Conducting business outside US borders requires an expanded set of managerial skills. Most of the "emerging" economies operate in a different cultural context, with different business values and norms. The lack of understanding around these differences has been translated by many US companies into perceived increased risk and thus, inaction and lost business opportunities.
Thus, this past August, eleven students from SUNY Geneseo traveled to Santiago, Chile on a "business focused" Study Abroad program. The objective of the trip was to have students gain first-hand knowledge as to the steps International Business managers take in preparation to enter an international market.
During the 12 day trip, the student group met with governmental agencies including the US Commerce's Commercial Services sector and the Chilean government's EconomicDevelopment Organization; ProChile and Chile Startup, to learn what resources they offer companies looking to expand into Chile.
To understand the economic and financial structure in Chile, they met with KPMG-Santiago to get an overview of the Chilean economy. They then met with a member of Chile's National Mining Society and traveled to the Chilean coast to meet with the management team of a hydroelectric plant to gain further insights into the key drivers of the Chilean economy. Then, to gain insights into the capital structure of the country they met with a representative and toured the Santiago Stock Exchange.
To understand the supply chain process and infrastructure within the country, the students traveled to the port of Valparaiso and met with port authority officials to learn what is required to move products in and out of the country.
And, to gain an understanding of the Chilean consumer, the group visited the Santiago branch of AC Nielsen, had a presentation from an expat US business entrepreneur, and purchased, described....and ate....a "unique Chilean" meal from selected fast food chains that were located in a shopping mall food court.
The outcome of the trip is the crafting of a Market Entry business plan that exhibits the students' knowledge of the process to assess and then plan to enter an international market.