The course project is aimed at understanding the strategies of multinational enterprises in entering foreign markets. Students will form teams to research and present a different multinational enterprise of their choice and analyze their internationalization strategy (export, foreign direct investment, joint venturing, or merger and acquisition) over the last decade. Which challenges did they run into, and how did they overcome them?
Students are encouraged to focus on Canadian and US companies. If you choose a more mature company, the focus should be on a novel product or technology. I specifically encourage looking at companies in the high-tech sector, clean energy sector, and digital media sector.
In the first session, students should form teams. Students are required to find their own team partners by signing up to one of the team slots on the sign-up sheet that will be circulated until all students have signed up to a team. Each group must have at least three members but must not exceed five. The instructor reserves the right to balance team memberships to make membership in teams roughly equal across teams. Companies are chosen on a first-come first-served basis. Whoever claims a company first on the sign-up sheet can lock it up. Teams may change project topics until the end of the third week of classes.
All presentations will be held on Wednesday October 7, 2015. Please note that the presentations are schedule for 14:00-16:00, that is 40 minutes past the usual end of class.
- Team A — Under Armour: Branden, James, Minjie, Rashaqa
- Team B — Samsung: Mikko, Janina, Franziska
- Team C — Lululemon: Abhishek, Rodrigo, Eduardo, Richard
Each team will have 15-20 minutes for presentation and 5-10 minutes for discussions with the audience, for a maximum of 25 minutes per presentation. Teams should prepare an accompanying report of about 10-15 pages highlighting the key elements of their research, to be turned in to the instructor on the day of the final exam. The presentation is worth 25 points, and the report is worth 15 points, for a total of 40 points for the team project.
Experience shows that you should start your research as early as possible. Identify the key issues that you need to cover (considering the outline of questions below), and allocate the work accordingly among team members. You may need to be selective as you will not have time to cover all topics. You have to focus on the most relevant issues. I strongly recommend that you rehearse your presentations.
The presentation should address the following questions:
- What are the MNE's objectives in pursuing investments abroad?
- Is the chosen target consistent with these objectives?
- Why invest in this country and not another? (Concretely, what is the potential of this new market, or what are the cost advantages of this production location?)
- How does the new investment complement prior foreign investments?
- Why choose the particular type of entry mode?
- Who are the competitors, and what are their potential counter-moves?
- How should the project be financed (internally or externally), and which organizational form should thus be selected?
- What are possible problems in the foreign country? Develop a best-case and a worst-case scenario.
- Which integration problems may arise?
- Will the new project require expatriate managers, or can the MNE rely on hiring local managers?
- How should the parent assess success or failure of the new project? Develop a set of criteria.
- If things go wrong, what is a suitable exit strategy? Are there irreversible costs to the project?
Presentations will be evaluated on (a) quality and depth of research; (b) comprehensiveness and breadth of coverage; and (c) effective communication. Presentations can be supportive or critical of the actual decisions firms have taken. Presentations will be evaluated jointly by the instructor and peers. Students are required to fill out a form with evaluations of their peers, which will be collected and processed by the instructor after the last of the presentations.