Entrepreneurs: a discussion with Professor Jon Fjeld

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Professor John Fjeld

The French government recently launched a student entrepreneur programme to create an environment and culture conducive to entrepreneurs. It introduces a series of measures including social security and private healthcare rights and cash prizes for innovation. We sat down with Professor Jon Fjeld, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and asked him for his thoughts on this approach and entrepreneurship in general.

Q) Do you think the French government’s new student-entrepreneurship status could really bring growth to France and Europe?

Small programs like this can have a small effect. The most effective action that governments can take is to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship – reducing start-up costs for example. The action in France is a small step in the right direction, but it isn’t a complete solution.

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Corporate Giving and the 2014 Outlook in Europe

cfo surveyTrivia: which region does better at corporate giving: the United States or Europe?

Answer: while many might think Europe is the correct answer, it is actually the United States, according to the results from the latest Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook Survey. A total of 141 CFOs from Europe took part in the survey. Only 5 percent of European companies have an explicit budget set up for charitable giving.  This contrasts with the U.S., which has 56 percent of companies with a corporate budget for charitable donations (CFOs from 400 US firms took part in the survey).

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Attributes of successful CEOs

Terrific evening with Professor Jennifer Francis and Duke alumni/students in London.

Terrific evening with Professor Jennifer Francis and Duke alumni/students in London.

Male CEOs with deep voices tend to earn more. This finding, along with many other intriguing insights, was shared by Professor Jennifer Francis at a recent gathering of Fuqua alumni in our London office.

Professor Francis discussed the scope of research findings into managerial characteristics that several Fuqua professors are exploring – for example, the correlation between CEOs’ physical characteristics and personality traits and their own, as well as their companies’, success.  Traditional studies of influencers on performance account for only around 50 per cent of a company’s actual performance, Francis said. Research like this begins to bridge the remaining gap.

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The Value of Studying Abroad

155408_breeden017What is the benefit of studying abroad? Wouldn’t it be easier and more convenient for me to stay put here in Europe and study global business? After all, can’t I just go online to hear perspectives from other parts of the world?

French native Bertrand Guillotin, director of the international programs office at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, shares his point of view in the following Q&A.

Q) What does international experience do for one’s resume?

Going to America still has a cachet associated with it. Just look at the lists of global companies, largest banks or billionaires and see how many are American. Making it in America implies higher performance, success and prestige.

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Dealing with Change: a Discussion with Professor Sim Sitkin

ConfusionThe recent economic instability in Europe has forced people to makes changes, both personally and professionally. Understanding how to make sense of change, and make it work for you, is a key survival skill not just for individuals, but for organisations too. Sim Sitkin, Professor of Management, shared his thoughts on how organisations can best manage change in the following Fuqua Q&A.

Q) How should organisations deal with change?

“The biggest problem in most organisations is not with change itself, but with preparation and follow-up.  The most critical element in preparing for change is helping people understand why the change is needed. Leaders of an organisation may have taken months or even years to determine that a change is required and they expect their people, with very little explanation or preparation, to not only embrace the change but really understand the motivation behind it and how it was chosen from among alternatives. The biggest issue for organisations is clarifying and motivating around why change is needed.

Another thing that needs significant thought in advance, is understanding why people might resist change and making sure their concerns are addressed. Some concerns may just require more information to clarify why they are not warranted. Others may surface valid issues and discussion and resolution of them may even improve plans.”

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