in Duane Library on March 8 as part of the inaugural International Business Week at Fordham University.
Some 500 undergraduates attended nine sessions throughout the week of March 5, which focused on the various dimensions of doing business in countries ranging from Kenya to Switzerland. The event was organized by the Global Learning Opportunities and Business Experiences (GLOBE) Club, and was co-sponsored by CBA and the Fordham chapter of the financial information honor society, Beta Alpha Psi.
“It’s been a great week — and the turnout has been amazing,” said Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration. “Students have really shown up in numbers. Having a whole week focused on international business creates a spirit and energy that a single event sometimes doesn’t.”
The culminating event was the etiquette dinner featuring etiquette expert Gloria Petersen, president of Global Protocol, Inc., whose clients include some of the nation’s largest corporations.
And the answers to the questions?
Petersen said that in terms of sipping from the bowl, it is proper, but only if it’s a broth-type soup and there’s just a sip left — and never slurp. Japanese chopsticks are shorter, more ornate and pointed at the end. What really matters, Petersen said, is that people learn to use them because it shows cultural awareness and sensitivity. Shoving an entire cherry tomato in your mouth is potentially explosive — not to mention embarrassing. Petersen suggests cutting it in half. Finally, Europeans eat their salads after the entrée.
“This is all part of social intelligence,” Petersen said. “And this is an area that is lacking in young people because they want to communicate through things like instant messaging and iPods and all these other technologies, but when they get out into the real world they have to communicate with people and those people are not necessarily their peers. They are suddenly fish out of water.
“So all of this is very important, especially in a business context.”
Presentations during the week included a discussion on commerce in Brazil by Stela Maris Dallari, trade promotion officer at the Brazilian consulate in New York City; Germany’s relationship to the world by Thomas Dzimian, director of career services at the German-American Chamber of Commerce; and gender roles and investing in the United Kingdom and the United States by Sheila Gleason, former director of marketing operations at Barclays Wealth Management.
CBA has developed a strong presence in international business and one of its most popular areas of study is the Global Learning Opportunities and Business Experiences (GLOBE) Program. Under the direction of CBA Assistant Dean Catherine Einersen, Ed.D., the program prepares students for leadership positions in multinational careers.
The program also has an active student club. CBA junior Robert Kraemer, president of the GLOBE Club, spearheaded the planning and worked with a number of other students to line up speakers and schedule events.
“Fordham has never had anything like this before, so when the dean approached me back in the fall, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Kraemer said. “Last year, we only had one event … and I know that Fordham is trying to increase students’ international exposure and I feel like this event did help bring an international focus and attention to campus.”
By Victor M. Inzunza