Category Archives: Global Business

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!

Coffee, a start-up and Saudi Arabia

Yatooq Coffee MakerCoffee and start-ups might seem more Seattle than Saudi Arabia, but not to Lateefa Alwaalan (TMMBA 2011). Yatooq, founded by Alwaalan, makes it easier and faster to brew Arabic coffee, a blonde, spicy coffee central to all social gatherings in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Alwaalan came to Seattle to get her MBA after studying computer science, and working in IT and then banking in her home country of Saudi Arabia. While in the Technology Management MBA Program, she focused intently on gaining business and entrepreneurial skills. She competed in the Business Plan Competition with her idea for Yatooq. She also enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Certificate, offered by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at Foster. She said her experience at the Foster School, “Transformed me. I use everything I learned—from change management to supply-chain management to marketing.”

Upon returning home after graduation, her father offered her a job in his pharmaceutical company. Her first job was entering invoices, but that didn’t last long. She quickly moved up the ranks and became the general manager in less than two years.

In addition to working at the pharmaceutical company, Alwaalan has been working hard to launch Yatooq. The company started by selling ready-made blends of coffee, and had good results. The most successful aspect of the company, however, has been the introduction of its coffee machine. When made traditionally, Arabic coffee takes 20-30 minutes to prepare and requires over ten steps. Yatooq’s coffee machine dramatically reduces the time and effort required to make Arabic coffee. Within two weeks of launching the coffee machine in grocery stores and online, it sold out.

The start-up process hasn’t been easy—Alwaalan had to learn everything about how to manufacture and sell a consumer product. The hard work has paid off though. Yatooq currently has seven employees and needs more to keep up with demand. Alwaalan is also in the process of restructuring the pharmaceutical business so she can devote more time to Yatooq. Learn more about Yatooq.

10th Biennial International Business for Community Colleges Conference

Intl Bus Comm College FacGuest Post by Ian Priestman, International Business Professor at Linn-Benton Community College, Oregon, who attended the 10th Biennial International Business for Community Colleges Conference with a travel grant from the Global Business Center. 

Being an Englishman in America, I get a great kick out of going to conferences in the US, especially to places I wouldn’t get the chance to go to if I’d have stayed in England. There’s something exciting about saying, “I’m going to Washington” or, “the conference is Colorado” or even Michigan. It is these places that us Brits see in the movies or hear about in songs all the time but only ever dream about going to. Instead, the Brits attend conferences in rain soaked Manchester, in dark stone buildings in Leeds or in the concrete jungle of Birmingham. These courses in the UK take place against the backdrop of the perpetual dark cloud that hangs over the country, threatening to rain at any moment. On the other hand, no doubt these English towns are of the same interest to the US anglophile or history chaser as American places are to me.

This speaks to my first point I gleaned from the 10th Biennial International Business for Community Colleges Conference. There is a myriad of motivations and interests that we and more importantly our students have for studying international disciplines. Writing this post inspired me to think about the factors that had led me to the conference. I concluded with this: to make an international class or program, modern, and dynamic, we have to tap into our student’s motivations and interests in all things international and allow our students to develop these interests.

I now realize my reason for living and working in the US and becoming a citizen (and with my accent, me being an American really confuses my students!): It was my love of vacations as a child. Vacations gave me wanderlust, and as a direct result, there I was at the conference in Michigan as an International Business professor. With my love of vacations in mind, I realized that although a student might have no international experience other than a magical spring break vacation in Cancun, there’s plenty of scope to apply international business concepts to the tourist industry in Cancun or even another resort. Another example:  If a student enjoys British TV miniseries such as Downton Abbey or Brit comedies or even our musical output, the British movie or music industry would provide a great structure for the student in which to house international business concepts.

So now I want to spread my wanderlust (or wanderdust as I prefer to call it) to my students. How did the international business conference help me? The presentations on the regions of the world were fascinating as possible research projects and destinations for my students. Then, after hearing about the possibilities, the next piece of the puzzle was already waiting for me.  Waiting in the wings were sessions on raising the profile of international business in community colleges, internationalizing existing curriculums, and the possibilities for study abroad programs.

The conference gave me the tools with which to work in spreading the wanderdust. Great resources were suggested, notably by Tomas Hult and also the ‘Global Edge’. These resources will help me make my case at my community college for emphasizing the importance of international business courses. Finally, it was suggested that I research the availability of funds to attend further conferences thereby sustaining my enthusiasm for international business. Such funds are out there, you know- just like international business experiences and opportunities for our students.

Roei Ganzarski named Global Business Advisory Board Chair

Ganzarski HeadshotRoei Ganzarski is President and COO of BoldIQ. He is the Chair of the Global Business Center’s Global Business Advisory Board and holds an MBA from the Foster School.

Tell us a bit about BoldIQ. How did it come about, and what is your role in the company?

Thomas Edison once said: “There’s a way to do it better – find it”. At BoldIQ we find it for our global customers every day. We are a developer and provider of software platforms enabling real-time, optimal and actionable solutions for resource utilization, operations management, and disruption recovery, in complex business environments. Using our proprietary technology, our customers experience net operating savings of 4% to 16% and an increase in revenue-generating capacity of ~10%. Beyond ongoing real-time optimized planning, our platform provides on-the-fly change management from an entire systems perspective.

We originally developed our robust operations management platform and our optimization engine to support an innovative new air carrier: DayJet Corporation. We worked for 5 years developing systems and algorithms to support the very complex world of air taxi – no fixed schedule; constantly changing customer demand and requirements; variable unpredictable working environment including changing weather; multiple resources required to deliver each service; and a multitude of legal and operating constraints. This required complex automation and significant optimization, solving a large problem in seconds, multiple times a day, every day.

As president & COO, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company, our growth, and our business.

 How did you become interested in global business?

My father worked for an international container shipping company and I spent my childhood in Asia watching him grow the business. We then returned to our homeland in Israel where I continued watching him grow the business throughout the world. I was intrigued and fascinated by his ability to talk to a political leader in China in the morning, solve an operational  problem in Italy in the afternoon, and then contend with the daily business of ships and crews scattered across the seven seas, all in complete calm and as  second nature. I was privileged to grow up in an environment where ‘global’ was simply the norm, and I was hooked.

 You serve on 3 advisory boards. What do you like about advising, and what direction would you like to take the Global Business Advisory Board in now that you’re the chairman?

I have been fortunate to experience a lot from a global perspective, both as a youngster, and a business leader working for companies like Boeing and BoldIQ, and I now feel that it is my duty to share that experience and knowledge with others so that we, as a whole, can continue to get better. Moreover, I am finding that I am learning just as much as I am imparting, which is what this is all about- always learning and always getting better.

As chair of the board, I would like to see us, the business community, take a more active role in the global education of our next generation’s leaders. My plan as chair is to help drive that forward. Seattle and the Pacific Northwest have an abundance of global companies – leaders in their respective markets and industries. We have globally known brands like Starbucks, Boeing, Costco, Amazon, and Microsoft to name but a few. We also have an abundance of less known brands that are global leaders in their fields. We must take advantage of that to the best of our abilities and help shape what tomorrow’s leaders need to know and need to be able to do, to continue the legacy that we are creating for them today. It is not just about jobs and internships. It is about shaping the academic and experiential programs that our students should go through to prepare for the world of global business. I would like to see the board take a more active role in this influence, and see the school and professors take a more active role in seeking out that real-world guidance from us.

 What would you tell students about the world of global business?

I would say that there is no longer such a thing as global business. I would say that today, the world of any business is global whether we like it, or plan it, or not.  Be it on the supply side (parts, materials, goods, or software engineers); be it in the customer base; be it in sourcing support or services; or even in the hiring of our employees – everything today has some element of global in it. So I would say get ready for an amazing environment of business that is making the world smaller and smaller and with that driving the need for an expanded knowledge and understanding of the world and the people in it. Your time at university is an amazing opportunity to experience, experiment, learn and try new things that later you may not get a chance to. Use the time wisely and fully and enjoy the journey.

Global change marketplace: how the GSEC Trade Show brings the world to UW

trade showOver its nine year history, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business has brought awareness of pressing global issues to thousands of people – student competitors; competition mentors, judges and coaches; university partners; student volunteers; friends, family and supporters. So far, the competition has engaged over 2000 students of diverse educational disciplines and levels from around the world in tackling complex global social problems with entrepreneurial spirit and innovative market-based solutions.

At the competition’s culmination, semi-finalist university student teams (30-60 students per year) from around the world travel to Seattle for a week to learn about social enterprise, receive professional guidance and connections, network with each other and compete for prizes.

GSEC’s cross-cultural exchange is highlighted at the Trade Show, where semi-finalist teams each give their “pitch” to sell their business ideas to Trade Show judges, who act as mock investors, as well as students and community members. They often have prototypes, photos, videos and stories to illustrate the challenges they are facing and the inspirational impacts of their solutions. As a result, these issues become real, even for those who have never experienced them firsthand. Judge Loretta Little explains: “I have always felt and try to teach my kids that we’re citizens of the world. You need to put yourself in other people’s shoes. What better way than to meet people from around the world who are willing to come forward and share problems with you and what they think might be solutions to those problems.”

Teams often use prize money and connections made during GSEC to help launch their business, which can create employment and have other positive social impacts back home. Archived and streaming video of competition events, media coverage locally and in the student competitors’ universities and communities, and even the competitors own blogs and social media extends the education still further – allowing even those who cannot take part in the competition to feel inspired by the innovations being proposed to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Trade Show judge David Parker summed up why he volunteers each year: “The new ideas that are emerging every year from young people – it’s just astounding – they’re already creating patents, engaging with partners for manufacturing new devices, they’ve been able to engage with experts in the geographies of high need that they hope to get their solutions to – I just love seeing that passion, energy and creativity and innovation emerge and I continue to be impressed year after year with the applicants, the competitors and their ideas.”

GSEC is open to currently enrolled degree-seeking students in any discipline, at any level of study, and at any higher education institution worldwide who submits a plan that uses business principles to create a sustainable solution to poverty, health and economic growth in the developing world. Applications for the 10th annual competition are due November 12, 2014. Learn more at http://www.foster.washington.edu/gsec/

AOF High School students learn about foreign market strategy

AOF & GBCC EventThe University of Washington Foster School of Business’ flagship international event, the Global Business Case Competition (GBCC), brings together undergraduate university students from the United States and 12 – 14 other countries to compete in a fast-paced and challenging business case study. While GBCC week culminates with team presentations to corporate and community judges, it also serves as a forum for cross-cultural learning, and engages the student competitors as mentors for local high school students.

In 2008, we launched a partnership with the national Academy of Finance (AOF) program, which offers high school students an opportunity to study business topics to prepare them for college and their future careers.  Since then, over 500 high school students have come to campus to learn about global business strategy, presentation skills, study abroad, and international business and finance degree options and career opportunities.

This year’s AOF event brought students from three local high schools, Ballard High School, Chief Sealth High School, and Franklin High School, to the University of Washington campus for a full day workshop during GBCC week. During the workshop the AOF high school students were paired with undergraduate business students from around the world, and together they worked through several exercises focused on cultural understanding and developing global business strategy.

The university student participants mentored AOF students on how they approach difficult business cases, and what frameworks and tools they might use to breakdown an international business problem. The students spent part of the day working together on analyzing a case focused on The Boeing Company’s foreign market strategy, completing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analyses of Boeing’s opportunities in both Latin America and Africa. The students were tasked with determining which market Boeing should spend more resources trying to cultivate business.

In years past, the AOF and GBCC students have studied cases ranging from how Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group should handle piracy issues to examining the competitive landscape of Coca-cola and Pepsi over 100 years of rivalry to determining a marketing plan for a Mattel toy brand.

This partnership has resulted in a unique event each year that brings together a diverse group of high school students with university students from all over the world. The AOF students have the opportunity to learn about different culture and what it might be like to study international business in college. An AOF Board member shared that “getting this opportunity … broadens their experiences and offers insight into higher education opportunities.”

To learn more about the Global Business Case Competition and the Academy of Finance program, visit: www.foster.washington.edu/gbcc.

Special thank you to Wells Fargo for their generous support of this program.

Global entrepreneurship: Rewards & challenges

Guest post by Maria Reyes, CISB student Saito 1

As a graduating senior I am often asked what the highlight of my business school career was. The response? The people I’ve met through the Michael G. Foster School of Business.

One of the most inspiring individuals I’ve met is William Saito. Internationally, he’s renowned for his work in encryption, authentication, and biometric technology. Today, he runs InTecur, a consultancy in Japan that helps companies identify and develop applications and markets for innovative technologies.

On May 9th, he came to the Foster School of Business to deliver a talk titled “Global Entrepreneurship: Rewards & Challenges.” I came expecting to learn just about starting a business, but Mr. Saito delivered that and beyond. He shared challenges in penetrating Japanese markets using American venture strategies and was humble in sharing what worked and what didn’t work, how he learned from his mistakes, and the importance of giving back once you are successful.

What I personally received from his talk is the drive to become an innovator during my internship in Tokyo, Japan. For those who are unfamiliar with the Japanese business culture, it is very uniform and male dominated, which is a challenging environment for a woman let alone a foreigner like me. Prior to meeting Mr. Saito, I felt pressured to conform to the Japanese norms. When I expressed my concerns about Japanese business culture to him one-on-one, he challenged me to break my own preconceived notions and be innovative by utilizing my unique background to help grow the company rather than work under it. I will never forget his words and will continue to think of them after graduation. I hope to one day inspire others to be innovative like Mr. Saito does.

Hungarian Ambassador Gyorgy Szapary visits the Foster School

Ambassador Szapary photoOn Friday, May 3rd, a group of Foster students and finance faculty members had the unique opportunity to meet with Ambassador Gyorgy Szapary, Hungarian Ambassador to the United States. An economist who worked for the International Monetary Fund and served as deputy governor of the National Bank of Hungary in his previous roles, Ambassador Szapary spoke on the topic of the European debt crisis.  He began by observing that the European debt crisis is really a triple crisis:  it started as a financial crisis, became a debt crisis, and is now a confidence and growth crisis.  The ambassador used the analogy of an iceberg:  the financial crisis was the part that was visible above the water, but many more problems were discovered under the water.

The European response to the crisis has been to impose fiscal discipline (austerity), although there is now a debate about whether to switch to more expansionary, growth-focused policies.  Ambassador Szapary reviewed the economic performance of European countries over the last five years and contrasted it with the US economy. In a wide-ranging question and answer session, the ambassador addressed questions about bank regulation, the prospects for Hungary adopting the euro, the availability of credit to Hungarian businesses, the effect of austerity policies on social cohesion, and the Hungarian constitution.

MBA study tour: reflections on Shanghai

Post by Jess Rush, Global Business Center Assistant Director of MBA Global Programs

IMG_6078 (2)Twenty three million. It’s hard to fathom the reality of that number. It is almost the population of the state of Texas. It is the population of the CITY of Shanghai, China. Nearly twenty five hundred square miles. It is both the area of the state of Delaware and the city of Shanghai. It’s daunting to think that this is just one city (and it’s not the biggest) in a country that is on the fast track to overtaking the US as the world’s biggest economy. Some studies indicate that we are less than twenty years from that happening. For the past twenty years, Shanghai has been growing, no, exploding. (Check out the photos here for some visual context: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/05/shanghai-can-the-fastest-growing-city-in-the-world-keep-it-up/257021/)

It is in Shanghai that the 2013 MBA Study Tour to China took off for a two week exploration of the culture and business of China. Shanghai provides a wonderful introduction to China. It eases one in with fairly clear skies and clean, safe streets. While it’s not as challenging as other cities, don’t be fooled. It’s still a real challenge to take a taxi to the Bund without it written in Mandarin. Just ask a few of us who tried!

While in Shanghai, the Study Tour visited a variety of companies including AGCO, Siemens Healthcare, SKF, Trina Solar and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Two particularly interesting meetings were with an ex-pat, “C-level” recruiter who left Pittsburg for Shanghai when the US economy took its downturn and with a UW alumnus who created a tech start up and is developing new social networking applications for an increasingly connected Chinese youth.  The MBA students, faculty and staff were treated to a wide array of industries and approaches to doing business both in China and around the globe. We were also treated to a typical Chinese lunch meeting. Over plates and plates of delicious food and steaming cups of tea, we talked hiring tendencies, the importance of human resources in multinational companies and creating community while living abroad.

Part of my experience in Shanghai also included a visit to one of our exchange partner schools-the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF). While it also involved being treated to an amazing lunch spread, it was more importantly and opportunity to connect with colleagues and learn more about each other’s programs. SAIF is a relatively new program in a beautiful new building and in a fantastic part of the city near Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Students interested in studying finance could really benefit from spending a term there.

I expected Shanghai to be an interesting learning experience. I did not expect to be so charmed by the city. From exploring Tianzifang and Xitiandi in the French Concession to an adventure under the river to Pudong and up the Oriental Pearl Tower to see the night lights, the city gripped me. Making our classroom the boardrooms, restaurants, streets and taxis of Shanghai expanded the minds and perspectives of students and faculty/staff alike. There is no experience that can substitute for taking one’s learning global, especially given the future of the world’s economy. In our lifetime, the US will be sharing the stage more and more. Our best prepared leaders will be able to sit at that lunch meeting and make deals while serving themselves with chopsticks.