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Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron joined FIU students and alumni for a conversation.

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David Cameron, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, shared his views on the intersection of politics and business in today’s world during a Q&A with students, alumni and business leaders at FIU’s College of Business. The event, held April 25, was hosted by the FIU Logistics Program.

“Imagine you’re leaving university today to face the world,” said Cameron, who served as prime minister from 2010 to 2016. “You realize how hard it is to work in business and politics. One bad tweet could end your business. A negative news story could ruin your brand.”

The former prime minister noted that it’s harder today for business to expand into other markets due to a variety of factors.

Bill Hardin, David Cameron and Greg Maloney

Bill Hardin, David Cameron and Greg Maloney

“In the 90s you could grow anywhere, now it’s completely different,” said Cameron. “What about this risk? This country? Climate change? It’s a more difficult world.”

Moderator Greg Maloney, director of the MS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management program at FIU Business, asked Cameron what skills are most important for logistics students.

“Lots of skills are essential, but judgment is the most important,” said Cameron. “It’s not just about maximizing profits. Decisions need to be made quickly. Compartmentalize and find the time to make decisions.”

David Cameron and Business students

Lucas Pedrianes-Eche, a student at Miami Springs Senior High School and future FIU logistics student, asked Cameron how he anticipates the use of AI will impact the world of supply chain and logistics.

“Things like AI have enormous power as a defensive mechanism,” Cameron said, citing cyberattacks as a major threat to businesses. But he warned the tool should not be used in place of critical thinking. “During COVID-19, it was a failure of judgment for people to assume the PPE (personal protective equipment) would be there. AI has a role, but common sense is more important.”

Sebastian Paez, a student and president of the Logistics and Supply Management Association at FIU Business, asked Cameron if relying on other nations could impact current economic conditions in the U.S. or lead to a recession, using the current semiconductor shortage as an example.

“Globalization is undergoing a course correction,” said Cameron. “Not a full reversal, but if you’re a business, you’re thinking about the markets you can be thriving in. Double down on international cooperation.”

Megan Staubitz, senior foundation relations officer at Airlink, wanted to know how using emerging technology can support efforts to send humanitarian aid into areas of conflict.

“The opportunity to use tech to deliver aid is massive,” said Cameron. “You can instantly deliver digital payments directly to people’s phones or use drones to deliver medicine.”