M.B.A. Student Works on Private Development in West African Nation

By Purnell T. Cropper | August 10, 2010

By Sarah R. Schwartz ’10

As the Principal and CEO of Constance Financial Group LLC (CFG), Graeme S. Woods is pursuing an M.B.A. with a Global Perspective at Arcadia University to advance his knowledge of business and to enhance the success of his company.

On Aug. 28, he partners with the Republic of Liberia and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. on a session in Philadelphia designed to spur private investment in this west African nation.

Constance Financial Group LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser founded in 1998, offers an extensive range of commercial finance options and international trade and development consulting services to small and medium-sized enterprises. Recently the company was selected by the OPIC to serve as an originator for a growing alliance with the private sector designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises expanding into emerging markets overseas. OPIC supports U.S. investment in emerging markets worldwide, fostering development and the growth of free markets.

Along with the Republic of Liberia, Constance Financial Group is hosting a Liberian Business Development Forum in Philadelphia on Aug. 28. The grant and financing opportunity session will include information on OPIC/USAID matching grants in the Africa Technical Assistance Program as well as OPIC/Enterprise Development Network business financing information. For more information, e-mail constancefg@gmail.com. Visit https://sites.google.com/a/constancefg.com/liberian-business-development-forum/ or  www.transitionaltrade.org.

Woods has more than a decade of experience in business development activities, so pursuing his M.B.A. with a Global Perspective at Arcadia is just the next step in his already strong international résumé. He served eight years in the U.S. Army as a Civil Affairs Specialist and earned a B.B.A. in Finance and International Business Administration from Temple University. Woods also holds a real estate license and a series 65 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“I am a lifelong learner. I have a need for more in-depth study on management theory, policy, and procedure,” he says. “In undergraduate business school, I learned foundations of business. Now I am honing what I’ve learned as an undergraduate and in my career and adding to my body of knowledge.”

As an international business consultant, Woods deals with similar issues he encounters in the classroom and is beginning to analyze his personal business practices in order to take his enterprises to the next level.

“I have taken our lessons in cultural intelligence and have recognized a lack of cultural understanding in some of the people I do business with,” he says. “This is important because their understanding of cultural issues and willingness to learn and adapt to those issues has a large bearing on the future success of their project. I have to understand this as a consultant, and I understand it better now, academically, because of Arcadia’s M.B.A. program.”