International Business Conference


Conference: Distinguished business leaders discussed current trends in international business. / Courtesy of Steve Dolan

Conference: Distinguished business leaders discussed current trends in international business. / Courtesy of Steve Dolan
Conference: Distinguished business leaders discussed current trends in international business. / Courtesy of Steve Dolan

Focus includes cybersecurity, future market

On Thursday, Nov. 20, the business world gathered for the 2014 Emerson International Business Conference in the Bush Student Center. With over 300 attendees, the event covered essential, timely topics coupled with recognized speakers from around the nation. The conference, which has been hosted for the past five years, demonstrates the growing commitment of businesses  to address problems in the world and solve them.

The morning session provided guests with a panel of speakers addressing a growing problem in the business world: cyber security. The panel consisted of Matthew Porter, founder and CEO of Contegix; Anish Bhimani, CIO of J.P. Morgan Commercial Bank in New York; Matt McCabe, Senior Vice President of Network Security and Privacy Practice at March & McLennan; and Ari Schwartz, Senior Director of Cyber Security for the U.S. National Security Council at the White House.

At first glance, the conference seemed not to be a concern for students. However, Schwartz stated, “The most important things for students to realize is that there a lot of jobs in cyber security as the number of incidents are increasing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics just put out a report saying that we have negative unemployment in this field”.  He encouraged students to consider pursing jobs in the field as the need for laborers continues to grow.

Porter echoed Schwartz’s thoughts, urging students and businesses to realize the importance of investing in cyber security to protect companies from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. One study reported that the estimated annual cost to the global economy from cybercrime is more than $375 billion. To prevent such loses, the panel provided advice to combat cyber security breaches, including educational programs to increase awareness.  The problem for many businesses is that they spend thousands on cyber security, but do not use it correctly. Knowing how to use the new technology correctly to fight off hackers is essential.

After a brief intermission, the afternoon session started with featured guest-speaker Walter Wang. Wang, CEO of JM Eagle, the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic pipes, focused on the impact of corporate global responsibility on global business.

Born in Taiwan, Wang immigrated to the US at nine years old. After earning his college degree, Wang returned to Taiwan to work at his father’s manufacturing business, until he was transferred to J-M Manufacturing Company Inc, now known as JM Eagle.

When asked about his job Wang responded, “Plastic piping really brings the essence of life to people as it transports water.” His passion for providing this essential aspect of life to people has resulted in over 400 miles of donated pipes in eight African countries. Now, over 300,000 people have clean drinking water, better hygiene, and improved irrigation methods for crops.

During his presentation, Wang encouraged the business world to take a similar stance by advising companies to make philanthropy part of its mission.

“The ultimate goal in business, and in life, is really to give back,” stated Wang. His unique perspective was not concerned with profits, but rather helping the lives of others.

His advice to students, similarly like the speakers from the morning session, was to work hard and invest in education. For Wang, business is not about getting rich overnight. It is about digging into the details and changing the world for the better.

“Who we are is defined by what we do,” concluded Wang. He wanted students, business leaders, and teachers in the audience to take away this final phrase as a reminder to live for others.