Jakub Wondreys: it’s important for students to know how business and culture are related around the world

Jakub Wondreys recently finished a PhD at the University of Georgia, USA, focussed on populism and the far right. Having moved back to Europe last year to be closer to home, he’s currently combining his second year teaching at NEWTON with completing a postdoc at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies at TU Dresden. Here he explains why a good knowledge of international systems and cultures is vital for anyone wanting to do business in a global setting.

What classes are you teaching this upcoming semester?

This term I’m teaching a class called Political and Cultural Aspects of Global Business, which combines political economy with a broader cultural framework.

How does that tie in with the ambitions and goals of students on the Global Business and Management programme?

It’s a global business programme, so it’s important that students know how systems, institutions and cultures vary around the world. If they set up their own business, it will be useful as they will be able to compare different places to operate, but it will also be useful if they want to work internationally in any context — for example, if they want to relocate to the US they need to know that there’s no universal healthcare and that business works very differently, which is partially because of cultural differences – these things are all interconnected. 

What are you excited about this upcoming term?

I’ve been enjoying re-reading some of the seminal works in political economy in preparation for teaching this class. These are challenging texts to read and comprehend, so it’s interesting to be working on how to make the topic engaging and accessible for students. 

What is your current research focus?

I’ve started a postdoc position at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies at TU Dresden — I applied for the position with a project, which is what I’m working on now. It’s centred on party reactions to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with an emphasis on the radical right and radical left in Europe. It’s more comparative than my normal work. I’m not a radical left scholar, but I know there are some common traits between the radical left and the radical right, and that’s something else I hope to explore — and also to compare them both to mainstream parties. The project will last three years, so that’s my main focus right now.