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Prepare to lead your profession by understanding the events and forces that are re-shaping the world.



The IBFS is a multi-disciplinary graduate-level seminar cross-listed in the MBA program, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Latin American Studies, and other graduate programs at UT Austin, that brings brings students, faculty, and industry leaders together to explore the momentous time we are living in, and its implications for the future of their chosen professions. We are living in a moment of historic change. We have the opportunity as a university community to follow historic developments as they unfold around the world in real time; to consider the forces driving those events; and to discuss the ramifications of all of this in an academic setting." 


The seminar includes a blend of lectures, readings, and discussions on:


1.  international economics, finance, and business;

2.  international political and military affairs;

3.  cultural, historical, philosophical, and religious factors that unite and divide;

4.  the array of demographic developments, environmental challenges, and technological advances that challenge existing state and global systems; and

5.  evolving business models and corporate strategies to take account of these and other emerging challenges and opportunities.


How It Comes Together


Each week, students prepare for class by completing readings on a topic relating to the above issues and in anticipation of that week's guest speaker.  Once in class, the guest speaker – an expert from industry, government, or the university - introduces one or more issues or presents a hypothetical (or actual) business challenge introduces an issue or hypothetical business challenge within their expertise and leads the class in discussion of the issue. Following the discussion, students compose a short essay (2-3 pages in length) on the subject matter of the week.


Group Project

Students are also required to complete a group project, affording them the opportunity to work with students outside their discipline on the challenges of today and the solutions of tomorrow.  Projects involve the development and presentation of one of the following:


(i) a business strategic vision for a company operating internationally or planning to go international

(ii) a public policy proposal for a governmental entity or international NGO.


As part of the project, the group will take into account:


(A) multiple future outlooks, taking into account political structures, economic trends and geopolitical developments

(B) ethical dimensions and other valuational priorities implicit and explicit in the structures of the chosen country

(C) structural issues such as labor issues, population and demographic developments, and energy requirements

(D) tensions and attractions of and between structures and ideas such as free markets vs protectionism and democratic vs authoritarian forms of government

(E) the role of business, civil institutions and organizations, governments, economic systems, families, and individuals


All this allows students to examine – in depth – what is important to them and what they hope to accomplish in their career in the 21st Century.


More information on Professor Michael Dodd and a sample course syllabus are available below.