CURRENTLY UNDER REVISION.
About the Project
The purpose of the course project is to
evaluate an existing foreign direct
investment project for one of the three companies in one of
three corresponding target countries. Detailed assignments
and a schedule for the presentation appear on the course syllabus, along
with information on how to sign up for a course project.
The intended audience for the
presentation and report is the senior
management of the company. The objective of the presentation is
to critically assess the existing operation in the given location
and make a recommendation to (i) expand, (ii) continue as is,
or (iii) discontinue
the current operation. Good presentations combine research on the
company, the target countries (including any partners if applicable), and
the industry. Your goal is to evaluate whether or not the FDI location is
a good fit for the company and its objectives---and the fit may change
over time as conditions change. You should make a compelling case for
options (i), (ii) or (iii) guided by the facts and your research.
If you recommend expansion, you should explain how and where and---if
applicable---with which partner; if you recommend exit, you should explain
why and suggest a feasible exit strategy; and if you recommend status quo,
you should explain which factors limit further growth.
This year's theme
is the resource sector and will focus on west coast companies in the forestry,
oil exploration, and mining sector. Each of these locations pose
unique opportunities and challenges. Some of the locations involve
"mature" markets, others involve "emerging" markets.
Students will sign up for one of nine teams by Wednesday, September
21. Each team will make an in-class presentation and write a
corresponding report. A minimum of three students can request a
particular project slot, which are assigned on a
first-come-first-served basis in order of the arrival of an e-mail
messages that contains the names, e-mail addresses, and student
numbers of the prospective team members. The e-mail must also rank
the available choices in case a first choice has become
unavailable. (Go to the "Teams" web page, select your section of
the course, and click on the appropriate link for generating an e-mail.)
Team assignments are confirmed on the course web
site. Students who fail to sign up to a team by the deadline will be
assigned by the instructor to available slots so that the number of
team members is balanced across sections.
Preparing the Presentation
team formation, I will help identify students who are still looking for team
members at the beginning of classes. Students who fail to sign
up voluntarily for teams will be assigned at random to those teams
that still have less than the maximum number of students.
After forming a team, team members should exchange their e-mail addresses
or other suitable contact addresses. Teams should plan on regular
meetings to start the research. Teams that experience any problems
organizing meetings, or experience "free-riding" issues, should contact the
instructor immediately well in advance of the presentation.
After you have formed a team and have been assigned a
company and target country, your team has about one month time to
research the company and target country. Start with the
company and identify the company's current international
strategy. Understand the company's strength and weaknesses, and
determine the rationale for FDI. You should develop a
solid understanding of the company before you proceed to the next
step: identifying the company's FDI strategy.
When researching the target country, a typical mistake is to
focus too intensely on the general business environment. Instead, you
should start with the company's specific needs, the relevant
industry characteristics, and the compatibility of potential
partners in the target country with the company's FDI objective
(if the chosen route involves acquisitions or joint venturing).
How can the FDI project in the target country improve
the company's core competence, while not exposing its weaknesses? Then
look at the opportunities and risks in the target country from this
I will assist and meet with teams to discuss
their research strategy. You should not hesitate to contact your target
company for information. The company's public relations office may be
able to provide information material, annual reports, etc. Databases such
as Lexis-Nexis provide an opportunity to investigate where the company has
been in the news lately. It is often useful to contact your target country's
consulate general in Vancouver, or the country's embassy in Ottawa. Some
countries also have dedicated foreign investment or export promotion agencies
that you can contact. I encourage teams to see me at least once before
their presentation. Experience shows that you should start your
research as early as possible. While much information is available on
the web, you should not eschew the wealth of resources available offline,
in print, or on CD-ROMs. In particular, you should pay a visit to
our library's government section and to UBC's Data Library. Useful
resources include statistical abstracts and yearbooks of international
organizations (UN, UNCTAD, World Bank, IMF, ILO). Staff in the David
Lam Library are particularly helpful with finding suitable resources.
Please do not hesitate asking our librarians for help.
Our classroom is set up for multimedia presentations.
You only need to bring a USB memory stick with your PowerPoint or PDF
presentation. Check with our Learning Technology Services desk (HA 391)
if you have particular questions or needs regarding the presentation
technology. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the
available presentation equipment prior to your presentation. Because
we are on a tight schedule on presentation days, technical problems that delay your presentation may cut into your remaining presentation time.
You are also required to send a copy of your
presentation to me before 10am on the day of the presentation. You
also need to provide me with a handout showing all the slides in the
presentation (with space for notes). I strongly recommend that you
rehearse your presentation at least once before your actual
presentation. Make sure that you stay within your allotted time frame
of 15 minutes for your presentations. There is a five point penalty
for exceeding your allotted time frame by more than 3 minutes.
In fairness to the other presenting team.
I am forced to cut off any team that exceeds 20 minutes.
Each presentation is followed by a 5-minute question and answer period.
When delivering your presentation, try to
convince the audience through the logic and consistency of your
arguments. Do not embellish facts, and avoid swamping your presentation
with incomprehensible statistics. Use numbers and statistics sparingly,
and when you use them, they should make a point. Keep in mind that
statistics should be presented in a way that make them comparable and
intuitive. Avoid absolute figures (e.g., GDP in $); rather use
relative figures (e.g., GDP per capita). If you can visualize statistics,
this often works better than presenting numbers in a table.
Typical mistakes in presentations involve the over-use of presentation
technology. Avoid clutter on presentation slides and technical
In regard to the style of your presentation, avoid
reading from a prepared script. Try to speak freely (although you may
consult your notes or presentation slides). Make eye contact
with your audience. Do not rush through your presentation. Instead,
emphasize the important issues. Remember that "less is often
more". You should prioritize your material and apply a relevance
test before including material in your presentation. While I require
that all team members participate actively in the presentation, team
members do not need to speak for an equal length of time.
Each presentation will be followed by a discussion during which
the audience is required to pose questions to the presenting teams.
Members of the audience should be prepared to ask challenging
questions. Participation during this phase will contribute to
your participation grade
The presentation grade is determined as an
equal-weighted average of the following evaluation criteria:
Grades will not be assigned until all
presentations have been held, and then will be posted in the
grades retrieval system on this web site.
- Breadth: the presentation covered all important
and relevant issues. Was the presentation comprehensive?
- Depth: the presented information was
well researched and compelling. Were topics explored thoroughly?}
- Style: the presentation was clear, lively,
and intelligible. Did the team communicate effectively?}
Peer evaluations across teams will form part of the
process of assigning grades for the presentations. Presentations may be video-recorded for evaluation
Preparing the Report
Following the presentations, you are required to
write up a report that summarizes the key points of your presentation.
In addition to your research the report should also reflect any
questions or points raised during the discussion immediately following
the presentation. The course syllabus contains details on the permitted
length of the report. Remember
that a key point of this exercise is to demonstrate the ability to
condense, prioritize and rank the importance of information.
Information sources (including web sites) must be cited appropriately
either in footnotes or in a separate bibliography at the end of the
The structure of the report should follow the
presentation. Beginning with the company, outline the company's
strategy for outsourcing and how the chosen outsourcing partner (and
the services the partner provides) fits
into this strategy. It may be useful to explain which factors (e.g.,
competitive forces, demand shifts, trends, government intervention)
are currently driving the development of the industry (i.e., the potential
outsourcing partners). Having
identified a suitable outsourcing partner, assess how the business
environment of the target country relates to the project. In making
the case for the target country, identify and highlight the
opportunities provided by this location. You should also address
potential problems for the company's project and weigh their
importance against the positive points.
Depending on the nature of the project it may also be
necessary to discuss the integration of the new project with other
units or projects in the multinational enterprise, or with external
suppliers and distributors. This is particularly relevant in the case
where manufacturing abroad requires intermediate goods. The report
should conclude with a recommendation to either go ahead with the
outsourcing project, or to scrap it. The latter outcome is a feasible
option if you demonstrate that the negative points dominate the
positive points of the project. Given the brevity of the
report, you will only be able to focus on the most important points.
It is important to show the relevance of the points that are being
discussed, and to show the ability to prioritize and rank the
importance of the points.
In writing your report, the investment project
is the central issue. You are not writing a country report,
thus all issues about the target country must be specific to the
investment project. When you write the report, ask yourself for each
piece of information: is this relevant for the investment project?
Based on the above considerations, you may want to
structure your report as follows. (This is only a suggestion and may
not always fit the particular nature of the investment project):
- Company Overview and Strategy:
What does the company do and what is their strategic
focus for internationalization? [keep this short and concise]
- Description of FDI Project:
What is the scope of this project?
What is the project going to accomplish? What are the objectives
and success criteria for this project?
[this section is central]
- Rationale for the original FDI Project:
How did the project fit into the overall strategy of the company?
Does the project build on, or utilize effectively,
the company's core competence?
How does the project enhance and strengthen the company's core competence?
Is the project going to be profitable? Also identify potential
risks on the revenue and cost side.
- Target Country Business Environment:
What are the conditions in the target country? Are they conducive
to the project? Where are problems and risks? [this section must
be relevant to the outsourcing project; do not discuss issues that
are obviously irrelevant to the project; clearly prioritize the
issues based on their significance to the investment project]
- Industry Perspectives:
Discuss key drivers of the relevant industry, market projections,
potential partners, rivalry and competition.
- Evaluation of Options:
Discuss the available options of expanding, maintaining the status quo,
and exiting. Assess opportunities and threats.
Brief summary of major points and your recommendation.
- [Appendix; References]
This outline is merely a suggestion. You should
deviate from it as appropriate. Virtually every company, target
country, and project type will have its own unique issues that
may require a different approach. There are many alternative ways
of organizing your report. However, your report should always be
structured in a logical and consistent manner.
You will usually not be able to obtain concrete
numbers that would allow you to calculate financial implications
of your recommended strategy. Just like the presentation, the report
should focus on the central strategic issues.
You can either add a list of references at the end of
the report or provide them as footnotes. Either way you must cite sources
appropriately following standard citation styles. If you cite online
resources, it is insufficient to merely cite a URL. For online resources
you must identify an author (person, company, or institution), a title,
and a publication year. It must be identifiable who provided the information
and when. Avoid citing online resources of dubious origin (authorship)
or dubious publication date. For further guidance,
please refer to the UBC Library's
Criteria for Evaluating Internet Resources. The typical citation style is
Author's last name, First name. "Title of work".
[URL] Date of publication or visit.