Category Archives: Global Business

MBA Strategic Consulting Program heads to Singapore

A team of Foster students recently traveled to Singapore for an MBA Strategic Consulting Project. The following is an account by Kyle Sullivan (MBA 2014) of his experiences there and observations of the city-state.

Foster MBA students in SingaporeIt’s cold and rainy in Seattle; typical winter conditions. It’s hard to imagine I was enjoying 85-degree weather just a few weeks ago in Singapore.

Despite having lived in Asia for an extended period, I had never visited Singapore before. My friends often described it as uneventful, that it had none of the dynamism of China or Hong Kong; “Asia lite,” they would call it. I could not disagree more.

From the moment we landed, I noticed a sense of significance about the place. Driving westward into town along Singapore’s East Coast Parkway (ECP), parallel to the waterfront, it is all but impossible to ignore the armada of container ships lingering in the Singapore Strait. A few miles down the road, the view of the ships becomes obscured by an army of quay cranes towering above the Port of Singapore, Asia’s second largest port. Adjacent to the port, gleaming skyscrapers bearing the names Standard Chartered, HSBC, and Microsoft press up against Singapore’s Marina Bay. Surrounded by so much commercial activity, it feels as if you are in the center of the world.

I traveled to Singapore with a team of three classmates—Noah, Shalini, and Lisa—to work on a project for a Washington-state manufacturing company. The company had been exploring the possibility of opening a warehouse in Singapore in order to be closer to its customers in Asia Pacific. Our task was three-fold: gather information about the local market for the company’s products, assess the local real estate market, and make connections with headhunters. The project’s intent was to inform the client company about the most appropriate way to set up an operation in Singapore.

SingaporeIt was a busy ten days for us, packed with meetings, dinners, and networking events. One of the key takeaways from our meetings with various business partners was that there are very clear trade-offs for conducting business in Singapore. For example, business registration is conducted online and takes a matter of hours (whereas in China it can take more than six months), laws and regulations are evenly enforced, and the corporate income tax rate is a flat 17 percent. The downside is that the average price for a warehouse is roughly triple the price in Seattle, and annual wage increases are some of the highest in Asia Pacific.

One of the most interesting meetings was with a company called Mapletree, which is one of Singapore’s largest industrial property management firms. We met with a man named James, who heads up marketing for Mapletree’s industrial property division, to hear his expertise on Singapore’s industrial property market and to understand his company’s portfolio of warehouse properties. As we were wrapping up the conversation, out of curiosity I asked James for his opinion about what country in Asia Pacific will be the next major driver of growth for industrial property sales. He paused for a moment, and grinned. Waiting in suspense, as if he was about to divulge a closely guarded secret, he simply replied, “Indonesia.”

Learn more about the MBA Strategic Consulting Program at the Foster School.

Students take 3rd place in BYU’s Business Spanish Competition

BYU Spanish TeamThis November, the Foster School of Business sent a team of students to compete in the Brigham Young University (BYU) Business Language Case Competition. What is unique about the competition is that it is conducted entirely in a foreign language. Student teams, consisting of non-native speakers, read and analyze a business case written in Spanish, and then present their solutions and answer questions in Spanish.

The Foster School team won third place this year and five hundred dollars. Team members Amanda Baker, Josh Twaddle, and Brandon Upton all studied or interned abroad in Spain, which greatly improved their language skills and gave them the confidence to tackle this case challenge.

The business case they worked on focused on the current market for organic foods. The team was to determine if there is a role for Walmart in this market segment. Brandon shared that their analysis “noted two main problems facing Walmart – first, Walmart has weak brand equity, and second, Walmart lacks an urban presence, which is where most consumption of organic food occurs. However, Walmart had strengths in its supply chain.”

Based on their analysis, the team recommended that “Walmart should launch an entire new line of organic stores that are stocked with products from local farms. By leveraging its supply chain, it could centralize foodstuffs from those farms in a distribution center, and then redistribute to city stores. These new stores would only be in leading urban areas in the U.S., including San Francisco, New York City, and Washington D.C. This ties Corporate Social Responsibility (empowering local farmers with urban demand) to generating new revenue streams from a premium market for Walmart.”

The BYU judges said that the Foster School team took a very innovative approach, and they really appreciated that the team even produced some of their own market research.

Photo: Foster School Faculty Coach, Bob Dawson, with student team members Brandon Upton, Amanda Baker, and Josh Twaddle.

Study abroad photo contest winners for 2013

Over 300 University of Washington Foster School of Business undergraduate and MBA students studied or interned abroad last year.  These photos and short descriptions are a small taste of the transformative educational experiences these students have each year.  The UW Global Business Center held a competition for the best student photos in two categories:

  1. Foster Abroad: Photo that inspires others to study abroad or makes a statement about the student experience abroad
  2. My Global Lens: Views uniquely accessible to students living abroad – social issues, cultural interactions, landscapes, etc.

1st Place Foster Abroad: Kurt RiRicketts_India_FAcketts, Undergraduate; India Business Exploration Seminar

Namaste: What I didn’t expect was that by the end of my visit, India would have me in her grip, refuse to let go, and in exchange for my experience, instill a drive in me that would demand a call to action.

Experience abroad: What an experience. You expect to be challenged, but you don’t expect to be awakened.

 

 

bell_brazil_FA2nd Place Foster Abroad: Kainen Bell, Undergraduate; Brazil Business Exploration Seminar

A Dream Come True: This moment was surreal because ever since high school my dream was to travel to Brazil, but I didn’t think it was possible because no one in my family or community had ever done so. Despite my circumstances I heavily pursued my dream and was accepted in the Brazil program,  received scholarships to pay for it, and was the first in my family to study abroad and now I am a living proof that dreams really do come true, but you can’t be afraid to pursue them.

Experience abroad: My Study Abroad Experience in Brazil was life changing. During the trip my perspective was changed. I saw how essential it was for the Brazilian to learn other languages to and know about global news, while I just knew English and a little Spanish. It made me value different languages and cultures more.  Meeting with Brazilian students was a great experience and cultural exchange – even though we were from different parts of the world, we could still relate to each other and have fun. Overall, I was inspired by this trip and mind blown.

Marks_Argentina_GL1st Place My Global Lens: Kate Marks, Undergraduate; Buenos Aires, Argentina

Convergence: Argentina struggles to reconcile their “dirty” past of military dictatorship with the hopeful future the election of Pope Francisco brings to the country. Taken March 24, 2013, the day of national remembrance of the “disappeared persons”, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Experience abroad: Living and studying in Argentina gave me an unparalleled perspective of what it is like to live with an unstable government and economy. Populism is still alive and well in Argentina, well after the fall of many other Latin American military dictatorships. I spoke with and befriended many young people who see a different future for their country–which now seems possible with the election of the first ever South American (specifically, Argentine) pope. The convergence of Argentina’s violent and unstable recent history with the new movement towards democracy and change created a dynamic and complicated environment in which to live and observe.

Bozeman_Spain_MGL2nd Place My Global Lens: Ashley Bozeman, Undergraduate; Leon, Spain

Las Medulas: An unexpected gold mine in Northern Spain.

Experience abroad: I had a wonderful experience abroad with my 12 amigas from UW, our loving and caring host families, and awesome Spanish teachers at the UW Leon Center in Leon, Spain. These were some of the most rewarding and fun three months of my college career and I would encourage anyone and everyone to study abroad during their time at the UW.

See all photos submitted for the contest. Judges included over 40 faculty and staff members. Learn more about MBA and undergraduate study abroad opportunities at the Foster School.

2013 Holland America Line Competition: Students tackle global HR issues in 48 hours

Winning TeamThe Global Business Center is proud to announce that the 2013 Holland America Line Global Case Competition was a great success! The 24 teams made up of over 95 Foster School undergraduates presented in a preliminary round to corporate, alumni, and faculty judges on Saturday, November 16th. The top four teams were selected to move on to the final round of competition.

The judges all agreed that the case this year was particularly challenging as it dealt with global human resource management issues for Maersk. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Maersk is a global conglomerate with large shipping and oil and gas businesses. As Maersk’s businesses become ever more international, the company wants to increase the geographic diversity of its work force. Our competing student teams played the role of Maersk managers who were tasked with the following:
• Setting geographic diversity goals
• Recommending recruitment and retention strategies designed to achieve the goals
• Developing measures of progress towards these goals (key performance indicators)
• Estimating the costs of the recommended strategies

Of the four outstanding finalist presentations, Team 3 made up of Tara Ghassemikia, Sam Tanner, and Demetra Xenos took home the gold, winning the Holland America Line Global Case Competition and $1000. The winning team’s solution recommended that Maersk recruit in strategic growth markets for shipping and trade including Brazil, Russia, India, and other Latin American countries. Their three-tiered strategy was to “recruit, recognize, and retain.” They also recommended an annual international event to develop and recognize leaders called the “Maersk Reunion.”

For the second time this year, we also had teams of Foster School Freshmen Direct students compete in their own track to win the Freshman Direct Champion title and $500. Seven freshman teams competed, and the winning Freshman Direct Track team was Jessica Gilmore, Adam Kinkley, Ashley Kuhn, and Joseph Rebagliati. We are excited to see these students getting involved so early in their Foster careers!

Visit our website to find out more and learn how to get involved next year.

The Global Business Center would like to thank Holland America Line for their generous support of this unique educational event for Foster School of Business students. Holland America Line is a leader in the cruising industry and a longtime supporter of the Foster School of Business.

Japan update: opportunities for 2014 and beyond

Guest post by Ashley Bozeman, senior studying international business and marketing

7C5A3151On Thursday, October 17, I and other students and faculty from the University of Washington had the privilege of enjoying the “Japan Update: Opportunities for 2014 and Beyond” discussion with Koichi Hamada, Tuntex Professor of Economics, Yale University, and Joseph A. Massey, Professor Emeritus, Dartmouth College. Both are esteemed professors with years of international business and economic policy experience. Needless to say, I think many of us Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) students were a bit intimidated. I am happy to report that they were far from intimidating; they had everyone laughing throughout and left all of us inspired and optimistic for the future of Japan.

This event was a great eye-opener to some of the problems Japan is currently facing. We had the opportunity to learn from Professor Hamada, Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Abe, and Professor Massey about possible solutions for strengthening the Japanese economy. Professor Hamada shared that one of the major challenges in Japan today is its aging population. Japan has the oldest population in the world. Consequently, the workforce is declining. Professor Massey stated that the solution should not be an attempt to make up for the decreasing population, but rather an increase in productivity and an adjustment of Japanese cultural norms. Both of our guests touched on better utilizing well-educated women in the work force and working until an older age. Both of which can be done, but will take time and challenge current cultural norms.

Our speakers also discussed business opportunities in Japan due to these demographic changes. The two main opportunities were health care and child care. The population is aging, so health care will be a hugely important and growing sector. In order for more women to pursue higher education and enter the workforce, it is necessary to have more child care opportunities so they are able to work outside the home.

I was impressed by Professor Hamada and Professor Massey’s optimism and their proposed solutions and opportunities for Japan in the coming years. I now have a greater awareness of the Japanese economy and culture and am looking forward to keeping up with the country’s progress in the future.

Sailing through the competition

Guest post by Ashley Bozeman, Senior, studying International Business & Marketing

Last week Holland America Line Global Case Competition competitors had the opportunity to attend a pre-competition workshop with Leta Beard, Lecturer of Marketing and International Business. Professor Beard has had years of experience coaching and guiding numerous case competition teams to victory all over the world. She had great insight for our brand-new freshmen competitors and senior veterans alike! Here are our “Top Ten Tips” we took away from the workshop—enjoy!

  1. Don’t panic when you get the case, you don’t need to know EVERYTHING, just focus on what’s important.
  2. Set a timeline for your 48-hour preparation. What do you want to have accomplished by what hour?
  3. Run through your presentation BEFORE submitting your slide deck. You will probably catch some things you want to change while you practice.
  4. Don’t memorize. It’s important to be comfortable with your talking points, but if you memorize you could get tripped up if something unexpected happens.
  5. Watch your pace: if it feels like you’re talking too slow, it’s probably just right.
  6. Leave 30 seconds at the end of your presentation when you practice. You don’t want to go over the time limit, and never know when those extra seconds might come in handy.
  7. “Tell us” three times. “Tell us what you’re going to tell us, then tell us, then tell us what you told us.” It’s important to have a clear direction and it never hurts to repeat key points.
  8. Stay “in character”. The team and the judges will each have a role—know these roles and address the judges and your teammates as their respective characters.
  9. Avoid jargon. The judges may not be familiar with acronyms and terms that you’ve learned in class so be sure to explain things like “SWOT” “NPV” and the “4 P’s”.
  10.  Have fun and Smile!!

Case CompCompetitors have been working hard preparing for the competition this week. Teams will receive their case on Wednesday, November 13th and present their ideas to judges on Saturday, November 16th. The top four teams will advance to the final round to compete for a chance at the championship title and $1000 cash prize. The top scoring “Freshman Direct Track” team will also be revealed at the reception following the final round. Best of luck to all of our competitors this week! Curious about the competition? Volunteer on Saturday to help make sure it runs smoothly! Email if you’re interested.

The final round presentations are open to the public so come by and watch their creative minds at work Saturday, November 16th at 2 pm in Anthony’s Forum, Dempsey Hall!