Companies challenging students in International Business Strategy Course
During the first semester of our second year studies, we started a course called International Business Strategy by Tomi Huhtamäki. In this course we have had visitors from different kind of companies from various fields and areas. Most of the companies are local, from Oulu area, but we got visitors all the way from Norway and Portugal too.
Starting from the second lecture we got our first visitor. The company was called CaddieOn and its CEO Tuomo Lalli, who is a passionate golfer, came up with this idea with Juha Pikkarainen of creating a device which helps to play smarter golf and to make it even more fun too. Briefly, CaddieOn club tags and wrist devices are helping players to track automatically the whole game. This is guiding into better results and improvement in the sport.
From completely different field, we got two companies concentrating on children and their needs; local Otometri and Qridi companies. Otometri’s CEO Manne Hannula was the third visitor and let us try a tool which can follow up ear infections and reduce the unnecessary usage of antibiotics and doctor visits. He gave our class a challenge of creating a Go-To-Market Plan and to identify potential partners from country familiar to us. Qridi is an evaluation and assessment tool “for the teacher’s delight and for the students benefit.” Toni Eskola introduced us their challenge which was making a market research on potential of the market in different countries and also analyze and compare them.
Fourth and fifth visitor were about customer service; customers’ needs and demand. Mikko Lietsalmi was telling us about Oikian company which provides a real time mobile marketing platform that uses devices location data to deliver relevant content to consumers at the very specific time and location, enabling the engagement to be personal resulting in higher conversation rates. Their next step is to expand to Spain and Southern Europe and they asked for our help and knowledge with those countries. Dorent company’s CEO Olli-Ville Rounaja came to present the company which provides online platform for fitness clubs to reach their customers. They want to change the way people subscribe to services and their solution is creating time and price flexibility on memberships.
BusinessOulu is doing a lot of different kind of co-operation with our school and its export coordinator, Maja Terning, who has moved to Oulu from Norway visited our lecture to inform us about the co-operation between Northern cities, such as Oulu and Tromsø. The seeking and production of the gas and oil in Norway has moved to the Northern part of the country. As a result, it creates a demand, new investments and businesses for Scandinavian companies, which we were told as a form of the Nordic Business support project between Northern Finland, – Sweden and – Norway.
The last but not least was a presentation about Bio Boards company. It consists on a group of Portuguese young men, travelling in their cost-efficient van around the Europe. They came all the way to Oulu to introduce their company about eco surf- and skateboards and to get some opinions about their idea. The main idea of the business is the production and development of surf and skate products and also complementary accessories associated with the lifestyle, nature and philosophy of environmental sustainability. They use raw materials which have minimal environmental impact, such as cork which you can reuse several times. By buying one of their products, they are going to plant a tree cork. All the raw materials and hand labor involved comes from Portugal. They came to visit us by a recommendation of one of our students, who was also from Portugal. Starting from the first moment even our teacher was excited to meet them and their unique idea. Their strategy to take over the international markets was to make a Euro Tour, which promotes branding and broaden horizons across Europe. They will visit more than 20 countries and key cities, where they will present their products and brand concept. They had two skateboards with them and even our teacher was excited to try them – on the hallway of course!
These kind of real-life cases have given an interesting basement for our course. As a learning process these visitors are priceless and very educative. In the field of International Business, the strategy is the key. Comprehensive knowledge of different countries and their habits in the process of creating, for example a Go-To-Market Plan, is advantageous and by the way, what could be a better way to learn about these than from our international students and their background?
Nita Keskitalo & Laura Tytärniemi DIB15SP