Keeping it Fresh
Cory Simek is a professor here at Webster University, and a Director for the Missouri office of the International Trade Administration. He was born in St. Louis, and got his Masters in International Business at St. Louis University. Here in the Walker School, he teaches International Business classes, and the MBA Capstone course. He has been teaching for 18 years, and is not about to stop any time soon. He said that if he won the lottery tomorrow, he would still be teaching. He explained that he’s always had a passion for teaching, that it keeps him fresh, and that he values the interactions in the classroom.
Although he began his career in business, he has always known that he would end up teaching. He is now grateful to be a part of both worlds. He said, “by teaching, you’ll force yourself to stay fresh in your field, bring your relevant experience into the classroom and better prepare people. The thrill of serving others is really what keeps me here.” He uses the things he has learned through his experiences, and shares them with his students.
Along with being in the classroom, he said that travelling and learning about other cultures keeps him fresh. He said that since he began his work in the business world at AT&T, he has always wanted to go international. “I spent my lunch hours walking up and down the hallway of the international department, just hoping to bump into the international VPs.” He said there is no easy way into working internationally, because so many people want to travel.
Last summer, Simek travelled to Saudi Arabia as acting deputy commercial officer for the U.S. embassy. He was also able to go to Ecuador recently thanks to a faculty grant from Webster University. He decided to observe something related to his Capstone class. The class teaches largely about strategic planning, so he compared how strategy is taught here in the U.S. and in Latin America. He shared some of the things he learned about the way they taught, and the resources they had. He uses the things that he learns when he travels in the classroom, and enjoys just sharing his experiences with his students. He said that if he could go anywhere in the world, he would like to visit Africa.
Simek recommends that everybody travels if they have the chance. When asked for a piece of advice for all students, he said that every student should learn a foreign language. It is a great advantage for anyone in business, and all you need is an app on your phone. He said that Spanish is a wise choice for anybody doing business in America, along with Chinese and Arabic. Simek speaks Korean and is working on learning Spanish right now.
Above all, he said to remember that “business is a calling. It’s a lot more than just trying to earn a paycheck, it’s a way that we can bring people closer together.”
“Business is a lot more than just trying to earn a paycheck, it’s a way that we can bring people closer together.”