Millikin University prides itself on the concept of performance learning and offers students an abundant amount of opportunities to put the principles taught in the classroom into practice. One of the most notable performance learning projects comes from the Tabor School of Business and is offered on an exclusive, invite-only basis. This prestigious class is called International Business Consulting and it gives students the opportunity to work with companies and clients on an international level. This allows students to gain real world experience with high profile clients and gives them a chance to apply what they have learned throughout their undergraduate education and make a difference for the company.
Allowing students to work closely with each other and real life clients, the course is very rigorous. The most recent International Business Consulting was taught by Professor Mark Munoz with Dennis Schwieger and Bruce Nims as associate professors and consisted of 14 students in their junior and senior year. Each individual was hand selected by Professor Munoz to participate in the course. The course is only a semester long and offered during the spring semester, so entry is very competitive. While the class met twice a week to allow time for strategy and collaboration, various groups within the class met on a nearly daily basis.
Most recently, the project for the class was with Pro Ecuador and the primary focus of the project was to introduce a market entry strategy for handicrafts from Ecuador into the United States. The class focused primarily on market research, distribution , and a marketing strategy for the handicrafts. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of data in this market so the class had to compile information from multiple sources and draw conclusions based on data that was closely related to, but not exactly about the handicraft market. However, various reports were discovered regarding distribution and marketing strategies that were utilized in the Indian handicraft market. Using this information, the class was able to draw unique and reasonable conclusions about the industry.
At the end of the project, a few select members of the class were able to travel to Ecuador to present their findings to the Mayor of Ibarra and various organizations throughout the country. While in Ecuador, the students traveled to various villages throughout the country and get firsthand experience with the handicrafts from the report. This unique experience allowed students to physically experience the process of the creation and history behind the handicrafts. This very humbling opportunity put the importance of the market entry strategy into perspective. Students were able to personally connect with the people in the villages see the excitement on their faces upon arriving because they were so thankful for the assistance in bettering their lives and communities.
The International Consulting Course is valuable in multiple ways. It not only gives students real world experience, but it helps students grow as individuals by helping communities, such as the communities in Ecuador, grow and flourish. The class pushes students in so many ways and is a perfect example of performance learning.