During the 2014 winter intersession, Daniels students traveled to Tanzania, Israel and Japan to put skills into action.
For many graduate and undergraduate students, winter break is a welcome respite from classes and their studies. For students at the Daniels College of Business, it’s a chance to take flight—literally—and apply their global business skills and knowledge at organizations around the world.
Global Theory in Practice in Tanzania
From November 30 to December 10, 2014, 19 graduate students enrolled in Global Theory in Practice, a course that is required for International MBA students (and open to other MBA students), traveled to Tanzania through the GO: IMBA program, the course’s travel component. The course is taught by Dr. Doug Allen, executive director of the Office of Globalization and associate professor in the Department of Management.
Students worked with professionals from two companies: Opera Software, a Norway-based company that offers mini-browsers for computers, TVs, mobile phones and other connected devices, and Nokero—a melding of “No Kerosene”—a Denver-based company that develops solar lighting solutions for developing countries.
For 10 weeks during last fall, the students—divided into two groups for Opera and two for Nokero—completed their research and designed plans for the on-the-ground portion of the class. For Opera Software, students studied the gender divide for Opera’s users in developing countries and learned how to build strategic partnerships with non-telecom partners to increase female customers. For Nokero, students evaluated the best approach to efficiently entering the Tanzanian marketplace and assessed how a partnership with local telecom companies (through which Nokero supplies solar-based cell phones and accessories) could be a financial win-win.
“What really sets this class apart is that we bring international consultants into the classroom who teach students how to complete high-quality consulting projects,” says Leslie Carter, associate director of the International MBA program and the Office of Globalization. The students received training on how to develop and finalize project strategy recommendations and high-quality client presentations. VentureQuest, the management consulting firm that worked with the students, is a longtime partner of the International MBA program.
“Students completed their research, worked on powerful presentations for their clients and then travelled to the company site in Tanzania complete their work,” Carter says. “It was truly real-world consulting at its best.” Carter adds that although the quarter ended in December, Global Theory in Practice students delivered their final presentation to Opera and Nokero in January.
Entrepreneurship is Alive and Well in Israel
This fall, fourteen Daniels students learned firsthand about Israel’s entrepreneurial and high tech society as part of an Enterprise Solutions class. After spending 10 weeks in the classroom, students travelled to Israel for nine days in December. While in Israel, the Daniels graduate students worked on live consulting projects with shoe company Crocs and 3D printing company Stratasys in Tel Aviv.
“There is really no substitute for seeing and experiencing the world with your own eyes,” said Cayman Hood, MBA candidate. “The experience that I gained from being introduced to international businesses, and speaking with top employees and executives, is going to stay with me throughout my business career.”
Students also got an inside look at Microsoft’s research and development center and Palram Industries. While in country, the class visited with the U.S. Department of State and took part in cultural visits in Jerusalem’s Old City. Mixing a little tourism in, students got to experience floating in the Dead Sea and enjoyed a sunrise and moon set on a hike to the Masada.
“We read and see so much about Israel and the conflict there on TV and social media, which often represent a twisted view of the situation” said Cecilie Nygaard-Pedersen, MBA candidate. “It was amazing to learn firsthand about the country and their perspective on the problems they face and how it affects their future business.”
Mobile Consumer Behavior: U.S. vs. Japan
The marketing course known as, Mobile Consumer Behavior: U.S. vs. Japan, required students to partner with various businesses, including Toyota Motor Distributors, to research how mobile consumer behavior is impacted by the convergence of smartphones and automobiles—and the differences between U.S. consumers and Japanese consumers in the mobile marketplace. Japan is the worldwide leader in mobile technology. Michael Myers, lecturer in the Department of Marketing, notes that the U.S. is just now seeing the cultural shift toward mobile that Japan began experiencing more than 20 years ago.
Guided by Myers, 11 students—mostly graduate students—traveled to Japan from November 29 to December 10. Building on their in-class studies of the mobile landscape in both the U.S. and Japan, students collected qualitative and quantitative data in Tokyo and Kyoto, learning how consumers use their smartphones and mobile applications.
“This class was an incredible experience for Daniels students because they learned about the psychology of the Japanese and the capability of the mobile devices used in their culture during class time, and then they had the opportunity to step into Japanese culture at the culmination of the course,” Myers says . “Through their final paper, students were tasked with documenting the variances between U.S. and Japanese consumers and making business recommendations to any business that is considering a mobile strategy in both countries.”
Toyota is a longtime supporter of the Daniels College of Business and a diamond-level Corporate Partner to the College. Jim Lentz, Toyota’s CEO of the North American region, is a Daniels alumnus (MBA 1978, BSBA 1977).