DECATUR — As a prolific author and associate professor of international business at Millikin University, Mark Munoz has won his share of awards.
All of them are honors, but none have been quite so “mind-boggling” as the one he received in Dubai last month. Munoz received the 2012 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Academy of Global Business Advancement, which held its World Congress meeting on March 19-21.
“I couldn’t believe it, but I was very humbled and thrilled, at the same time, with the opportunity,” Munoz said.
Munoz has taught at the university since 2001, following a career that spanned several international companies and positions in multiple countries. He is the author of seven books, though he said he thinks it is his latest, published in 2010, that contributed to his recognition at the Dubai conference.
“Contemporary Microenterprise: Concepts and Cases” focuses on what Munoz said is a relatively new area of study: an extension of discussions about microfinance, already a “hot topic” in the business world.
“One of the findings I have in the book is the best way to help these very small businesses is to have a microenterprise zone. … House them together in one venue and provide support services, provide marketing support, technology support, to help them grow,” Munoz said.
Munoz used some of his time as a visiting fellow at Harvard University in 2009-10 to work on the book. Jim Dahl, dean of the Tabor School of Business and a longtime colleague of Munoz’s, said the topic is growing in importance on an international level.
“If you look at where job growth happens, most of the job growth happens not in the big companies but across all the many small and mid-size companies,” Dahl said. “There isn’t a lot of research in that area. Increasingly there is becoming a body of work, and Mark certainly is well-engaged in the forefront of that work.”
As part of his work at Millikin, Munoz teaches an International Business Consulting class that involves about a dozen students in international work.
Last year, students traveled to Italy to present their research to Academia Barilla, an offshoot of the large pasta company. In May, Munoz’s class will travel to the Republic of Zambia, where they plan to present research about microenterprise zones to government officials.
Munoz credits Millikin with allowing faculty members the freedom to engage in such projects.
“That’s kind of why I love it here, aside from having very supportive colleagues,” Munoz said. “They let the creative spirit thrive.”