What is Global Acumen? Meaning & Examples

Global Acumen literally means competence in worldly affairs, while in its popular business context, it is a trending term that refers to the intuitive understanding of how a business operates on an international level. It includes comprehension of global markets and what differences drive the company’s profitability within each of these markets.

How Global Acumen differs from Business Acumen

Business Acumen, which is a more common concept than Global Acumen, is the ability to demonstrate an understanding of how a business operates and how it makes money within their specific industry. Global Acumen is essentially an extension of this principle in that it covers all the different international markets the company operates in, as opposed to just a single domestic market.

Examples of Global Acumen

  • Understanding of how geopolitical news events can affect a company’s profitability and working methods within several countries.
  • Comprehension of how currency fluctuation affects purchases and sales across company portfolio.
  • Knowing how business decisions will affect supplier and customer relations in all served markets.
  • Recognition of how language barriers can be overcome when planning long-term development as well as in day-to-day operations.
  • Understanding of how legal jurisdictions can vary between different countries and therefore how the business can comply with differences in regulations.
  • Knowing how working cultures can differ between nations so that you can maintain appropriate conduct when practicing abroad.
  • Ensuring thorough localisation of products and services to drive sales within specific regions.

Companies looking for Global Acumen

Any company which operates across several international markets will be looking to recruit applicants who can demonstrate a solid grasp of Global Acumen.

The most prominent example of a company which advocates for Global Acumen is the multinational professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). They see Global Acumen as a core part of their framework, which includes leadership qualities and technical understanding.

How Global Acumen is measured

Although Global Acumen is an intuitive concept there are tools which can be used to measure how effectively an individual may be able to work in an international environment. For instance the Cultural Orientations Indicator (COI) by the Cultural Navigator is a paid resource which can help highlight where you need to improve on your awareness to global issues as well as strengthening your existing business relationships.

Once you have completes the three assessments on interaction, thinking comprehension and sense of self you will be presented with a report that breaks down how your results compare with averages across different countries. This highlights common cultural differences and similarities, thus educating you on how you can adapt your thinking when dealing with different nations. Moreover if you took the COI as part of a workplace initiative you will be compared with your peers to highlight where team-wide improvements need to be made.

Global Acumen interview questions

The following interview questions are examples of how organisations will assess your Global Acumen skills, note that this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Describe a time you actively sought different perspectives to solve a problem.
  • How can the company benefit from [a piece of recent economic news]?
  • Tell us about a time when you shared your experience to help others
  • In the light of recent global economic news, how can the company benefit & what challenges lie ahead?
  • Tell us about a time you have showcased your leadership skills to a large number of people?
  • How would you define global acumen with relevance to your professional role?
  • Do you have any role models within the industry? If so why do they inspire you?