According to Afshin Molavi, “Wherever we are going, we are going there fast.” In a recent talk Molavi gave on Belmont University’s campus to students, he encouraged them to be aware of how fast the world is changing and know that “we are living in an age of acceleration.” Molavi, who is a senior research fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, spoke to students about his work in global economics, how he see’s the world changing and how important it is to be aware of the world around us.
Molavi works in geo-political risk and economics and focused on relating information he has learned to students while advising them on how to make business choices and navigate the growing world. He shared five key trends he sees in the world that will shape our society in the future. One trend is that 85 percent of the world lives outside of what is commonly considered the West or western world. The realization of this trend led Molavi to co-found the emerge85 Lab that focuses on the markets in under-served populations.
Another significant trend Molavi explained was that 1.5 million people per week are moving to urban areas. He related this to Nashville and Tennessee specifically by explaining how Nashville is responsible for half of the gross domestic product of the state. He emphasized to students the importance of being aware of these trends, and more, and the implications they can have on our world.
Some advice Molavi had for students surrounded the Mike Tyson quote, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Molavi told students to “be resilient because punches will come no matter what you do. You have to be nimble in this world.”
Molavi also encouraged students to not get pigeonholed in whatever they are specializing in. “Try to have as macro of a horizon as you can, even if you specialize in something. Do the work, don’t fake it and be humble in what you don’t know.”
Molavi was brought to campus by the Center for International Business at Belmont University as a part of the International Executive Spotlight Series.