Business forum to feature former Prime Minister Major

An April 20 Olin School of Business conference exploring the international business environment will feature John Major, the former prime minister of England, as one of its keynote speakers.

Olin School master of business administration students organized the International Business Outlook Conference (IBOC), which will include presentations on topics ranging from the global supply chain to business in China.

All sessions will be held in the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center.

The conference’s theme is “Money/Markets/Methods: How to Succeed in an International Business Environment.” It will provide practical information on how Midwest businesses can operate successfully in the global economy.

Individuals, small businesses and large corporations will have the opportunity to learn about the challenges of international business and to gain insight on possible solutions.

“Each part of the day includes discussions that address the three main topics of the conference: money, markets and methods,” said Marla Rappaport, a first-year M.B.A. student in charge of marketing the conference, along with fellow M.B.A. students Beth Hunsicker and Sam De La Garza.

“Breakout sessions will look at how to safely finance a project, what kinds of markets are growing to suit various needs and what methods — or strategies — should organizations develop to be the most successful in a global marketplace.”

The day will wrap up with Major’s presentation on how the world business environment is changing. Other keynote speakers are Patrick Stokes, chief executive officer and president of Anheuser-Busch, and Richard Mahoney, former chief executive officer of Monsanto and the distinguished executive in residence in the WUSTL Executive M.B.A. Program.

“In many industries, the only growth is in an international forum, and learning from a successful outside source that has paved the way in their industries is extremely valuable,” Rappaport said. “The speakers are hitting on three major functional topics and offering insights into how to be successful on a global scale.

“The conference allows professionals to network and ask questions they have about international business practices and opportunities.”

Breakout-session moderators include noted leaders in their fields. For example, Ben Edwards, U.S. business editor for The Economist magazine, will hold a session on “off-shoring.” Paul Contomichalos, founder and chairman of the Chinese-based pharmaceutical firm Profex Inc., will moderate a session called “Business in China — First Hand From My 10 Years of Experience in China.”

IBOC organizers said the conference is sold out. This is the third IBOC held at the Olin School; last year’s conference also sold out.

This year’s sponsors are Emerson, Anheuser-Busch International, Monsanto, The Economist, Edward Jones and the World Trade Center of St. Louis.

Other conference organizers are M.B.A. students Mike Vitt, Jason Holschen, Carlos Mata, Kelly Ainsworth, Jeff Gunia, Laura Hosteny and Chris Springer.

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