Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

A Cultural Journey – Jennifer Syed

As an Indian, going back to India through our university for a study abroad session was a very fulfilling and emotional experience. To learn about the contrast of business environments made it fulfilling, whereas noticing the cultural difference between the US and India made it emotional. Our study abroad course, “Innovation in Emerging Markets,” headed by Dr. Rangapriya Narasimhan was the perfect course to understand the business differences and approaches used across the US and India. As our cohort consisted of students from different parts of the world. like Germany, China, Turkey, Spain, United States, and Italy, seeing them adjust to the culture difference showed the major cultural variances between India and the US.

Students enjoying some leisure time after company visit day in the traditional attire of India: “Salvar Kameez” and “Bindi”

Coming to the difference in business environment, India in many business ways runs on “jugaad,” that is where different things are cobbled together to make it work somehow. Whereas in the United States, due to the detailed processes, every business transaction follows a proper and similar structure. In business terms, the presence of institutional voids in India makes it challenging to enter a market and makes it an emerging economy, whereas the structure that follows most of the business practices in the United States makes it more organized with less of risks.

Students enjoying traditional Indian vegetarian food called “thali”

Moving on to the cultural difference between India and the US, without a doubt, India and US are culturally pretty different, in terms of languages, eating habits, clothing, religious beliefs and many more to count on. Seeing the students adapt to the difference in the culture was remarkable, as being an Indian, I can sense it would have been a roller coaster ride for most of them! But coming to the commonalities in the differences, both the countries have amazing people to help you and smile at you and that was what led most of the students to thrive through the cultural differences.

Company visit at the Indian Oil Corporation in rural India, Bhiwandi

India being home has always given me a very patriotic feel to it as the culture and life there symbolizes courage, tolerance, love, family and kindness. The US is becoming a second home to me with the kind of opportunities, growth and motivation it gives out as a country to people from different parts of the world. Having the opportunity to experience both the countries in a business and cultural context has given me a deeper understanding of the intricacies of culture that drives the business in both the countries.

To check out more student experiences, please visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Innovation and Cooperation in Mondragón

This past summer, Jessica Kort traveled to Mondragón, Spain to learn about the role of the environment and community in innovation and entrepreneurship. Please enjoy reading her perspectives on the philosophy of business, leadership, and life.

“It is extraordinary that this course on Models of Participatory Leadership is offered in Mondragon. Beyond being a unique yet entirely enlightening topic for students of business, it is invaluable to learn about this style of leadership that is uncommon for us in the United States. Were Mondragon 2it not for the financial aid, I would have been unable to travel and study in Mondragon. I truly treasured the experience because being immersed in the culture that generated this philosophy of business and leadership added complex layers to my understanding of it.

It was one thing to read about Mondragon cooperatives’ competitive advantages and astounding success from campus in San Diego. It was another entirely to see where it all began, speak face-to-face with beneficiaries of this way of business and of life, experience the culture that inspired it and watch its creations in action. Visiting the headquarters of the cooperative umbrella corporation, the cooperative factory floors and cooperative university brought theMondragon 9 narratives to life. We digested the forces and motives that drove visionaries to create cooperatives in the Basque region while sharing traditional Basque meals with beneficiaries of their foresight. We studied the economic theory behind cooperatives and walked the halls of a stunning university later created to teach and embody that cooperative structure. We mulled over how Catholic Social Thought laid the foundation of values that inspired the cooperatives’ founders to construct something better for their community in the 1950s, and trekked to a symbolically designed basilica erected and dedicated to the community in that same decade. We learned about another people’s perspectives on wealth, happiness, progress, independence and fairness.
Mondragon 1The course content gave me much to consider as an entrepreneur, and the trip reminded me that our environment has as great a role in our creations as we do. We cannot design or innovate in isolation. We must observe our surroundings and take stock of other people’s needs and perspectives to generate workable solutions and community change. I am currently applying what I learned to my nonprofit work. I’m drawing useful comparisons between cooperatives’ growth in their cultural environment and collaborations in the San Diego social sector. I will remember what I heard from cooperative workers as I look for ways to incorporate qualities they cherish about their professional environment. It was so inspiring to witness their commitment to and belief in the cooperative model, and I hope to emulate those feelings of dedication to work and livelihood here.”

Mondragon 8

To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Ahlers Fellow Matt Oney: The Dangers of Growing Too Big, Too Fast

“Navera, a start-up in San Francisco, recently tasked me with determining the viability of expanding their product internationally. The team wanted to find out whether potential revenues would outweigh the costs of adapting their product to fit a few select markets. To give you a bit of background, Navera works in the healthcare space, creating fun, user-friendly cartoons designed to help consumers better understand available healthcare options. It’s a really cool product, and they’ve seen great success within the US. In the everlasting pursuit of increased revenues, they’re looking to offer additional language support to target native Spanish-speakers.

I began by determining the potential market size that would be opened up by offering Spanish support. After Mandarin, Spanish is the second-most widely spoken language in the world, so there’s huge potential here, right? With over 400 million speakers and official language status in 21 different countries, Spanish could offer Navera the opportunity to tap into markets all across Europe, Africa, and South, Central, and North America.

I split the potential expansion into two different categories: (1) international expansion into Spanish-speaking countries in EMEA (Europe and the Middle East), and (2) Mexico and LATAM (Latin America). Everything looked great for EMEA. There are about 38 million native Spanish-speakers there, with only three varying dialects, all primarily located in Spain. Mexico and LATAM weren’t so bad, either. There are about 221 million Spanish speakers in the emerging economies within this region. And the rapidly rising population and income in these areas will only lead to greater demand for healthcare. The product fits, and the market is huge. Awesome!

However, the issue is there are so many variables to take into account before jumping into these markets. For one, the way healthcare works in the US is incredibly different from these countries. There are tons of government regulations and compliance codes, which we need to be familiar with before launching the product. Not to mention a severe lack of brand awareness, local Sales and Business Development teams, and cultural differences to take into account. Quite simply, launching internationally would be a huge task, on top of Navera’s current work domestically.

Scaling back, I decided to look just at the Hispanic population in the US. Sifting through the US Census data from 2015, I found that the market here, too, is huge. 62% of all Hispanics in the US predominantly speak Spanish at home. A huge number of these people simply can’t speak English fluently, and there really is a need for Spanish support here. Cutting the data down, I found that 5,500,000 of these Hispanics are over 18 (check), not fluent in English (check), and earn a salary (check), making them eligible for health care coverage through their employer.

I started to believe we should start expansion domestically. Navera had previously stated that they wouldn’t consider international expansion unless they were guaranteed at least $25M in revenue, which was starting to look bleak, given the major differences in healthcare internationally, compliance factors, operating costs, and cultural factors. Starting small, adapting the product by offering standard Spanish support, and targeting these 5,500,000 native Hispanics will give us a good benchmark of how successful this project could be.

The biggest thing I learned, through this research, was that you can never get ahead of yourself, especially when looking internationally. The market for selling to these overseas markets is undeniably huge, and very profitable. But the costs (mostly in terms of time and complexity) far outweigh the benefits, in the short-term. In this case, it’s smarter to start small, test the product within our current US market, and take it from there.

There I had it. I organized my findings and recommendations, presented them to the Head of Marketing, and helped to reinforce their decision to focus on the US market first. The biggest thing I learned, through this research, was that you can never get ahead of yourself, especially when looking internationally. The market for selling to these overseas markets is undeniably huge, and very profitable. But the costs (mostly in terms of time and complexity) far outweigh the benefits, in the short-term. In this case, it’s smarter to start small, test the product on Spanish speakers within our current US market, and take it from there.

Throughout my time working on this project, the team was incredibly supportive of me, offered me an abundance of internal data and information to use, and truly seemed to appreciate the findings that I provided them. Their international expansion hasn’t been terminated by any means – we’ve just taken a more cautious, measurable approach toward growth.”

Read more student blog posts about our Ahlers Fellowship and study abroad opportunities!

Visit our website for more information about study abroad.

Optimizing your Global Supply Chain #3

3 Seminars: May 13, 18 & 20.

Prices include all 3 seminars.

In our hyper-competitive world of international business, building, managing and sustaining a global supply chain is critical. Regular supply chain issues must be addressed in innovative ways. There are a number activities companies should focus on in order to optimize their supply chains. These include properly controlling costs, mitigating supply chain risk and complexity, pursuing cross-functional alignment, implementing green practices and attracting and retaining appropriate talent.

Although sound supply chain management practices are not always followed, crafting and executing a thoughtful supply chain strategy is critical–and the benefits are huge. A well-oiled supply chain can go a long way in enhancing global competitiveness and achieving higher profits. It could also be the difference between success and failure.

Learning Objectives:

  • Design and execute a sourcing strategy aligned with your firm’s needs
  • Identify best practices and key performance metrics in managing your supply chain
  • Develop a “green” supply chain strategy that makes financial sense for your firm
  • Identify sources of supply chain risk and complexity and describe methodologies to mitigate
  • Recognize the importance of supply chain innovation to a firm’s survival

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

Joel SutherlandJoel Sutherland is managing director of the Supply Chain Management Institute and an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego. Previously, Sutherland was with Lehigh University and taught at the University of Southern California.

Sutherland has more than 30 years of experience as a supply chain executive working for multi-billion dollar companies in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, paper, pharmaceutical, food and third-party logistics (3PL).

He received his B.S. degree from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Pepperdine University, has dozens of published papers and articles and is a popular speaker at industry meetings and universities around the world.

He received a number of honors including the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Distinguished Service Award; the Professional Achievement Award from Logistics Management magazine; recognition as a Top 20 Logistics Executive by CLO magazine and the Logistics and Supply Chain Forum; and honored as a Thought Leader by Supply Chain Quarterly and DC Velocity magazines.

Optimizing your Global Supply Chain #2

3 Seminars: May 13, 18 & 20.

Prices include all 3 seminars.

In our hyper-competitive world of international business, building, managing and sustaining a global supply chain is critical. Regular supply chain issues must be addressed in innovative ways. There are a number activities companies should focus on in order to optimize their supply chains. These include properly controlling costs, mitigating supply chain risk and complexity, pursuing cross-functional alignment, implementing green practices and attracting and retaining appropriate talent.

Although sound supply chain management practices are not always followed, crafting and executing a thoughtful supply chain strategy is critical–and the benefits are huge. A well-oiled supply chain can go a long way in enhancing global competitiveness and achieving higher profits. It could also be the difference between success and failure.

Learning Objectives:

  • Design and execute a sourcing strategy aligned with your firm’s needs
  • Identify best practices and key performance metrics in managing your supply chain
  • Develop a “green” supply chain strategy that makes financial sense for your firm
  • Identify sources of supply chain risk and complexity and describe methodologies to mitigate
  • Recognize the importance of supply chain innovation to a firm’s survival

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

Joel SutherlandJoel Sutherland is managing director of the Supply Chain Management Institute and an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego. Previously, Sutherland was with Lehigh University and taught at the University of Southern California.

Sutherland has more than 30 years of experience as a supply chain executive working for multi-billion dollar companies in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, paper, pharmaceutical, food and third-party logistics (3PL).

He received his B.S. degree from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Pepperdine University, has dozens of published papers and articles and is a popular speaker at industry meetings and universities around the world.

He received a number of honors including the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Distinguished Service Award; the Professional Achievement Award from Logistics Management magazine; recognition as a Top 20 Logistics Executive by CLO magazine and the Logistics and Supply Chain Forum; and honored as a Thought Leader by Supply Chain Quarterly and DC Velocity magazines.

Developing a Focused Global Sales Strategy #3

3 Seminars: April 23 & 30, May 7.

Price includes all 3 seminars.

In today’s global marketplace, individuals and companies are increasingly looking to sell to foreign customers, which often requires that they expand their sales and business operations to international locations. International selling often starts with the basic demands of the current customer who is expanding outside of the U.S. and asking its suppliers to follow. In other instances, companies are looking to sell internationally in order to compensate for slumping domestic sales or otherwise to grow revenues. In all cases, a focused strategy must be developed and implemented in order for individuals and companies to realize a sufficient payoff from such a large investment of time and resources by the company and its sales force.

Learning Objectives:

  • Design and execute an international selling strategy that supports the goals of the company
  • Identify best practices of selling globally and managing a global sales force
  • Demonstrate consideration for foreign customs and cultures
  • Evaluate pertinent trade regulations and mechanisms of each target country including tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, quotas, and exchange controls
  • Determine how much product and price adaptation is necessary for each foreign market
  • Develop a process for finding and obtaining high quality in-country partners
  • Evaluate the various methods of working with each partner and pick the most appropriate one
  • Assess the proper sales and delivery terms to ensure payment while mitigating international financial risk

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

carsten zimmermanCarlton O’Neal, clinical professor of marketing, is a 25-year veteran in technology and global entrepreneurship, marketing, sales and business development. Currently, he is a visiting assistant professor at the University of San Diego teaching marketing, business-to-business marketing and professional selling in both undergraduate and graduate programs. O’Neal also teaches marketing and sales to local technology executives through UCSD Extension. Previously, he held VP and CEO positions with various startup and public technology companies in the U.S. and abroad, including GigaRiver, Proximetry (Poland), Alvarion (Israel), Bosch Telecom (Germany) and Texas Instruments. He also pioneered the creation of the first commercial 4G standard in the world called WiMAX. In his positions, O’Neal has been involved in strategic planning and leadership, including market targeting, positioning and differentiating, developing key early customers and partnerships and marketing and selling products and services in the U.S. and 35 countries worldwide.

Leading Across Cultures for Business Interactions and Teams

3 Seminars: April 8, 15 & 22.

Price includes all 3 seminars.

In the current global business environment, leaders at all levels of the organization interact with peers, clients, subordinates and suppliers from a wide variety of countries. Some of these interactions take place domestically while others are clearly cross-border. In either case, understanding the cultural values that underlie behavior is critical to leadership success. This seminar is designed to develop a level of cross-cultural awareness that will enhance global leadership skills. This applies to not only leading multicultural teams (virtual and face-to-face) but also dealing with clients and suppliers from all over the world. Additionally, the seminar will be invaluable to those who will be in leadership positions as expatriates. The sessions will be primarily interactive utilizing small groups discussions, experiential exercises, cases and self-assessments.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify tools for assessing cultural differences
  • Describe one’s own cultural profile and how it affects one’s perceptions of and behavior towards others
  • Identify the potential impact of cultural values on how people communicate
  • Use cultural values to understand and lead multicultural teams
  • Describe unique challenges of leading multicultural virtual teams
  • Recognize the characteristics that contribute to success as an expatriate leader
  • Utilize a self-assessment tool to identify leadership skills related to expatriate success

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

Cynthia PavettCynthia Pavett is professor of management at the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, specializing in international organizational behavior, comparative management, organization design, and negotiations. She has a broad range of experience teaching and living in multiple countries including China, Armenia, India, Australia and a variety of EU countries. Her passion for the complex issues involved in cross-cultural management has resulted in numerous academic publications and presentations at international meetings as well as her teaching in several of the University of San Diego’s executive programs, both domestically and internationally. She received both her PhD and her MBA from the University of Utah.

Closing the Gap: An American Experience with Argentine Economics

In January 2015, graduate student Elizabeth Tanner participated in the intersession course (Global Entrepreneurship for Social Change) program in Buenos Aires, Argentina and got a first-hand look at Argentine economics, including a growing wealth gap, which has been affected by both domestic political and financial instability starting in the 20th Century.

One of the ten wealthiest states during the 19th Century — a result of prosperous trading with European countries, flowing immigration and rich natural resources — Argentina began going through political and financial stability, as did much of the world, during the two World Wars. Add in political instability, degenerating fiscal policies and a domestic currency crisis in 2001, and socioeconomic inequality rose immensely.

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The closing dinner for the students in Buenos Aires; Elizabeth Tanner is second from the right.

Fast forward to 2015, Elizabeth Tanner was able to see and experience how Argentinian businesses are working to decrease that gap. “The role of business and entrepreneurs [is] in finding solutions to the wealth gap, creating and providing sustainable jobs, and improving the social climate in Argentina… Many business and entrepreneurs are taking an active role in driving social change through business initiatives. We witnessed this first hand through site visits during our course in Buenos Aires,” said Tanner.

Outside of the classroom, the participants went on numerous site visits to companies and organizations who are directly modeling their company goals and practices towards helping decrease poverty and grow the middle class. Tanner commented, “I was most impressed by Fundación Avina. We visited their Argentine headquarters in Buenos Aires… At Fundación Avina, they are addressing social challenges by creating sustainable profitable ventures. We learned about their efforts in Argentina. In the slums of Buenos Aires (and every metropolitan area globally), there are a subset of people who create income by picking through garbage and reclaiming the valuable and reusable waste… Waste pickers are an important part of our society [as they] are preventing landfill and assisting in achieving environmental sustainability and reclaiming commodities.” However, because they are working informally, their rights and leverage concerning wages. Fundación Avina, in response, has created cooperatives that unite the workers and enable them to get higher wages. On the legal end, the philanthropic group has worked on pushing public policy to formally recognize these workers.

View of Buenos Aires at sunset from the hotel.

View of Buenos Aires at sunset from the hotel.

Overall, Tanner’s experience has shown her how many businesses around the world are concerned just as much, if not more, about the ethics surrounding their practices and goals as they are with their bottom line. “The Golden Rule is moving to the forefront of many entrepreneurial efforts globally and businesses are prioritizing social responsibility. In addition, individuals and businesses are recognizing that sound business models and sustainable revenue flows can benefit social initiatives in creating long standing change,” Tanner said.

Strategic Growth, Financial Profitability and Free Cash Flow Valuation #3

3 Seminars: March 19, 24 & 26

Price includes all 3 seminars.

This seminar will help participants develop tools for understanding how firms plan (or should plan) for growth, and manage it throughout the firm and industry life-cycle. From early-stage startups to major public corporations, the growth of sales, cash flows and value is at the front and center of decision making. We will examine how industry forces (national and international) impact decision making, and will consider how ratio analysis helps identify potential areas of concern and guide us towards improving the performance of an organization. In addition, we will examine scenarios that call for a decision to expand, be acquired or acquire another firm. Current public financial information and case study analysis will be utilized through the seminar.

Learning Objectives:

Module 1: Financial Statement Analysis

  • Construct from scratch the three most used financial statements (Balance Statement, Income  Statement and Statement of Cash Flows)
  • Identify the various groups of ratios used in time series and cross-sectional analysis, and articulate how they impact
    current valuation
  • Use ratio analysis on a mini-case

Module 2: Planning for Growth

  • Distinguish between accounting and economic profitability and how a company can stay afloat financially during
    periods of growth
  • Articulate how the various parts of a company deliver growth and the impact on cash flow
  • Compare and contrast internal and external growth for sustainable financial planning

Module 3: Three-Year Detailed Simulation of Running a Small Business

  • Develop initial position, plan for inputs acquisition, working capital and capital asset acquisition, and read
    accompanying accounting statements

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

svetina jpgMarko Svetina joined the University of San Diego ‘s School of Business Administration in 2008 after obtaining his PhD in Finance from Arizona State University. At USD, he teaches graduate and undergraduate corporate finance and investments courses. His research interests include the role of private equity in mergers and acquisitions, the impact of local clienteles on the precision of analyst forecasts, accelerated share buybacks and performance and competition of exchange traded funds (ETFs). Professor Svetina is frequently recognized as one of the outstanding professors within the School of Business Administration at USD.

Strategic Growth, Financial Profitability and Free Cash Flow Valuation #2

3 Seminars: March 19, 24 & 26.

Price includes all 3 seminars.

This seminar will help participants develop tools for understanding how firms plan (or should plan) for growth, and manage it throughout the firm and industry life-cycle. From early-stage startups to major public corporations, the growth of sales, cash flows and value is at the front and center of decision making. We will examine how industry forces (national and international) impact decision making, and will consider how ratio analysis helps identify potential areas of concern and guide us towards improving the performance of an organization. In addition, we will examine scenarios that call for a decision to expand, be acquired or acquire another firm. Current public financial information and case study analysis will be utilized through the seminar.

Learning Objectives:

Module 1: Financial Statement Analysis

  • Construct from scratch the three most used financial statements (Balance Statement, Income  Statement and Statement of Cash Flows)
  • Identify the various groups of ratios used in time series and cross-sectional analysis, and articulate how they impact
    current valuation
  • Use ratio analysis on a mini-case

Module 2: Planning for Growth

  • Distinguish between accounting and economic profitability and how a company can stay afloat financially during
    periods of growth
  • Articulate how the various parts of a company deliver growth and the impact on cash flow
  • Compare and contrast internal and external growth for sustainable financial planning

Module 3: Three-Year Detailed Simulation of Running a Small Business

  • Develop initial position, plan for inputs acquisition, working capital and capital asset acquisition, and read
    accompanying accounting statements

Total Seminar Hours: 9

Seminar Leader

svetina jpgMarko Svetina joined the University of San Diego ‘s School of Business Administration in 2008 after obtaining his PhD in Finance from Arizona State University. At USD, he teaches graduate and undergraduate corporate finance and investments courses. His research interests include the role of private equity in mergers and acquisitions, the impact of local clienteles on the precision of analyst forecasts, accelerated share buybacks and performance and competition of exchange traded funds (ETFs). Professor Svetina is frequently recognized as one of the outstanding professors within the School of Business Administration at USD.