Education in the new financial landscape

In order to flourish in an evermore-complex financial landscape, companies and their employees need global, yet standardised, business education

Business education must become a more digital and globalised industry if it hopes to keep up with the fast pace of today's financial landscape 

Today’s global financial landscape is almost unrecognisable compared to that of 10 years ago: trading power has rapidly shifted from west to east, and we have seen partnerships form between a greater range of countries and companies. Countless new business practices, regulations and compliance procedures have also emerged, while technological innovation has rapidly changed business models and operational processes.

Business education – something that is vital for individual and corporate progress in this new landscape – has faced a challenge trying to keep pace. Clearly, the next generation of business educators should be closely aligned with the world in which they educate. In our view, this means that business education must be arranged by industry practitioners with first-hand experience. Moreover, it must be global and digital.

But keeping pace alone is not enough: while globalisation and technology have provided significant opportunities, they have also presented challenges and exposed global inefficiencies, especially with regards to divergent business practices and local cultural nuances. This is where business education has the ability to bring some much-needed standardisation to the financial landscape. In this respect, it must set the pace.

A more complex business environment

One of the many benefits of globalisation, aided by the digital revolution, is the ease of expansion into new markets, something that has resulted in increased trade between a more diverse set of countries. In fact, while global trade growth has slowed of late, emerging market trade is still rising and remains above pre-crisis levels.

The International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC)

Banking Commission’s Global Trade and Finance Survey 2015 found that so-called ‘south-south trade’ now represents as much as 42 percent of global exports, up 19 percent since 1990. Emerging market trade will also likely pick up in 2015-16, to about eight percent annual growth, taking on an even larger share of global trade.

Clearly globalisation offers huge opportunities for emerging economies, or for companies that wish to diversify markets or counterparties. Yet there are challenges: for instance, globalisation has contributed to divergent standards, solutions and terminology, especially in areas such as trade finance or supply chain finance. All of these can hamper efficient cross-border business.

The use of new methods, along with diverging practices, can hinder the ability of companies to effectively conduct business with their counterparties in both emerging and more developed markets.

Online business education platforms provide an equal playing field for skill development between emerging and developed markets

Adding to the complexity, the rise in alternative solutions, such as multi-banking solutions and specialist financiers, brings a host of new players into the financial landscape. Ensuring that companies and business professionals keep pace with such developments is therefore vital in a changing environment.

The need for global education

In today’s globalising world, education needs to evolve alongside the financial landscape. The use of digital platforms, for instance, means that virtual classrooms and online courses can provide professional education that is truly convenient and globally reaching.

Never before has it been so essential to have education that is accessible to all, especially considering the increase of emerging market companies and individuals involved in international trade. Digital platforms are less restrictive than traditional education methods, as students in developing or remote regions, with limited physical access to training, can participate in world-class professional education. Online platforms provide an equal playing field for skill development between emerging and developed markets.

The ICC Academy believes this is the correct approach, and provides digital education for professionals worldwide, regardless of where they are based or whether they work in SMEs, large corporations or banks. All courses are developed by the ICC’s network of experts.

Yet global education alone will not overcome the difficulties associated with a more complex trading landscape. It is essential that this education is also standardised in order to help break down the barriers of varying local nuances and practices.

The ICC Academy’s curriculum, for instance, is developed centrally in Singapore before it is distributed globally via the digital platform – ensuring standardised and relevant education worldwide.

In our opinion, education must also continue throughout an individual’s career, so that their knowledge remains up-to-date and they continually adapt to fit an increasingly volatile economic landscape. The ICC Academy allows professionals to regularly complete courses and attend various conferences and seminars so that they continue to progress, in order to fit the evolving landscape.

Globalisation and technology bring benefits, but also new challenges. In the face of diverging standards and complexity, education must be digital, convenient, and ongoing.