Professor Walter Hutchens joined the faculty of the University of Redlands in January 2013 as the inaugural holder of the University Endowed Chair in Global Business.
Areas of Expertise
After more than a decade of teaching in American business schools, his teaching portfolio includes courses on the global, legal and political environments of business as well as doing business with China.
Hutchens says his International Business class is first a broad "horizontal" examination of the ways transactions are different when they cross borders—how differences in language, culture, political systems, legal systems, economic systems, currency and other matters affect commerce. Then, the class pivots to a deeper "vertical" examination of certain key markets to ground the broad concepts in specific, important cases.
The later half of the course focuses particularly on India and China. which together comprise half the world's population and two contrasting examples of economic development and governance. He believes all business students should know more about China given its likely impact on their careers. As he stresses in classes, China is now the world's leading market for many goods and services, the "world's factory," a key destination for portfolio capital, an increasingly important source of outbound FDI and investment capital, plus an important country for global politics, culture and the environment.
He describes his business law classes as "law appreciation" classes that examine how law not only constrains business operations but also enables modern commerce. "Business people over their careers will almost certainly enter into and perform contracts, have employees, acquire property, be involved in mergers or acquisitions and be subjected to regulation. It is important that they gain some understanding of basic legal doctrines and ways that law can assist or hinder them."
Hutchens says teaching courses focused on China is a particular delight for him. He enjoys sharing the knowledge he has built over more than twenty years of effort to understand the "middle kingdom." Often, he says, students begin with little prior knowledge of China but like him come to have an abiding interest in the immense, ever-changing and consequential subject of China and what its economic development means for the world.
Courses Offfered at Redlands
- Government and Business in China (BUS 451)
- China's Financial System (a May Term course)
- International Business (BUS 336) as well as the senior capstone.
Previously he worked for five years in Beijing, first as a lawyer facilitating cross-border transactions and later as an academic helping operate joint Sino-American MBA programs. He has helped a leading American law school deliver a summer program in China and does occasional consulting work related to China.
As an instructor he has lead six study-abroad programs to China. He first travelled to Asia as a student participating in a study abroad program that placed him in China on June 4, 1989. He later attended the Princeton in Beijing language program and studied Chinese law in Shanghai.
His research focus is comparative commercial law, particularly financial market regulation and the development of securities markets and business law in China. He has made presentations or appeared on panels discussing China at the Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, the Wharton China Conference and at the annual conference of the Association of Asian Studies and the Academy of Legal Studies in Business.