Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Succeed in Business with a Degree in Geography

Justin Holman linked to an article by Dr. James Chan about how to succeed in business with a geography degree.  Here are key points I really enjoyed

How much is your success in consulting related to your degrees in geography? I apply what I know about Chinese geography and cultural geography to day-to-day problems in business. I’ve worked with more than 100 U.S. manufacturers, trade associations, and service organizations. Businesses need people with geographical and cross-cultural knowledge.
Could you give an example of how you applied geography to a business problem? A company spent $1,000,000 on postage each year to mail catalogs worldwide. I looked at its bloated mailing list and found that there were many duplicate records. This means that quite a number of people received multiple copies of marketing materials. Many names on the list were misspelled and out-of-date. I surveyed our worldwide customer base and eliminated duplication and waste. Management was very happy because I reduced their costs.
What advice would you give to someone with a geography degree about succeeding in business? Start at an entry level and learn a business. Geography is not a trade. It is an academic discipline. Once you know enough of a business, you can apply your unique training as a geographer to look at things in a way that people trained in other disciplines may not come up with. This is how you differentiate yourself and become competitive. Few businesses pay us to teach them geography. They just want us to solve their problems and get things done. It’s up to us to invent ourselves.

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