Apr 09

Making Cross-Cultural Connections in the MSIB Program

Meet Professor Nir Kshetri

One of the highlights of the MS in International Business program is that students will be in a global online classroom with faculty and peers from diverse backgrounds. This diversity allows students to make cross-cultural connections starting day one of the program.

In today’s blog, I want to introduce you to one of the outstanding professors that help students make those cross-cultural connections. Dr. Nir Kshetri has been teaching at UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business and Economics for 15 years. In that time, he has taught more than 20 different classes. In the last three years, “Dr. Nir,” as his students call him, has taught Global Business in Practice, International Entrepreneurship, Marketing Research, International Marketing Management, and Cybersecurity Management. He also regularly takes groups of students on short-term study abroad trips over spring break and in the summer.

Dr. Nir’s expertise in international business is far-reaching, but his greatest interest lies in how businesses can benefit by delivering services to the approximately four billion people who live in developing countries, while at the same time improving the lives of those people.  I had the chance recently to sit down with Dr. Nir to talk about his experiences and his ideas about the new MS in International Business (MSIB) program. He was leaving the next day to take a group of students to Belgium, but he made time to answer some questions.

Dr. Nir Kshetri

Q:  If you were a CEO or manager hiring a recent MSIB grad, what qualities would you want to see in that job candidate?

A:  The number one requirement for me would be an understanding that the U.S. way of doing things simply may not work in other countries. A U.S.-based company that wants to be successful must have an international focus. I would want a new hire to have an idea how the cultural, political, and legal systems are different and how the technological standards and infrastructures vary in different countries.  I would want all my new hires to understand the international components of every aspect of business that I do.

Q:  What’s your favorite class to teach?

A:  Cybersecurity Management. The class looks at cyber threats facing organizations and analyzes ways to strengthen cyber security. Almost all of the cybercrimes that target the U.S. are international in origin, so having a global, international perspective is imperative.

Q:  You have a long list of academic publications, but which piece of research or writing are you proudest of?

A: It is not a particular academic article or big book—and I have published over 100 articles and seven books—but I am proudest of my less-than-1,000-word article about how blockchain technology can help poor people around the world. It’s been published in many different places and read by about 40,000 people. So, I am prouder of this short piece than my other bigger articles and books. That article about using the latest technologies, like blockchain, became very popular because there are a lot of people and companies trying to find ways to serve and do business with poor people in developing countries.

Q:  Tell me about some of the work that you have done directly with businesses?

A:  I was born and raised in Nepal and my first formal job was with the University of Nepal. In that job I was consulting for many companies and agencies such as banks and international development agencies. Although working in a university, I was in the field – such as when I helped train farmers on how to run their farms in a better way. I have been working with small companies, big companies, and the United Nations all my professional life. 

 Currently, I consult with the United Nations, an Asian development bank based in the Philippines, and a cryptocurrency company based in Vancouver, Canada.  

Q: What makes the Bryan School and this new MS in International Business program unique?

A: I believe the faculty are our main strength. Most of the professors have an international background, and many of them are from other countries, which means that they have first-hand experience of other cultures, other political situations, and places where the infrastructure is different. I also think that our professors do more research than most, especially about international business.

Q: What’s most rewarding about teaching graduate students at the Bryan School?

 A: They are a nice group. We normally have small class sizes with a wide variety of people. Some have must work experience and the groups are diverse culturally. I would say about half are from the U.S. and half are from other countries, so they bring many different ideas to class.  Especially, in the global business class that I teach, they almost all have some other experience and perspective that they bring to the discussions, so it is very interesting for me to interact with them in those classes.

Q:  If your students had to describe you in 5 words or less, what do you think they would say? 

 A:  Most students would say that I am “always in a good mood.”

(Note: An MBA alumnus that I spoke with recently confirmed that Dr. Nir was always in a good mood during his time at the Bryan School.)

About Dr. Nir Kshetri

Nir Kshetri is Professor at UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business and Economics and a research fellow at Kobe University. He has authored seven books including Big Data’s Big Potential in Developing Economies: Impact on Agriculture, Health and Environmental Security, His 2014 book Global Entrepreneurship: Environment and Strategy. Nir is 2016 winner of the Bryan School Senior Research Excellence Award and a two-time winner of the Pacific Telecommunication Council’s Meheroo Jussawalla Research Paper Prize (2010 and 2008). Nir has been interviewed and/or quoted in over 80 TV channels, magazines and newspapers.

Born and raised in Nepal, Nir earned a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Civil Engineering, Master of Science in Mathematics, and Master of Arts in Economics from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. He earned his PhD in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. Learn more about Nir’s courses and publication

(Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

Learn more about Bryan School’s online MS in International Business.

Mary Lesa Pegg