Marvin Zonis is Professor Emeritus, the Graduate School of Business, The University of Chicago.
At Chicago’s Business School, Zonis teaches courses on International Political Economy, and Leadership. He was the first professor at the Business School to teach a course on the effects of digital technologies on global business. He also consults to corporations and professional asset management firms throughout the world, helping them to identify, assess, and manage their political risks in the changing global environment. Zonis is a co-founder and Chairman of DSD, a software development company based in Moscow and Chicago. He is a member of the Board of Directors of CNA Financial, the global insurance and financial services firm, and the Board of Directors of Go2Call, a VoIP company. He is a member of the U.S. Comptroller General’s Board of Advisors for the General Accountability Office, a Fellow of Diamond Technology and Management Consultants, Inc., a global technology consulting firm, a member of the Board Trustees of the Institute for Psychoanalysis, the Board of Directors of the Fondation Etats Unis, Paris and the Board of Advisers of the Centre for Business Management, Queen Mary University of London.
What unites these activities is Zonis’ unique awareness of the intersections of politics, economics, emergent technologies and leadership. He argues that accelerating technological developments drive globalization both economically and politically and necessitate, more than ever, effective business leadership. Economically, cross border financial flows and business outsourcing to lower cost countries, for example, are major factors driving the global economy. Politically, country instability and terrorism, for example, are major factors driving global politics. The intersection of these and other forces, such as demography, determine prospects for economic growth and business success. In the face of these global challenges, business leadership, and a true understanding of what defines leadership, is more essential than ever.
Zonis has written extensively on globalization, digital technologies, emerging markets, Middle Eastern politics, the oil industry, Russia, and U.S. foreign policy. He is a leading authority on the Middle East, and has spent the last 40 years studying the volatile mix of Islam, terrorism, and the Middle East. He is the former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. He has lived in Iran, hitchhiked through Afghanistan in the 1960s, studied Islam in Iraq beginning in 1964, and has traveled extensively throughout other parts of the region, as well.
His writings have been published, among other places, in The Financial Times, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Chief Executive Magazine, La Vanguardia, The Boston Globe, and the Japanese journal Nikkei Weekly. His books include The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis Driven World, The Eastern European Opportunity, Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah, Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and The Political Elite of Iran.
Zonis has appeared on numerous network television news programs, including Nightline, and CNN's Larry King Live and is interviewed regularly on National Public Radio. He is the International Editor of WBBM-TV, Chicago and was the Middle East Consultant to ABC/Capital Cities television.
He was educated at Yale University, the Harvard Business School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. in Political Science, and the Institute for Psychoanalysis, Chicago, where he received psychoanalytic training.