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Friday, May 24, 2024

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Diplomatic Careers in the Private Sector

Among the professions that are currently in high demand, there is one that is rarely discussed in Poland, and the reason is clear: those who pursue it do not live in the country, and very few professionals embark on such careers.

The fact is that many more such professionals are needed, but unfortunately, there is a lack of courses and schools to train them. Companies themselves realize the need for an IBNM (International Business Networking Manager) only when they go abroad and feel its absence.

Polish institutions abroad also lack the ability to train professionals for the private sector, as diplomatic careers are primarily directed towards public administration. The only real “training grounds” to learn the trade are companies that organize large international events (such as major international fairs) or, if one is very lucky, finding an internship at a structured Business Agency that can offer the opportunity to participate in a project.

Why is the role of the IBNM gaining ground in Poland and Europe in general?

To answer this question, let’s take a moment to consider for instance the profession of a personal shopper. Which lady, given the opportunity to hire one, would give it up? (Moreover, shopping with a husband or boyfriend often resembles more of a punishment than real assistance).

In this case, like the personal shopper, to be a good Business Networker requires a very complex variety of knowledge, in-depth experience and innate skills.

In particular, the International Business Networker must be able to use all the tools to navigate smoothly in the “digital world” without becoming a prisoner of it. They must also be able to operate in all the contexts of the “real world” that matter, and to do so, they must know the languages, customs and traditions of a specific country, which, of course, presents us with a trade-off: it is certainly possible to know a lot about many countries, but not to be an expert in everything.

But if we are talking about a full-fledged profession, how can these skills be “certified” in a world that likes to define and catalog everything?

This is where the charm of the IBNM lies: s/he is like an architect without houses, an urban planner without cities and a detective without a crime. Above all, this must be a diplomat without a real embassy; in fact, they can have many embassies and their mission can be of various kinds.

There are no degree courses, no real schools, and no courses that can be purchased online. After all, it would be really difficult (although not impossible) to set one up in a way that is internationally recognized. Shared standards are still missing, there is no register or codification of the main canons.

What are the most common applications of the work of an International Networker, given the diverse areas? 

The most natural task would be to help a company position itself in another country, for example, to be identified as a local player. This requires high-level networking since entering sometimes very exclusive environments requires a constant presence on-site, as well as meeting the minimum requirements to be part of them.

Another typical mission is to help a company interact with institutions (such as foreign Chambers of Commerce, or consular or governmental agencies, such as PAIH) or even those of other countries. Consider that almost always an institutional office abroad has very few employees who have to deal (free of charge) with a considerable number of diverse requests.

The IBNM plays a very valuable role in allowing a company to interact even with institutions in its own country. The internationalization process of an event or a fair is also a classic challenge for the work of a skilled Networker.

Major international fairs have long relied on so-called “agents” who can network in a given country because to be recognized as reliable in certain environments, connections and relational networks that can only be developed on-site are required. The road is not easy and the apprenticeship for a professional Networker is long and challenging. But it’s worth it, considering that this type of work is not replaceable by any artificial intelligence, at least until machines can communicate directly with each other.

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