Why Global Commerce at Denison?
Throughout their Denison experience, inside and beyond the classroom, Global Commerce majors develop the leadership skills needed to begin and succeed in a wide range of business-related professions and non-profit careers in our globalized world. Skills like identifying opportunities and problems, analyzing causal factors and risk, team building, negotiating, effective communicating, and informed decision-making are necessary at many levels across all types of organizations, which also must take into account the interconnected nature of the global economy. Global Commerce majors are prepared to succeed throughout their careers by seeing the big picture, identifying problems and opportunities that others have overlooked, and implementing creative solutions.
The Global Commerce major prepares students for four key realities of commerce in the 21st century:
- The economy is global. From the most local farmer or small-town business to a fully global corporation or NGO, all commerce today is connected to global dynamics. Global Commerce majors can look at the big picture to identify how a local venture is connected to the global economy, what challenges those connections pose, and how those challenges can be addressed to achieve success.
- Competition for jobs is global, too. College graduates in the U.S. are competing with job candidates from around the globe, most of whom speak multiple languages and understand something of U.S. culture, while knowing their own culture intimately. Global Commerce majors level the playing field by speaking a second language, learning how to operate in other cultures and societies, and developing the skills and questions needed to adapt to each new society and situation that they encounter throughout their lives.
- For-profit and non-profit organizations are more alike than different. Regardless of its profit goals, the success of any organization depends on effective leadership, healthy organizational culture, financial solvency, a clear understanding of local context, the ability to manage risk, and adaptability to changing circumstances. Global Commerce majors are prepared to apply their skills working for both for-profit and non-profit global organizations.
- Knowledge is power. There is no single set of data, information, or technical skills related to the global economy today’s undergraduates can master that will carry them through the coming decades of their careers. Global Commerce majors learn to be adaptable—they know what questions to ask to locate and interpret the information needed in any given situation. With these skills, they will spend their lives gathering and creating the knowledge necessary to succeed in global companies and organizations.
This unique major is possible because of Denison’s strengths across the liberal arts, our remarkably accomplished alumni network, our wide range of global programs, our proximity to Columbus, one of the nation’s largest and most thriving cities, and our location in Ohio, one of the states most friendly to international business.
Leadership is at the Core
Denison’s Global Commerce majors are preparing themselves to be effective leaders at all levels of global companies, local businesses, start-ups, and non-profit organizations, whether in domestic or international settings. In the classroom and through internship experiences, site visits, campus workshops, and discussions with visiting experts and industry leaders, Global Commerce majors develop the following sets of skills and knowledge crucial to effective global leadership:
- Global economic thinking. Our majors understand that all businesses and organizations today operate in a global economy. They learn to look for connections and to think across regions and cultures in order to understand the economic policies, needs, and opportunities that shape commerce-related decisions and actions.
- Cultural agility. Our majors develop the foreign language skills needed to make inroads in professional settings and to appreciate the nuances of communication in any given context. They understand how the language and culture of a particular region shape any form of exchange in that region, and they apply that knowledge to examining similar dynamics in other societies and regions.
- Facility with the language of business. As they complete our Global Commerce core courses, participate in Global Commerce workshops, and pursue summer internships, Global Commerce majors develop the financial acumen necessary to interpret financial reports and balance sheets, evaluate organizational performance, identify problems and opportunities, and plan new initiatives.
- Well-honed analytical skills. Their analytical training in a variety of fields, from history to sociology to economics, provides Global Commerce majors a broad set of analytical tools that allow them to solve problems constructively and creatively.
- Effective communication skills. Global Commerce majors hone their capacities to communicate with clarity, persuasion, and diplomacy, orally and in writing. From concise presentations to detailed project proposals, Global Commerce majors know how to communicate their ideas and knowledge effectively to get results.
- Collaborative know-how. Through class projects, Global Commerce workshops, and internship experiences, Global Commerce majors gain experience working in teams. They learn to work together to identify problems and opportunities, envision solutions, collect and analyze information, and propose plans clearly and coherently. They are prepared to work across differences and to build on multiple viewpoints as they move into the professional world.
Succeeding in a Globalized World
In the 21st century, all commerce—the exchange of goods, services, information, and money—is inherently global, connected to international supply chains and financial institutions, population shifts, global weather patterns, and a wide variety of other global factors.
To prepare for success in this globalized world, Denison’s Global Commerce majors develop familiarity not only with organizational cultures, business strategy, and structures, but also with the foreign language skills, historical understanding, and cultural awareness needed to truly understand how commerce works in a globalized world.
Students develop cultural agility, including foreign language skills beyond the intermediate level, both at Denison and when they travel to places like Paris, Hong Kong, and Santiago. They pursue internships with international companies in locations both abroad and in the U.S., including in nearby Columbus. They interact with expert practitioners in a range of professions —from global companies to entrepreneurial start-ups to non-profit organizations — who have deep knowledge and experience to share.
The Global Commerce major explores the globalized nature of modern commerce—the exchange of goods, services, information, and currency, both for-profit and non-profit. The major provides an interdisciplinary examination of globalization and its relationship to markets, exchange, and organizational cultures.
Language study at least to the intermediate level is fundamental to the Global Commerce major. When students declare the GC major, they must identify their language of study to ensure that they will be in a position to use their developing language skills as they progress through the major. In addition to this language facility, throughout their GC major experience, students develop sophisticated analytical skills in assessing and engaging in a globalized society.
To that end, the major is built around 8 courses required of all majors: 5 “Commerce Core” courses that are unique to Denison as well as ECON 101 - Introductory Macroeconomics, ECON 102 - Introductory Microeconomics, and MATH 120 - Elements of Statistics. In the introductory GC 101 - Commerce and Society, students explore the relationships between commerce and society in different times and places, through a variety of humanities and social science lenses. In GC 200 - Global Focus Proposal for Global Commerce, sophomore majors design a “Global Focus” that will allow them to develop a deep understanding of a particular geographic area by studying its culture, history, social and political context, and language(s). The goal of this global focus is not to make the GC major a specialist in one region of the world but, rather, to develop their capacity to adapt to working in any global region by knowing what kinds of information are required to operate effectively in an unfamiliar society.
GC 200 - Global Focus Proposal for Global Commerce is paired with GC 201 - Elements of Commerce, which exposes students to a core of applied skills related to the areas of commerce, business, global organizations, and entrepreneurship (i.e., skills related to multiple workplace environments) and fosters students’ understanding of how the liberal arts underpin and support these skills. Junior majors take GC 301 - Global Financial Markets, in which they examine the dynamics of global markets, market regulation, and financial institutions. GC 401 - Global Commerce Senior Seminar, the senior capstone course, requires students to articulate and apply their accumulated knowledge from their Global Commerce major experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, in part by producing a final semester-long, team-based assignment in which they create a team plan, collect and analyze data, and craft a proposal for a global commerce-related initiative. In addition to working with experienced and dedicated Denison faculty, these courses offer GC majors opportunities to interact with visiting speakers, including alumni and Columbus-area professionals, in conversations about the dynamics and challenges of globalized commerce.
In combination with our robust GC co-curricular program, these courses offer GC majors opportunities to interact with visiting speakers, including alumni and Columbus-area professionals, in conversations about the dynamics and challenges of globalized commerce.
Learning goals for the Global Commerce major include the development of an advanced understanding of the complex ways in which the economy and trade are connected to culture, social movements, and other global factors; immersion in the study of a particular geographic area—or the connections between multiple regions for the transregional option—emphasizing the study of culture, history, social context, and language; building well-developed cultural fluency skills, including intermediate-level facility with at least one foreign language; the development of a sound understanding of the elements of commerce, including familiarity with basic aspects of financial accounting, spreadsheet proficiency, business language and etiquette, and business ethics; the development of student creativity and autonomy in creating a meaningful and coherent global focus or transregional option; the integration of a significant off-campus experience with the curricular study of commerce and cultural context; and the development of a supportive and engaged student cohort in the major.