Albers School of Business and Economics
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Graduate Programs Blog Post

  • “You’re only as good as the people around you”: Costco President last Tuesday at Albers.

    A candid speaker, Craig Jelinek, addressed the audience of students, faculty and staff members in the Pigott Auditorium, yesterday afternoon here at Albers.

    In one of Albers’ Executive Speakers sessions, Jelinek, the Fortune-500 company President shared the company’s future in terms of further global expansion. Costco is already a multinational company, with presence in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia: bringing to each and every one of these places its differentiating factor of major volume sales at competing prices. Jelinek sustains that this has been its main point of difference and success at its various locations around the world.

    Furthermore, the executive points the direction towards which the company will be gravitating for the next few years, both geographically and economically. Costco will continue to grow strong in Asia, where it has had considerable business success since it began, and is currently looking to expand to two other nations of the E.U.: Spain and France. The challenges, as the executive exposes, range from regulation to reaching cost-effectiveness in countries where property and living standards are high. He, nevertheless, assures that the potential that the company has seen in these locations serves to encourage them to find ways to make the business work there.

    One of his continuous focuses throughout his presentation and in his subsequent interaction with a panel of students, alumni, and the audience, is the importance of people within the organization as key actors to achieve its goals. He closes the presentation by enthusiastically declaring that for Costco, their people are their strongest asset. Building trust, helping people succeed, providing them with the best means to attain their goals, is the only way to subsequently contribute to the organization’s attainment of its goals.

    Finally, when asked about some of the challenges that a multinational corporation faces when going into foreign countries, Jelinek argues that communication is always one of the major issues. Furthermore, he makes a strong emphasis on how it is not sufficient to try to go into a new market, namely a new country, by merely sending “ex-pats”, as he calls them, but true success will only come from really connecting with the locals, finding people who “understand the culture and will buy into what you’re doing”.

    Written by Natalia Varela Donado. varelado@seattleu.edu

     

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