Ben Barth - Grok Global

Leadership Team

Ben Barth

Associate Director

“I associate “international education” with all the experiences I had as an exchange student studying in Hong Kong when I was an undergrad. It’s one of the greatest opportunities to open someone’s mind, change the way they see the world, and how they interact with it.”


When did you join Grok?
2014

Describe yourself in three words.
Energetic, curious, invested.

What were you doing before working at Grok?
I was a Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and then served as Trade Commissioner and Acting Vice Consul at the Canadian Consulate in Guangzhou. Prior to moving to China I worked in finance and corporate strategy in Toronto.

What was your first job in education?
During my tenure with the Embassy and Consulate I helped Canadian institutions and governments understand China’s education system, key local trends, and how they could identify and engage with the relevant parties in the sector in China.

What does international education mean for you?
I associate “international education” with all the experiences I had as an exchange student studying in Hong Kong when I was an undergrad. It’s one of the greatest opportunities to open someone’s mind, change the way they see the world, and how they interact with it.

What is something interesting you have learned while working at Grok?
I’ve learned what working in a global business environment really means. On a given day I may have a call with a US west coast client early in the morning, calls with New Zealand and Australia before lunch, chats with Malaysia and India in the afternoon, and with Canadian and US east coast clients at night. It’s exhausting but I love it.

What is one of the most satisfying outcomes you’ve helped a client to achieve?
I’m most proud of helping an underperforming staff member turn around their performance and evolve into a consummate Grokker and awesome student recruiter for that client. A close second is the time I found myself making follow up calls with applicants for a client. It was a unique set of circumstances, but I really got into it and ended up convincing several applicants to enroll at our client institution over its peers.

Why is it important for institutions to have an on the ground presence in China or SE Asia?
When Apple or Deloitte or Pepsi want to promote their products or services in a particular country, they don’t send someone to visit twice a year. They put a team on the ground because they realize that’s what is necessary in order to build the local relationships, develop the local market familiarity, and to service the local market with the same care and attention they give to their home market.

What is your favourite book?
The book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is among my favourites.

What is your dream travel destination? Why?
It’s tough to single out one place, there are so many I want to see! Colombia, Iran, and Germany are three countries I’ve yet to visit that are currently atop my list.

What is your favourite food to eat with friends?
Ice cream. Preferably with chocolate chips or chunks of various chocolate bars in it. I just made myself hungry.

What is something you’ve learned from somebody inspirational?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the memory of my grandfather. He was a Holocaust survivor who lost his entire nuclear and extended family in the war, survived the concentration camps and arrived in Canada with nothing. Knowing what he went through is a constant inspiration to never give up and to be grateful for what I have.

What was your favourite subject at high school or university?
High school biology and learning about cells and mitochondria and photosynthesis. It absolutely blew my mind.