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Global MBA Consulting Abroad Program

Descriptions of the Previous Projects

2011 CAPs

2010 CAPs

2009 CAPs

2011 Project Descriptions

Accra, Ghana: International Strategy

In this course, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of SME growth and export strategies for developing countries by focusing on the specific case of Ghana.  We will study key topics through both academic study (via cases, articles, lectures, and class discussions) and major hands-on projects that will be delivered to clients in Ghana.

Two project teams will work with the handicraft company, CraftPro (see Craftpro.org).  One team will work on a marketing strategy for the US market; the other will analyze and make recommendations regarding a strategy that Craft-Pro uses to extend credit to its small handicraft producers.

Two teams will work with producers in the pineapple industry to analyze the prospects of moving into pineapple processing. Various processing techniques will be analyzed, including cutting fresh pineapple for sale in salad bars, canning, making juices, and processing to make dried fruit. One team will undertake a cost benefit analysis of these various options and consider issues of pricing and distribution for the most feasible options. The other team will focus on identifying sources of investment finance for the most feasible options.

Instructor: Professor Jennifer Spencer is the Coelho Professorial Fellow and Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University’s School of Business. She is also the Director of the GW Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). Professor Spencer teaches courses related to International Strategy and International Management. Her scholarly research focuses on multinational enterprises’ investments into developing countries, firms’ global technology strategies, and knowledge spillovers between firms. She is on the editorial review board of the Journal of International Business Studies and Academy of Management Review and has published articles in the top journals in management, strategy, and international business fields, including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, and Journal of International Business Studies. Professor Spencer currently serves on the executive committee for the International Management division of the Academy of Management.

Belgrade, Serbia: International Marketing for Agribusiness

The Serbia IRP team is working with five agribusiness companies with operations headquartered throughout Serbia. These companies' food and related products include tea, fruit juice, condiments, agricultural seeds and charcuterie (processed meats). Activities will include research, evaluation and preparation of a competitive landscape overview, market and trends analysis, SWOT analysis and fully functional marketing plan. In addition, and once these research-based activities are complete, students will liaise with Serbia-based creative service providers to develop and implement initial stages of the tactical plan including trademark development, packaging, public relations, sales literature, advertising and trade show display.

Instructor: Professor Jeffrey Spear focuses his strategic and creative efforts upon FMCG brands (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and caters to both consumer and trade audiences. While originally trained as a graphic designer, and still working as Creative Director for Studio Spear, Jeffrey has become fluent and works as Director of Strategic Planning for his organization.

Spear’s history includes a working presence in Los Angeles for fifteen years, Melbourne (Australia) for eight years, Baltimore for ten years and has recently relocated to Jacksonville, Florida. With numerous and ongoing consulting engagements with USAID (most recently Serbia, Russia and Montenegro) supporting economic growth in countries described as “emerging economies,” along with ongoing and active relationships with embassies, consulates, international trade offices and business support groups, Jeffrey is well positioned to help companies exploit growth potential.

Istanbul, Turkey: Securities Markets

Project Description: The Turkey IRP will focus on the financial sector in general, and the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) in particular. Turkey is one of the world’s fastest growing emerging economies in addition to being located in a geo-strategically highly sensitive region. Early in the new millennium, in the wake of the home grown 2000/01 crisis, Turkey has implemented its own macro economic and political reforms, reduced its high and volatile inflation considerably, and stabilized the business environment. Consequently, it has become a high-growth economy attracting significant amounts of FDIs. However, Turkey’s growth is primarily financed by external funds, be it long-term FDIs or short & medium-term financial flows, due to insufficient domestic financial savings. The ISE plays a crucial role in this process. The ISE management envisages increasing its role in the economy by broadening the investor base in securities markets and by improving its operational and administrative efficiency through demutualization. Also, the Turkish Government’s objective of making Istanbul an international financial center might contribute to ISE’s desire to enhance its funding capacity for the corporate sector. The course aims to understand the dynamics of an emerging economy and financial system as well as developing ideas on the four projects proposed by the ISE, our client.

Instructor: Abdullah Akyuz is currently the President of TUSIAD-US (Turkish Business Federation’s US Representative Office), which he joined in 1999. Between 1983-1990, he served on the Capital Markets Board, the Turkish equivalent of the SEC, as an economist. In June 1990, he became the Director of the newly established Bonds and Bills Market of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE). In May 1994, he became the Executive Vice-Chairman of the ISE, overseeing the operations of several departments until his departure. He led the team which set up the world’s first “organized repo market” at the ISE, which soon became the largest organized financial market in Turkey. Mr. Akyuz has also served as a Board Member of the ISE-Settlement and Custody Bank, Inc., as well as a member of Treasury’s “Domestic Borrowing Advisory Board”. Abdullah Akyuz received his B.A. degree in Economics and Finance from the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Ankara (1983), his M.A. degree in Economics from the University of California-Davis (1986), and graduated from Wharton School’s Advanced Management Program (1996).

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Financial Markets

Project Description: “Vietnam - The Road from Outsourcing to Joint Ventures”

Two host companies this year are Morgan Stanley and Saigon Securities Inc (SSI). Morgan Stanley, one of the largest global securities companies, is interested in commercial and residential real estates in Vietnam. Students will learn, through work directly with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing professionals, to understand the process of opportunity identification, financial/market analysis, and finally, investment process within a global real estate private equity business. SSI, one of the largest securities companies in Vietnam, is evaluating the opportunities of various financial products including exchange-traded funds and mutual funds to introduce to Vietnam markets. Students will provide research on the development of such financial products in the United States and other countries to help SSI investment team to evaluate the opportunities in Vietnam markets. Final projects will be presented in report format that will be used by senior investing professionals of the host companies. In addition, the group will visit other businesses in Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, Bitexco (the tallest building in Vietnam), and will be staying at the New World Hotel, a 5-star hotel in HoChiMinh City.

Instructor: Nam D. Pham is Managing Partner of NDP Consulting Group, an economic consulting firm that specializes in assessing complex issues in finance, international trade, public policies and corporate business strategies. Clients of NDP Group include U.S. and foreign corporations, financial institutions, federal and local governments, trade associations, and multinational organizations. Prior to founding NDP Consulting Group in 2000, Dr. Pham was Vice President at Scudder Kemper Investments in Boston, where he was responsible for research, asset allocations, and currency hedging for Scudder’s global and international bond funds. Before that he was Chief Economist of the Asia Region for Standard & Poor’s DRI in Boston; an economist at the World Bank in Washington D.C.; and a consultant to both the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission in Washington D.C. Dr. Pham is also adjunct professor at the George Washington University, where he teaches graduate courses in monetary economics, international trade and finance, macroeconomics, and microeconomics. Dr. Pham holds a Ph.D. in economics from the George Washington University, with concentrations in international trade and finance, economic development and applied microeconomics; an M.A. from Georgetown University; and a B.A. from the University of Maryland.

2010 Project Descriptions

Mumbai, India: International Marketing and Strategy

Students who participated in the India Residency Project worked with a prominent manufacturer in India. The teams of GW MBAs developed an intensive strategy proposal to assess the opportunities and threats of entering the U.S. Market. Additionally, through company and site visits in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore students became familiarized with the economic and business realities of India to deepen their understanding of the Indian business climate and further inform their recommendations to the client.

Leading the India team was GWSB Associate Professor of Decision Sciences, Dr. Sanjay Jain. Dr. Jain has extensive industrial R&D and consulting experience with various companies including General Motors. Prior to joining GWU, he was a research faculty member at the Grado Industrial & Systems Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. Dr. Jain earned a Bachelors of Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Roorkee, India and completed his graduate and post-graduate work at the National Institute for Training in Industrial Engineering in Mumbai, India and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Science.

Seoul, South Korea: Business and Public Policy

The South Korean residency project consulted with two major conglomerates in their desire to develop their green technology businesses. Much like South Korea as a whole, both companies are looking to increase their export presence in the green energy sector, building on their investments in new technologies. Students who consulted with SK Energy looked at the company’s lithium-ion battery business and its global prospects in the electric vehicle market. The Hyosung team looked at the company’s wind turbine business, exploring the potential for entry into foreign markets like the US and Latin America based on its position in the Korean market. Students studied Korea’s green growth policy and the relationship between government and business, visiting think-tanks, government agencies, and research facilities, and hearing from policymakers, academics, and politicians about government and business cooperation to foster Korea’s economic development.

Leading the residency was Dr. Danny Leipziger, who has over two decades experience working with and advising South Korea. Dr. Leipziger has published extensively on Korean economic and development policy and he was the leader of the World Bank’s Emergency Recovery Program for Korea during the 1997 financial crisis. He has served as a keynote speaker at the first Anniversary Conference of the Lee Myung-Bak Administration in February 2009 and at Korea’s G-20 and Development Conference in June,2010 and he is a frequent contributor to Korean media.

Mexico City, Mexico: Microfinance

The Mexico IRP teams consulted with two microfinance institutions based in Monterrey, Mexico, applying financial and analytical skills to address four specific needs of the clients. Students who worked with Caja San Nicolas developed a group lending program and designed a housing loan product in order to expand its ability to meet local market needs. Students who worked with Credituyo focused on technology development and implementation of a deposit-taking program.

Prof. Romi Bhatia has worked in various capacities in the microfinance field for the past nine years as a researcher, consultant and portfolio manager both in the U.S. and overseas. Mr. Bhatia did his Fulbright research in India on use of smart-card technology for the enhancement of microfinance operations with SKS Microfinance. He received his Masters of Arts Degree in International Finance and Business from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2004. Mr. Bhatia worked at Microfinance International Corporation (MFIC) for the past six years as a V.P. of International Operations managing its international loan portfolio and transnational loan program. Currently Mr. Bhatia is a Senior Advisor on Diaspora and Development at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Belgrade, Serbia: Agri-Food Marketing

The Serbia IRP team worked with five agribusiness companies based in or around Belgrade. These companies produce consumer food products including: tea, fruit juice, frozen vegetables, jams and jellies, and mushrooms. Activities included research, evaluation and preparation of a competitive landscape overview, market and trends analysis, SWOT analysis and fully functional marketing plan. Once these research-based activities were completed, students liaised with Serbia-based creative service providers to develop and implement initial stages of a tactical plan including trademark development, packaging, public relations, sales literature, advertising and trade show display.

Prof. Jeffrey Spear focuses his strategic and creative efforts upon FMCG brands (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and caters to both consumer and trade audiences. While originally trained as a graphic designer, and still working as Creative Director for Studio Spear, Jeffrey has become fluent and works as Director of Strategic Planning for his organization. Spear’s history includes a working presence in Los Angeles for fifteen years, Melbourne (Australia) for eight years, and has been headquartered in Baltimore for the past nine years. With numerous and ongoing consulting engagements with USAID (most recently Serbia, Russia, and Montenegro), supporting economic growth in countries described as “emerging economies,” along with ongoing and active relationships with embassies, consulates, international trade offices and business support groups, Jeffrey is well positioned to help companies exploit growth potential.

Malmö, Sweden: Marketing of Green Technology

The Sweden IRP based in southern Sweden focused on the Clean Technology sector. Sustainability is central to life in Sweden and the Swedes have decades of experience with successful and innovative companies devoted to energy conservation and other green initiatives. While there is clearly a mainstream focus on sustainability in the Swedish population as a whole, many of these companies are products of the cold, Nordic climate, the need to conserve energy, a strong focus on technology, and environmental stewardship.

Students worked with five startup firms in the Clean Technology sector that were identified in collaboration with the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce (SACC). The consulting projects focused on market analysis in preparation for market entry into the US, exploration of collaborative opportunities in the US market, the creation of strategic marketing plans, and research on product concepts, along with sales forecasts and social media campaigns. While in Sweden, students participated in site visits at IKEA, Vestas, Tetra Pak, and Schneider Electric among others, and also interacted with representatives of the Sustainable Business Hub, a non-profit organization promoting and supporting its GreenTech members and clients. In addition, students went on several excursions to cultural sites in southern Sweden.

Dr. Anna Helm, Assistant Professor of International Business at GW, who teaches courses on international marketing management, led the Sweden IRP. Originally from Sweden, Dr. Helm holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University and in August 2009, she completed the AACSB Post Doctoral Bridge to Business Program in Marketing and Management at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She is currently pursuing research on cross-cultural differences in consumer perceptions of green products, specifically comparing Sweden and the US.

2009 Project Descriptions

Washington, DC & Monterrey, Mexico: Microfinance

In 2009, all four Mexico IRP teams consulted with one institutional client; Credituyo based in Monterrey, Mexico. The teams provided Credituyo with an external audit of its lending operations, developed a capitalization strategy and refined its five-year business plan and determined ways to help Credituyo scale up its operations through the use of branchless banking technologies.

Prof. Romi Bhatia has worked in various capacities in the microfinance field for the past nine years as a researcher, consultant and portfolio manager both in the U.S. and overseas. Mr. Bhatia did his Fulbright research in India on use of smart-card technology for the enhancement of microfinance operations with SKS Microfinance. He received his Masters of Arts Degree in International Finance and Business from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2004. Mr. Bhatia worked at Microfinance International Corporation (MFIC) for the past six years as a V.P. of International Operations managing its international loan portfolio and transnational loan program. Currently Mr. Bhatia is a Senior Advisor on Diaspora and Development at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Barcelona, Spain: Foreign market assessment and entry strategy recommendation

The Spain residency project worked with Derbi, the European leader in small-displacement motorcycles. In 2008 Derbi’s core market was under serious threat because of the imminent transposition of EU Directive 2006/126/EEC. This legislation contemplated changing the minimum riding age in the EU from 14 to 16 years of age, and experts thought it could represent the disappearance of the under-125cc market segment. As a result, it was imperative for Derbi to find new markets for its small and sophisticated motorcycles. Students worked with the company to carry out an in-depth analysis of the US motorcycle market and evaluated its potential for Derbi. In addition, they assessed a variety of entry modes into the US market and the advantages and disadvantages of each one of them.

Leading the Spain team was Dr. Rafael Lucea, Assistant Professor of International Business, and who specializes in international strategy. Before joining GW, Professor Lucea worked for large European and U.S. multi-national corporations in the areas of marketing, sales, and strategy. He also worked as an independent consultant in the areas of strategy formulation and implementation for a variety of U.S. and international firms. Originally from Barcelona, Professor Lucea holds a Ph.D. in Strategy and International Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.S. in Public Policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University, and an M.B.A. from ESADE (Spain).

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Finance and Marketing

The Vietnam IRP team conducted analytical reports for Ho Chi Minh Exchange to assess the derivatives markets and for Intel Corporation to perform market research related to business opportunities and challenges in an emerging market. In each project, students interacted with executives during the five-month preparation time in Washington DC via teleconference and emails and then directly interacted with their executives during the implementation phase in Vietnam. Students were trained as effective, productive and creative consultants and to provide analytical reports on tight deadlines.

Leading the Vietnam residency was Dr. Nam Pham, Managing Partner of NDP Consulting Group, an economics consulting firm that specializes in assessing complex issues in finance, international trade, and economic development. Clients of NDP Group include U.S. and foreign corporations, financial institutions, federal and local governments, trade associations and multi-national organizations. Prior to founding NDP Group in 2000, Dr. Pham was Vice President at Scudder Kemper Investments in Boston, where he was responsible for research, asset allocations and currency hedges for Scudder’s global and international bond funds. He was also Chief Economist of the Asia Region for Standard & Poor’s DRI in Boston. Dr. Pham’s seventeen years of experience in multinational organizations and government agencies in Washington DC includes tenures as an economist at the World Bank and consultant to the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Pham earned a Ph.D. in economics from the George Washington University with concentrations in international trade and finance, economic development, and applied microeconomics, a M.A. from Georgetown University, and a B.A. from the University of Maryland.

Istanbul & Bursa, Turkey: Textile Manufacturing

The Turkey residency project worked with three clients; a textile manufacturer, a producer of specialized high-end apparel, and a Turkish textile organization. Student teams conducted branding, marketing research, strategy, and trade policy projects custom tailored to client needs. Project deliverables included the development and launch of a website; updates to an existing web site; the design of branded trade-fair materials; customer satisfaction survey design, collection, and analysis; and strategic trade policy recommendations. In-country visits with government, private-sector, and non-governmental organizations enhanced student understanding of the government-business-society interface in this sector.

Dr. Liesl Riddle, Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs, led the 2009 residency in Turkey. Dr. Riddle holds a BA and MA in Middle Eastern Studies, a MBA in Marketing/International Business, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Riddle has written extensively about trade and investment promotion, international entrepreneurship, and the global textile and apparel industry. Between 1997-1999 Dr. Riddle lived in Istanbul and conducted an in-depth study of the Turkish apparel industry. She has published several follow-up studies on the industry and has conducted research on textile and apparel export promotion in several other countries, including Egypt and Morocco.

Prior to her academic appointment, Dr. Riddle worked in the field of market research on both the client and supplier side of the industry. Most recently she held the position of the Director of Research for the international market research firm, FH&R in Houston, Texas. She has served as a consultant for several organizations, including the World Bank, the US Department of State, the Grameen Foundation, IBM, and other private-sector clients.