Hinrich Foundation and RMIT University launch first Master of Global Trade
Asian talent to drive the sustainable transformation of global value chains
The Hinrich Foundation today announced the launch of the first-ever Master of Global Trade to develop the next generation of global trade leaders at RMIT’s Saigon South campus.
This 15-month program was developed by RMIT University Vietnam in partnership with the Hinrich Foundation and nearly 20 leading employers from across global trade value chains, to train graduates with the strategic foresight and exceptional management skills required to drive the sustainable transformation of global value chains. The program will be delivered by professors with lifelong careers in global trade.
Founder and Chairman of the Hinrich Foundation Merle A. Hinrich said: “We created the Master of Global Trade program to develop the talent that will drive the sustainable transformation of trade and global value chains in Asia, in a context of significant disruptions and technological change.”
The transformation of global value chains has already started. The notable drivers of change include:
- The declining importance of labor-cost arbitrage in trade. Automation is reducing the importance of labor costs in production decisions. Economies can no longer rely on labor-intensive exports as a development strategy. Asian growth models and competitive advantages need to be redefined and become more sustainable.
- The reshaping of global value chains by cross-border data flows and new technologies, including artificial intelligence, IoT, automation and robotisation, requiring highly skilled labor.
- The rapid growth of trade in services which already generate significant economic value in Asia, as measured in a recent Hinrich Foundation report .
- Domestic consumption growth in Asia. Goods produced in-country are being distributed locally while exports are declining. Companies now need to integrate their production and distribution strategies and build more comprehensive domestic supply chains.
- Heightened trade risks and changing trade and production patterns related to geopolitical factors. The China-US trade war and technology rivalry are changing trade patterns and may transform the nature of work.
To succeed in this complex, fast-changing and knowledge-intensive environment, companies in trade need to become more agile and innovative. They need to have the human resources that can deal with this constant disruption.
RMIT Master of Global Trade Program Manager Steve Clarke said: “Firms must adjust their approaches to production, distribution and risk management. For that, they need uniquely trained talent with an understanding of trade, geopolitics, risk analysis, financial management
and sustainability”. According to trade employers, this need is currently not being adequately met.
This talent shortage inspired RMIT University and the Hinrich Foundation to pioneer a new approach to developing next-generation global trade leaders. The Master of Global Trade is a program by employers, for employers. According to Hinrich Foundation Program Director Alex Boome: “We engaged trade employers in designing the Master of Global Trade program. We used a very practical, unique approach to curriculum development. The program will deliver the foundational knowledge and skills required to succeed in leadership positions in trade companies.”
Some of the Employer Partners who participated in the creation of the program include leading companies such as Avery Dennison, Siemens Healthcare, Samsung, Nestle, VF Corp, QV Seafoods, Talentnet, HSBC, Red Square, Franke, Luen Thai, NaFoods, Duc Thang Wood and KMPG. These companies and others are planning to enroll their staff in the Master of Global Trade in February 2020 when classes begin.
For the launch of this program, the Hinrich Foundation is offering scholarships to support the participation of 25 future trade leaders.
 According to a recent Hinrich Foundation report, digital trade already contributes significantly to Vietnam’s domestic sectors today with an estimated annual economic impact of VND 97 trillion (US$4.3 billion), this could grow more than 11-fold and reach VND 953 trillion (US$42 billion) by 2030. Some of the biggest beneficiaries coming from outside the digital sector, such as in infrastructure and manufacturing. At VND 953 trillion (US$42 billion), digital exports constitute 2% of the country’s total exports, and if it were a sector, would rank as Vietnam’s 8th largest export sector by export value. If digital trade barriers are reduced, the contribution of the digital goods and services sector to the country’s total export value will grow almost 7 times by 2030