The MIM International Business Research Project (AKA “Exit Project”)

There is no official summer break for PSU Master in International Management students in their final summer before graduation. MIMers are extremely busy during summer term from end of June through early August with three-to-four classes over an eight-week period. In early June Business Research Projects and teams are assigned with the expectation that initial client contact will be made by end of July. Project work will continue through the month of October with the hope that final presentations will be done by October 31st, but the possibility that some teams may need to continue work through November.

Students are allowed to put in a few requests for their business project experience as far as the size of the company or organization and the area in which they are hoping to gain experience in (supply chain, marketing, finance, etc.). Students do not get to specifically choose the company, as this information is kept confidential until assignments are made, nor do they get to choose their teams. However, if a student happens to find his or her own business research project opportunity (which still must be approved by the Academic Director) he/she is allowed to choose his/her own team in this case.

The MIM International Business Project gives students the opportunity to work for a real world business client providing consultation and expertise based upon the team’s skill set and experience. A student team could consist of three to five students depending on the company’s size and client’s initial project proposal submission. In addition, some teams include MSFA and MBA students. Previous clients include Fortune 500 Corporations, medium and small-sized companies, and pubic and non-profit organizations. (To see a list of some previous clients click HERE).

What I have discovered is that all the business project teams do things slightly differently for their clients. For instance, when submitting project proposals for clients I found that one team emailed a written project proposal document to their contact for approval, another team held a meeting in which they reviewed their project proposal with the client via PowerPoint presentation, while our team met in person with our client had had a loose written outline of project proposal “suggestions.”

Although all teams have project advisors – faculty or experts in the field – teams are expected to go about their projects on their own initiative for the most part. Our team advisor expects that we will consult and conduct business with our client without consulting him prior. This is very cool! We’re on our own, consulting, and doing international business things! Isn’t this the best?! However, it is very unlike what we have been doing for the past 12 (full timers) -24 (part timers) months in grad school classes, so it takes a little getting used to (I will refrain from calling it “scary” at this time, because it’s really not scary, it’s just “different”).

Are we able to apply what we learned in grad school on our projects? Definitely. (Newbie MIM, I would highly recommend saving your notes, handouts, and any relevant textbooks to your area of specialization so you can refer back to them when you are working on your final business project.) My team’s client mainly wants improvements in her product’s marketing process through research and exploration of customer feedback. This melds what I have learned in two classes, Brian McCarthy’s Global Marketing class from the very first term in the MIM program and Dennis Power’s Global Entrepreneurship class (also a marketing class) that I just took this past summer.

Our team is providing our client with a complete marketing plan; similar to the final assignment we did in McCarthy’s Global Marketing class. In addition, we are also providing our client with a few things to add to her over all business plan such as an elevator pitch and product value proposition – both things covered in Powers’ Global Entrepreneurship class. In eight-week’s time our team will also create three market research surveys, figure out our client’s TAM (Total Available Market) for the target areas, gather feedback from a focus group, and provide quotes on future work on our client’s e-commerce site. We will present the final data to our client with a PowerPoint presentation and complete 70-page written document at the end of October.

Click on the link to read more about MIM International Business Research Projects. If you are a local business and would like to take advantage of graduate business student consulting services, please read the information provided on the link and email Dr. Cliff Allen, MIM Academic Director at cliffa@sba.pdx.edu.

Photo Credit: International Research Conference http://internationalresearchdortmund.wikispaces.com/2011gbp

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Filed under Ali's Entries, Consulting, Coursework, MIM Specializations

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