CIBE Advisory Board Spotlight: Maurice Kogon

LMU CIBE advisory board member Maurice Kogon’s illustrious 60-year career in international business includes teaching international business courses, consulting for U.S. and international clients, and over 30 years with the U.S. Department of Commerce. He has written and lectured extensively on international trade and recently published a book, “Roadmap to Export Success: Take Your Company from Local to Global,” which compiles tools and resources from Kogon’s considerable experience in the international business field. CIBE asked Kogon questions about the book as well as his work on the CIBE advisory board.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had previously written similar works on exporting, Exporting Basics and Export FAQs, although neither is as comprehensive as the new book. After those earlier publications, I took on two extensive projects that significantly broadened my understanding of exporters’ needs and how to address them more effectively. I wanted to make use of this extended knowledge from the two projects.

Just to elaborate on the influencer projects, the first involved a collaboration with the Milken Institute (MI) to develop and direct a regional new-to-export initiative — New-to-Export (NTE) 101-LA). The program, aimed at Los Angeles area manufacturers not yet exporting, was designed to get more of them to start and expand export activity. In 2011, I testified before Congress on the need for such a program, but there were no takers. Several years later, MI’s Kevin Klowden approached me and said, “You’re right, let’s do this.” My new book incorporates many of the tools, resources and lessons learned from the MI NTE initiative.

Was there anything about this past year and the COVID-19 pandemic that influenced your perspective as you wrote the book?

The pandemic has had a major adverse impact on the world economy and U.S. exports. However, I knew recovery was bound to occur, and when that happened, things would start jumping. In particular, I thought companies might be more open to exporting as a growth engine, but would be no smarter than before on how to do it. What better time to write a new, how-to book on exporting?

You said you were looking to “give back to the business community” through this book. Can you tell us about that?

I’ve now spent over 60 years in the field of international trade and engaged in it from almost every conceivable angle – as a government public servant, educator, guest lecturer, developer of export tools, curator of trade information resources, practitioner, and author. After all that, it’s hard not to have learned a lot and have a lot to impart. So, as an octogenarian, faced with the choice of vegetating, recreating, or giving back by sharing what I know, it was a no-brainer for me. I welcome opportunities to be relevant in my field – to give advice, mentor students and businesses, lecture, serve on advisory boards, support programs, and any other activity where my contribution might be appreciated.

Tell us something about your experience being on the CIBE Advisory Board. I would imagine there is a commonality with the book in terms of giving back.

The board has been a gratifying experience for me. Before being tapped, I was already familiar with the nationwide CIBE/CIBER network. I was also already familiar with LMU’s International Business curriculum, thanks to Professor Anatoly Zhuplev’s invitations to guest lecture in his classes. For these reasons, I welcomed the opportunity to serve on LMU CIBE Board. It is also another way I can give back.

I provide a NASBITE and Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) connection, but I also bring a broader agenda. I have long felt that IB courses were taught too academically, and that more should be done to introduce practical content into the curricula. For example, the pure academic might say, fish are very nutritious, and here’s all the reasons why. The somewhat practical academic might say, fish are not only nutritious, but I’ll teach you how to fish so you can produce your own food. The even more pragmatic instructor might say, it’s not enough to learn how to fish, I’ll also help you get the tools to fish with — a rod, reel and bait – and the opportunity to apply what you learned.

What do you see in terms of what is happening at LMU CIBE, the scholarship and what is available for students, that ties in with your book and the idea of local companies going global?

I see an openness to ideas about infusing more practical content into existing courses and possibly adding new courses. I taught such a course at California State University Northridge awhile back and provided the CIBE with the syllabus I developed. Whether used or not, my book ties in directly with what the companies as well as the students will need to know and be able to do for mutual gain.

LMU’s Center for International Business Education is pleased to spotlight CIBE Advisory Board Member Maurice Kogon for his continued contributions to CIBE and to the field of international business.

Here is the link to his book Roadmap to Export Success: Take Your Company from Local to Global”