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International Business Leader Joins MBA Faculty

International business leader Steven Droll has joined Bethel University’s faculty as a professor in the MBA and business management programs.

Steven Droll has joined Bethel University’s faculty as a professor in the MBA and business management programs. Droll brings over 25 years of experience engaging with international businesses. He has conducted business in Europe, Israel, South America, and Australia, and has also done missionary work in Argentina/Guatemala. “I’ve lived in as many states as I have countries,” says Droll, who also has traveled extensively with his wife and two sons in their spare time.

MBA Program Director Bill Paxton says he is excited for the opportunities Droll’s rich, firsthand knowledge of international business will afford students in his program. “In the CAPS and GS business and leadership programs we hire practitioner scholars who have experience in what they teach. The students benefit from their real-world experience and stories. Dr. Droll exemplifies that,” he says. “[Droll’s] experience in finance, leadership, and entrepreneurship will be of great value to our students. So will his experience working with non-U.S. cultures. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, it is important for our students to learn to be intercultural.”

Droll has a B.S. in Financial Management from Clemson University, a Master of International Business Studies, Global Business/International Finance from the University of South Carolina, and an Executive Doctorate in Business, Organizational Leadership and Management from Georgia State University. He has gained experience working in mergers and international acquisitions, has served as the chief financial officer, vice president, and executive vice president for telecommunications and wireless companies, and most recently gained experience teaching a course in business ventures and entrepreneurship. 

Why this role, and why now?

In some way or another, I’ve always been a “teacher.” When you’re a leader of an organization you’re a leader, but you’re also a learner, and I’ve always enjoyed that. And so I wanted to get back to an academic environment. I will be the first to tell you I really do enjoy teaching online—it’s a whole different animal. But I also enjoy the face-to-face. Because I’ve worked in so many different countries, I’ve always had to be aware that the way we do business in the U.S. and the way they do business elsewhere is very different, and there may be times when you’re asked to or expected to behave in a manner that isn’t culturally comfortable for you. So I feel as though what attracted me most about Bethel’s MBA program was the global aspect of it.

What excites you most about Bethel’s integration of faith and leadership?

Bethel’s MBA program affords ways to strengthen the uniqueness of each individual person. Students all have a personal coach, and they benefit from dialogue with Christian professors. But more importantly, those professors have been out in the work world. They can share what it’s like to be a Christian in a work environment. When an MBA Global Leadership student is talking to someone who has personally launched a new business internationally—they benefit from the credibility and experiences of that instructor. So what I think Bethel does best is bring strong practitioners—who tell students what it takes to succeed—into a safe and supportive Christian environment. I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of that, and bring my own experiences and faith walk into the classroom.

How do you plan to leverage your intercultural experiences in the classroom?

It depends on the course, but in organizational leadership courses I can certainly talk to students about the things that I did successfully. For example, one company that I was working for ran into conflicts because they were a U.S. and Argentinian company, but the business leaders were basing most of their rules and regulations around U.S. culture. I told them we had to combine Argentinian practices and U.S. practices. I basically changed the whole culture of the organization. So I’ve walk the talk, and that’s what I’m going to bring to the classroom.

What is the best advice you have for students looking to work in global leadership? 

Protect your professional reputation. I always point to the biblical example of Job. He had every material possession taken away from him, but Job’s reputation as a man of God was the one thing that was so much a part of him that he didn’t want to do anything to ruin it. So what I want to tell students is "your reputation as a Christian is far most important in your business walk." Today, with social media, once your reputation is destroyed it’s almost impossible to bring it back to full restoration.

What opportunities do you see for Christian business men and women to live out their faith in the workplace?

Good business leaders can be most effective when they are following Christian values. When you think about it, Jesus was a leader. He knew how to be firm, and he knew how to lead by example, but at the same time he knew how to have a level of compassion. So I’m excited to help students find their Christian walk with working in an environment that often does not support their values. Living out your faith as a leader doesn’t mean that you’re constantly walking around professing your faith—a lot of times that actually hurts your mission field. But you can use your faith to live in a way that inspires others to come to you and ask “How do you handle the stress of…?” Balance your work and Christian life, and others will seek you out and follow you.

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