In the first Trimester of 2020, FHM University students enrolled in MBA-IL-05 enjoyed participating in the Country Manager international market entry and expansion simulation as part of their “Global Marketing & Sales” curriculum.
After studying marketing and general management theory concepts including Growth Matrix (Ansoff 1957), Foreign Market Entry Strategies (Root 1990), Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede 1980), among others, participants were enabled to apply and practice their newly acquired knowledge. Three competitive student teams played the role of a Country Manager for a multinational consumer products company, specifically marketing their toothpaste brand in the countries of Latin America.
The domestic market matured, and the head of the Consumer Healthcare Division identified Latin America as the best potential source of future growth. By playing the role of a country manager, students had to decide how best to enter this potentially lucrative market. Students evaluated country market opportunities in Latin America, decided on mode of market entry and distribution channels, and evaluated plant locations in the region.
For the launch, teams first segmented the market, then positioned their brand in a new competitive environment, applying the 4P’s in an international context.
“Country Manager simulation was a very useful tool for me. The entry and expansion of the international market is its core. Although real market entry and expansion is much more complicated than this simulation, it is still a very good exercise for me at the moment, allowing me to experience this process by playing the role of a category manager for a multinational consumer products company. Throughout the simulation process, my team was successful in the early stage, and encountered a setback in the middle. After summing up our experience, we adjusted our strategy in time and became the winning team in the end” commented Yuting Huang, leader of the winning team.
Jiaman Hu, leader of the first runner up team explained “We chose Mexico as our first market in South America. According to the market environment survey, Mexico’s population and GDP rank second in Latin American, which shows Mexico’s higher market potential. In the selection of SKUs and distribution channels, we mainly focused on the consumer shopping preferences of this country and established family package consumers as the target group. This simulation allowed us to intuitively feel the various factors that affect decision-making, which greatly enhances our market analysis capabilities, and is a great practical experience.”
Instructor Klaus B. Zensen, Ph.D. concluded “simulations offer valuable opportunities for students to practice decision making, while gaining a deeper understanding of course materials in the context of the learning objectives. This kind of active learning technique allows students to better recognize their own strengths and interests, and it brings out a surprisingly strong entrepreneurial spirit in some students. During times of the Corona crisis Country Manager came in especially handy when all classes switched online. Personally, I am very happy to see that all students in the class showed a steep learning curve in their first ever experience with a South American business environment.