The first World Trade Fair debuted at the College of Business on December 8 and 10. Students in management 414, taught by Dr. John Osiri, associate professor of practice of management and director of the international business program, chose a nonnative country to research. Half of the class represented investors and the other half were secretaries of state, and the roles were switched on the second day of the fair.
Those acting as secretaries of state used persuasive individual poster presentations to focus on the culture, e-commerce, national context, international human resource management, entrepreneurship and economic stats and indicators of their country and make a case to investors. The investors were given $500 in “Donde Dollars” and could invest in up to five countries. Voluntary participants were allowed to come and go as they pleased while the class remained at the booths for the entire event.
The World Trade Fair provided students with the opportunity to engage in a one-on-one interactive presentation, rather than a standard PowerPoint presentation. The fair also allowed for more nuanced conversations between presenters and investors.
“The fair positively impacted the quality of the presentations and forced the students to thoroughly study their chosen country,” Osiri said. “The students who were well prepared distinguished themselves with quality posters, passion, articulation and presence.”
The three countries with the most investments were Singapore, Thailand and Angola, and the students who presented those countries were Dylan Naranjo, senior business administration major, from Grand Island, Nebraska; Mallory Ackerman, senior management major, from Omaha, Nebraska and Louis Smith, junior marketing major, from Lincoln, Nebraska, respectively.
Naranjo chose Singapore for its strong economy, wealth per capita and tactical location in South Central Asia.
“I learned a great deal about how to conduct business in foreign countries during the class. Understanding a country’s culture is critical to a successful business operation,” Naranjo said.
Ackerman chose Thailand because she and her husband are traveling there this winter. She conducted extensive research and conveyed her vast knowledge effectively through her poster.
“The fair helped me view some countries in a new light and meet unfamiliar classmates,” Ackerman said.
Smith choose Angola and focused on its natural resources, which were the focal point of his presentation.
“I discovered that speaking passionately matters just as much as the content,” Smith elaborated. “The fair was a good learning tool and an enjoyable break from the normal end of semester activities.”
Due to the successful fair and positive feedback, Osiri plans to integrate the World Trade Fair into his Management 414 class every semester.