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MBA International Business Immersion Capstone Project
 
     
     
 

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Process Process
 
     
     
 

Tasks

First, divide up roles among your team members so each person has a specific focus area they are responsible for. Suggested roles include but are not exclusive to:  International affairs & culture, business operations, finance & accounting, human resources, technology, and sales & marketing. As you complete the tasks outlined below, each group member should consider their role when addressing the questions listed.

Next, review the steps your group will complete. Note, certain readings are required for all students where noted, otherwise, following your group’s protocol for “divide & conquer.”

All pre-immersion activities will culminate into a group written report (30 pages average) and group presentation regarding your research prior to your trip. During and after the immersion experience, you will work with your group to complete the second part of the report and presentation where you outline your findings and make recommendations (30 pages average).

Pre-Immersion:

Step 1

Initial research questions as you immerse yourself in Jordan.

As you review the websites provided in addition to your own research, address the following questions as you develop a 5-6 page “Current State of Jordan” overview briefing to include in your final report.

1. How does Jordan’s Physical geography and natural resources enhance or hinder your company’s expansion into the country?

2. What are the entry requirements for American and European citizens?

3. What are specific business guidelines for US firms operating in Jordan?

4. How have neighboring countries played a role in shaping or hindering business development in the country?

5. In layman’s terms, what is the political environment of Jordan, its neighbors and US – Jordanian and US – Middle East relations?

6. What is state of tourism? 

7. What are the “hot” social issues Jordanians face currently? 

8. How has religion shaped the social mores of Jordan and play a role in business practices?

9. How does the media portray current events in Jordan and within the Middle East? Are there different perspectives? How does this impact business?

As you read up on a few current events happening in Jordan and the surrounding area, compare various websites to see if there are differences in reporting and perspective. As an American business leader, how can you stay abreast of current events and sift through the influence cable news media and print journalists play on reporting stories from the region? Synthesize the website information uncovered and collaborate within your group to discuss the questions listed above. Additionally, in your blog page, reflect on personal insights gained during your research.

Websites:

Al Jazeera

Arabian Business

Arab News

BBC News - Middle East

CNN International

Jordan Times

Jordan Business Magazine

Middle East & North Africa Report

Step 2
Understanding Global Business

To set the stage and provide you with a framework for the global business environment you and your group will follow the same case study format we’ve utilized throughout the program with the following resources. Use these as a platform to work from and then explore additional scholarly resources to use for your project. When reading these resources ask yourself the following questions:

1. Why venture into the global business arena?

2. What are the benefits and risks to doing business globally?

3. What have companies experienced when expanding beyond its own country’s borders?

4. What areas of the globe are expanding, contracting, stagnant?

5. Why focus on the Middle East for business expansion?

6. What social and cultural challenges enter into the management equation when working globally? When working in the Middle East?

7. What companies and organizations exist within Jordan within your business segment? Are they direct competitors to your company or complimentary business partners? 

8. What key lessons from the HBR readings listed below would you build into your business recommendation?

Synthesize the readings and collaborate within your group to discuss the questions listed above. Develop a 5-6 page global business overview briefing to include in your final report.

Identify five companies you would like to meet during our trip to Jordan. Have two additional “back-ups” just in case some companies do not work out. Schedule time with Dr. Al Majia to discuss how you will contact your companies and arrange for your meeting. Our University also has a partnership with the University of Jordan to assist arranging business meetings during our trip. 

Websites:

Company Listing in Jordan
Doing Business in Jordan
Hoover's Company Directory - Jordan
Jordan Customs
Jordan Economic & Commerce Bureau
Jordan Foreign Trade and Business Customs
Jordan Holding Companies
Middle East Business Intelligence
Middle East Business Forum
Middle East Business Resource
Public Companies in Jordan


Additional Reading ** Required For All Students ** Used for Class Discussion.
Please download the Harvard Business Review Cases from The Course Reserves

HBR - A Traveler's Guide to Gifts & Bribes
HBR - Distance Still Matters: The Hard Reality of Global Expansion
HBR - Managing in a Borderless World
HBR - Tap Your Subsidiaries for Global Reach
HBR - The Tourism Time Bomb
HBR - When You Shouldn't Go Global
HBR - Where Oil Rich Nations are Placing Their Bets
HBR - The Finance Function in a Global Corporation
HBR - Emerging Giants: Building World Class Companies in Developing Countries
HBR - Lincoln Electric's Harsh Lessons from International Expansion
HBR - Managing Differences: The Central Challenge of Global Strategy
HBR - The Competitive Advantage of Nations


Step 3
Conduct a SWOT and Financial Pro Forma

Using your company, conduct a SWOT analysis and financial statement pro-forma for your company assuming expansion into Jordan is imminent. Implement your financial and business management skills from prior classes when completing this section. Some additional insight for international business analysis can be accessed through the university library.

** Required Reading for All Students **

The strategic planning process: evidence from Turkish firms
Omer Dincer, Ekrem Tatoglu, Keith W. Glaister. Management Research
News. Patrington: 2006. Vol. 29, Iss. 4; p. 206 

Developing a strategic profile: the pre-planning phase of strategic management. Herbert Sherman, Daniel J. Rowley, Barry R. Armandi. Business Strategy Series. Northampton: 2007. Vol. 8, Iss. 3; p. 162 

Effective use of a Strategic Issue Management System (SIMS): combining tools an approach. G R Oliver, P J Donnelly. Journal of Public Affairs. London: Nov 2007. Vol. 7, Iss. 4; p. 399

Evaluating a Country for Offshore Outsourcing: Software Development Providers in the Ukraine. Sergiy Zatolyuk, Bridget Allgood. Information Systems Management. Boston: Summer 2004. Vol. 21, Iss. 3; pg. 28, 6 pgs

International business competence and the contemporary firm. Gary A Knight, Daekwan Kim. Journal of International Business Studies. Washington: Feb/Mar 2009. Vol. 40, Iss. 2; pg. 255, 19 pgs

Theoretical Perspectives on the Internationalization of Firms. Morten Rask, Jesper Strandskov, Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson. Journal of Teaching in International Business. New York: 2008. Vol. 19, Iss. 4; pg. 320

Strategic Patterns in International Business: Product Differentiation or Complementarity. Rock-Antoine Mehanna. Journal of Transnational Management. New York: 2008. Vol. 13, Iss. 2; pg. 112

Prepare a 5-6 page SWOT analysis to include in your final project. Your proforma should be based on 10 years.

Step 4
Review Your Work So Far

After your group completed the environmental scan of Jordan as well as learned more about the dynamics of the global business environment, arrange to meet with one other cohort group to share your findings in the boardroom. Treat this as a formal C-level presentation with the other group acting as your board member audience. 15 Minute Presentation - concise & crisp. Each group should follow the peer evaluation guidelines when meeting with the other group. Listen, ask questions, and provide complimentary as well as constructive criticism for your peers. The objective is not to “poke holes,” rather treat this presentation similar to our boardroom exercises for everyone’s benefit. Your overall evaluation of the group is based on the quality of research conducted and the crispness of communication in the boardroom. By design, this immersion experience requires you to dive deep into the research but highlight only the most salient points your senior leadership audience needs to hear.

Review the comments from the other team and decide how to incorporate them into your final report and presentation.

Note similarities and differences between your group’s research findings and post a two page summary of your discussion on the course webpage as well as note your personal insights on your blog page. Reflect on the following questions:

1. What areas did both groups have similar findings? Different?

2. Was the research thorough and presentation appropriate for the audience?

3. Did personal insights, perspectives, or opinions influence and/or skew either group’s work?

4. Were any recommendations incorporated into your project from group advice?

5. Were there any glaring holes in the work produced to date that need to be shored-up?

Step 5
Prepare Interview Questions

Develop a list of interview questions your team would like to ask during your visit to gain greater insight into their business operation. Additionally, utilize this section as your "cultural awareness" piece. Utilize the resources provided below to assist you.

Doing Business in the Middle East - Etiquette
International Business Etiquette and Manners
Middle East Culture
The Culture of Jordan
Work Etiquette

1. What customs or protocols are different than your own? Different than American busines practices?

2. How will you adapt your interactions with business leaders from Jordan?

3. What barriers will you have to overcome?

In your blog page, reflect on your upcoming visit to Jordan and meeting with the business leaders you’ve identified. What excites you? What reservations do you have? How will you personally adapt to different cultural norms?

By this point you are getting ready to depart for Jordan in a few weeks. Take a look through the following sites regarding travel arrangements and be sure to identify a few activities that you'd like to do for fun during your travels. After all, part of business travel incorporates some "downtime" for fun and exploration.

CIA World Fact Book - Jordan
Jordan Embassy in Washington DC
Jordan Travel
Jordan Travel Guide
Jordan Visitor's Guide
U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory

Step 6
Group Presentation and Written Report Part One Deliverable

Prepare a group presentation to be delivered in class two weeks prior to departure. Submit a group written report (approximately 30 pages) outlining the business climate in Jordan and your assessment of the financial and business health of your company expanding into Jordan.

Rubric for Presentation and Paper

 
     
     
 
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