The second bi-annual World Trade Fair provided students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration with an opportunity to present their research and compete for bonus points. Students in two Leadership in a Global Context (MNGT 414) sections taught by Dr. John Osiri, associate professor of practice of management and director of the international business program, worked in pairs to choose and research a U.S.-based company and devise a strategy to enter the market of their assigned country.
Those who attended the fair invested $500 in “Donde Dollars”, named for Dr. Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean at CBA. MNGT 414 students used many mediums including prototypes and posters during their company strategy presentations.
In contrast with the first World Trade Fair held in the fall, this spring fair implemented a company component to aid in the students’ development of critical thinking skills and expand the research required.
“Adding the company component made it more realistic and practical,” Osiri said. “Companies often expand globally, and I wanted students to focus on how the companies go about doing that, whether the company is big or small. During the project, the students identified various opportunities in their assigned country; this skill is something they’ll be able to take with them after they graduate.”
Students in the the first section of the course found three countries received the most investments. They were Zambia, Morocco and Chad, and the students who presented those countries were Adam Young, senior management major from Shannon, Illinois, and Daniel Hanson, senior management, communication studies and religious studies major from Lincoln, Nebraska; Austin Schnell, senior finance, management and economics major from Lincoln and Haley Elsom, senior management major from Omaha, Nebraska; and Angela Cuadros, senior management, marketing and Spanish major from Glenwood, Iowa, and Tucker Krantz, senior management and marketing major from Centennial, Colorado, respectively.
Students in the second section found that Mexico, Ghana and Fiji placed in the top three with Melanie Crawford, senior management major from Plano, Texas, and Holli Ruhl, senior Spanish, education and management major from La Vista, Nebraska; Marisa Halfmann, senior management major from Tucson, Arizona, and Jordan Knapp, senior business administration, biochemistry and biological sciences major from Corcoran, California; and Colton Dean, senior finance and management major from South Bend, Nebraska, and Seth O’Neil, senior accounting, finance and management major from Jackson, Nebraska, presenting, respectively. Halfmann and Knapp chose to research and devise a strategy for Pfizer because of the resources Ghana has to offer.
“The vast diversity in plant life is key to pharmaceutical developments. We realized the pharmaceutical venture involved in research would need to have the human and monetary capital necessary for foreign direct investment, as well as the ability to transport their own resources and build a facility. Pfizer has immense resources available and Africa in general is a large, untapped market that needs a streamlined pharmaceutical process,” Halfmann explained. “Our team not only learned a lot about Ghana and Pfizer, but also about the process used to recognize exploitable opportunities in a foreign market.”
Halfmann was inspired by the lessons she learned. During the next week, she guest taught the last few sections of a similar project she helped develop in a middle school business and hospitality class in her home state of Arizona.
“Overall, the spring fair was a hit. The students’ materials were extremely creative and many of them were very passionate, resulting in an increase in the quality of presentations,” Osiri said.