For 20 Executive MBA (EMBA) students in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU), the chance to interact with global leaders is just one of the benefits of their program. But it’s a very important one. And when that global leader is Gustavo A. Cisneros, chairman, Cisneros Group of Companies—one of the largest privately held media, entertainment, telecommunications and consumer products organizations in the world—the insights gained by the group are impossible to quantify.
“He brought his experience in global business—the good, the bad and the ugly—to us,” said Class of 2012 member and CPA Yadira Maldonado. “In class, we’ve been touching on how to do global business, where everything looks pretty in theory, but Cisneros showed us the risks and strategies to succeed in this complex business world.”
Maldonado was particularly struck by Cisneros’ perspective on having an exit plan, whether a venture is local or global.
“He explained that we should know the risks, including politics, of what we are getting into,” she said. “If we know the risks ahead of time, we’ll be better able to deal with them. He also pointed out that we shouldn’t let things get out of hand. By having an exit plan at the outset, if a business or a venture doesn’t work out to our expectations, we will know what criteria to consider to get out of it before everything goes downhill. This is much better than trying to figure out next steps at a time when we are experiencing problems and avoid making decisions on the run that might have unfavorable results.”
First Executive in Residence makes time for students and faculty.
Despite his incredibly busy schedule, Cisneros, the college’s first Executive in Residence, stayed longer at his EMBA presentation than expected and, according to Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam, who attended, generated great enthusiasm with his frank comments.
“He will also have discussions with our faculty members about their research in international business, entrepreneurship and leadership, and will be able to provide them with his observations based on his firsthand experiences,” said Annabelle Rojas (MBA ’98, BBA ’87), assistant dean, advancement, alumni and corporate relations.