Training Tomorrow's International Negotiators

MLB Program Virtual Negotiation Stretches around the Globe.

In what has become a regular feature of the MLB program, students in the negotiation course conducted a two-week negotiation simulation with their counterparts at the Graduate School of Management (GSM), Kyoto University, Japan. Overcoming the unique challenges of electronic communication – and a seven hour time difference – student participants were called upon to face down their opposing interests and find the necessary common ground to forge a fictional partnership effort between the two sides.

Student motivation was furthered by a 300 Euro award offered for the best overall agreement. The prize was won this year by MLB students Inna Kruschuk (Ukraine) and Anna Engelgardt (Russia), who teamed together against GSM student Phuong Pham (Vietnam). Summing up the process of negotiation as a value-creating exercise, Inna observed, “This simulation has shown that the ability to find a compromise and to consider the interests of the counterparty helps to achieve results capable of reaching beyond even your own expectations." Confirming this assessment, Anna added, “I have definitely developed a new appreciation for the process of negotiation. And thanks to Phuong, I now also know that Kyoto used to be the imperial capital of Japan.”

In addition to the 23 countries already represented by the MLB program, GSM participants included students from Vietnam, Nepal, the Philippines and India as well as representatives from other Asian countries such as China, South Korea, and Japan, making for an exercise that literally reached into every corner of the world.

The simulation has been coordinated and conducted since 2011 by Michael Friedman, lecturer with the MLB program, and Professor Will Baber of the GSM. With the simulation the instructors aim to expose students to the special demands placed upon negotiators in the modern word, where relationships, agreements and trust often need to be crafted at a distance and across borders and cultures.