Dr. Balbir Bhasin of Fort Smith, the Ross Pendergraft Endowed Professor of International Business in the College of Business at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, presented a synopsis Nov. 16 of his recent book, “Doing Business in the ASEAN Countries,” at the Pendergraft Faculty Research Seminar.
The Pendergraft Faculty Research Seminar series is a monthly forum where business faculty present work in progress and related research streams to business faculty and students for feedback and review.
Dr. Steve Williams of Fort Smith, dean of the College of Business, said this Pendergraft Faculty Research Seminar was “slightly different” than usual.
“The audience of 40 faculty, students and UAFS Foundation guests were treated to ASEAN cuisine prepared by Dr. Bhasin’s wife, Marisha,” said Williams.
ASEAN dishes, such as Singaporean chicken rice, Vietnamese spring rolls, oriental shrimp and mango salad, Indonesian koropok (shrimp crackers), Malaysian kuih bengka (tapioca cake), Filipino custard cake, and coconut water, were served to participants.
Bhasin’s presentation focused on the 10 countries making up the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Dr. Bhasin told the audience that collectively the ASEAN countries comprise a huge market of over half a billion people, with a total land area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined domestic product in excess of $1.1 trillion and total trade of over $1.4 trillion,” said Williams.
According to Bhasin, to succeed in doing business with the ASEAN block, businesses and countries need to be familiar with their unique business environment, including political and business systems, cultural idiosyncrasies, management practices, social structures, legal frameworks, government priorities, potential competition, establishing relationships and selecting partners, and dealing with corruption and other ethical pitfalls.
In addition to business faculty and students, the UAFS Foundation invited Donnie D. Pendergraft, wife of the late Ross Pendergraft, to the seminar. Professor Bhasin’s position as the Ross Pendergraft Endowed Professor of International Business was made possible by a generous gift to UAFS in 2005 by Donnie Pendergraft. Mrs. Pendergraft’s contribution to the UAFS Foundation established professorships in the College of Business in memory of her late husband, Ross, and in honor of their son, Neal.
Other guests included Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor; Dr. Ray Wallace, UAFS provost; Dr. Marta Loyd, vice chancellor for university advancement and executive director of the UAFS Foundation; Sam T. Sicard, president of First National Bank; and Russell Apple, senior vice president of First National Bank.
Bhasin thanked Mrs. Pendergraft for her support, noting that UAFS is now one of the few universities in the United States requiring international business studies for all business students, which Bhasin said showed “commitment and courage.”