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Emmanuel Metais, MBA director at Edhec, says managers are facing ever wider and more complex threats from criminal and terrorist elements. Hence the need to enhance the awareness and assessment skills round criminal risk at all levels in business education is becoming more acute.

“It’s definitely crucial, and for many reasons. The dark side of the economy is increasing in the world since the power of the nation states is decreasing. This is not a political claim, just a matter of fact.

“As globalisation occurs, companies have to face more and more criminal actors, which in some countries are socially accepted, and sometimes even supported [by political forces],” he says.

The risks inevitably increase for the expatriate manager, even in countries considered safe and under the rule of law, because of myriad cultural, legal and social differences. But in more hostile environments, the risks rise dramatically.

“When doing business abroad, depending on the country and industry, criminal risks in some cases constitute the single most important factor regarding profitability, success or failure,” says Prof Metais.

Criminals repeatedly prove to be innovative and adept at using modern technology, meaning it is a full-time job merely trying to keep up with trends.

In some commercial sectors, companies can decide to ignore markets because of the influence of organised crime.

“If you want to go into retail in Italy, or construction in New York, or waste management in Japan, you are very likely to encounter organised crime,” says Prof Monnet, head of Edhec’s Research Centre into Criminal Risk Management.

So many businesses of course, stay out. But the ever increasing demand for the finite supplies of commodities, such as oil, mean companies know that they have to take risks. “Oil is in the Niger Delta, not Switzerland,” notes Prof Monnet dryly.

The business world, naturally, is aware of this.

“The Edhec chair in risk management is sponsored by companies because their needs are definitely growing in this field. I am sure that the demand for this kind of programme will increase, for graduates as well as executives, just as there will be more and more career opportunities in this area,” says Prof Metais.

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