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Hundreds of alumni convened in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago on Feb. 11 for the Kellogg School's IMPACT Series in Chicago, the second of the event in the 2011 series.

Impact Chicago

Kellogg IMPACT Series – Chicago

At the Feb. 11 event, Abbott CEO Miles D. White outlines ‘a very momentous paradigm shift’ in global business — and how U.S. companies should adjust accordingly

By Rachel Farrell

2/14/2011 - More than 450 alumni convened in the Hilton Chicago on Feb. 11 for the Kellogg School’s IMPACT Series event in Chicago, the second in the 2011 series.

The lunchtime event featured introductory remarks by Kellogg Dean Sally Blount ’92 and Torben Andersen, the Nathan S. and Mary P. Sharp Professor of Finance and director of the International Business & Markets Program and Research Center, followed by a keynote address by Miles D. White, chairman and CEO of Abbott, who spoke on “The Four P’s of Global Expansion.”

White began his talk by emphasizing the role of emerging markets in the future of business. “These countries will play a huge role in the future for my company, your companies and the world,” he said. “This is a very momentous paradigm shift … that demands that we, as businesses, shift accordingly.”

To navigate this shifting landscape — and establish a strong presence in emerging markets — White suggested following a modified version of the classic “Four P’s” model of marketing: people, products, presence and perseverance.

Securing local and global talent, while emphasizing cross-cultural perspectives, will help you build strong teams, White explained. Once you have the right mix of people, ensure that your product matches the needs of the markets or adapts to the changing needs of the markets. Next, increase your presence to the customer both by establishing operations in-country to gain true market intimacy, and by initiating citizenship programs to demonstrate commitment beyond commercial interest. Finally, persevere as you pursue your mission —and the market — for the long term; expect to encounter, and work through, adversity in the process.

While following this method has worked well for Abbott, White noted that “these Four P’s are by no means comprehensive. But they do provide a guidepost for leaders or managers … as they seek expansion around the world and to lead global companies.”

“We’re at a historical moment,” he said. “This new level of business globalization gives us new opportunities to make a lasting difference.”
The Kellogg IMPACT Series is an ongoing, global forum on the future of business, innovation, leadership and society and features Kellogg faculty and distinguished guest lecturers. Upcoming events in 2011 are planned for New York (March 10); Mexico City (March 17); San Francisco (May 11); and Hong Kong (June 3).