Global Cosmopolitans: Why You Need Them and How to Spot Them

The kind of brilliant, culturally aware talent that we global mobility professionals are looking for can be summed up in one important and newly-defined term: “Global Cosmopolitans.”

The term itself is a give-away. A Global Cosmopolitan is a hardworking, smart professional who has made the world her home. Chances are she was part of an ethnic community in her country of birth. Then her education happened in other nations where her parents were either working or sent her to school. Then after graduation, she hopped the career ladder by moving within several branches of an MNC (read: multinational corporation).

She is a valuable asset because she has the sought-after skills — the communication proficiency, fluency in several languages, heightened adaptability, and greater appreciation of cultural diversity. Beyond that, the superiors and colleagues of Global Cosmopolitans have noted that these unique professionals can think out-of-the-box, come up with creative solutions despite limited resources, and break down complex challenges into workable manageable projects.

What are the traits that make these Global Cosmopolitans stand out? With or without their resume in your hand, you can immediately spot who they are just after a half-hour of conversation:

  • They are quick learners who can immediately grasp the intricacies of a project, the subtle communication cues in a culture, the unspoken rules in an organization, and the theories and practical application of a new course or study. Moreover, they just don’t take to learning like duck to water – they look for it and thrive in an education-friendly environment.
  • They are constantly reinventing themselves. Unlike most professionals who prefer the steady and the predictable, Global Cosmopolitans actually embrace change and their own different roles in it. They can be an IT geek one month, and then a sociable cocktail networker the next.
  • They bring a brand new way of thinking in solving the toughest tasks. They are able to see things from a perspective that has escaped others. They are astute problem-fixers and puzzle-solvers.

You must also be equally creative in finding these Global Cosmopolitans. Some of them come from Ivy League schools, others have nestled themselves in the sophisticated tech hubs of Northern California, while others are jewels in the rough in places you may never even have considered looking at.

In one head-hunting experience, a mobility professional recalls, “On a recent trip to the slums of Mumbai, I encountered extreme poverty and at the same time encountered people that spoke three languages, have lived in very different cultural contexts in India, and have learned through necessity the skills of being an entrepreneur.”

A Global Cosmopolitan who has made the world her village can be found in each of its unique corner. And encountering one is always part of the fun and challenge of a global mobility professional.