The specialist and the generalist in Foreign Trade

The Specialist and Generalist in Foreign Trade

The specialist and the generalist in Foreign Trade

The specialist and the generalist in Foreign Trade

The international market needs, more and more, professionals with broad vision of the world and able to correlate diverse elements that involve people, materials, resources and technical competence to achieve the proposed objective, that knows each area of the company and is always able to act in each department if necessary.

Specialist or generalist in Foreign Trade? In the complex and diversified international trade market, which is the better?

The answer seems to be generalist. A generalist is a person who is capable of being a specialist in interacting with various areas, having a holistic view of your organization and profession in general. It can be said that it is the professional who jumps from department to department to gain knowledge of each area, a multipurpose administrator, a multiprofessional.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of being a specialist or a generalist?

One of the disadvantages of being an specialist is that companies are looking to reduce costs and so they are looking for people who know a lot of things so they do not have to hire one to solve that specific issue. The second downside is that the specialty you have chosen may be just a fad that will let you move professionally.

The advantages of being a multiprofessional are easier to find job opportunities and the possibility of managing positions.

Some companies, in euphoria, and others, by extreme necessity, unaware of the complexity of the foreign trade business, embark on the new activity without worrying about a proper business structure or the training and competence of its professionals.

Results with dramatic consequences are not uncommon: problems in exporting, difficulties to trigger defaulting buyers, shipments that are not paid, goods that are not shipped abroad or received in default, taxes and fees not foreseen, losses resulting from the exchange policy.

It is of fundamental importance that every entrepreneur, who is willing to trade with the outside world, seeks to acquire minimum skills that allow him to know the peculiarities of the commercial business that he intends to carry out. Otherwise, instead of a business, you may be starting an adventure!

By the way, it is good to remember that:

– in foreign trade, there is no place for amateurism; or whether he is a professional or does not do foreign trade.

– in foreign trade, decisions must be taken with absolute certainty; “I think”, “I thought it was”, “it should be like this”, among others, are expressions that should be banished from the vocabulary of the foreign trade professional.

Modern, both in domestic trade and in foreign trade, the businessman and the professional must always be attentive to the whole universe of the operation. Defects and failures can not be assigned to department “a”, “b” or “c”. Departments and their specialists in medium and large companies are a mere organizational necessity.


The specialist and the generalist in Foreign Trade

Companies that operate in international trade seem to need generalists, who understand many things, not specialists, who understand much of one thing. To know the whole is not only important – it is indispensable. This is globalization! Any problem that occurs with the operation will not be a problem for the “x department” or “y department” – it will be a company problem!

It is also essential that the entrepreneur is surrounded by creative professionals, especially in times of crisis. The modern world globalizes crises and solutions. And live globalization! But are you prepared for it? Or will you be a victim of it?


You can read more articles on international trade on the Intradebook blog:

Image: Commisceo Global

Based on an article by Angelo Lunardi and in and

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