International Business Strategy

Assume that you have been hired as a business consultant to an international organisation. Your task is to write a report for senior management evaluating how well the organisation is currently performing and recommending how it can improve its international business performance.

You need to identify a major international organisation for which you have reasonable access to information. You should select an organisation that operates in your country and (preferably) your geographic region and in an industry with which you are familiar.

Focus your research on the international operations of the organisation. Rely on your knowledge of both the region in which the organisation operates and of the industry it is part of.

Good organisations to consider include international food companies (e.g. Nestlé), some international manufacturing companies (e.g. Unilever or BHP Billiton), or companies in the automotive, international courier/mail or mining industries.

A good place to begin your research is your chosen organisation’s website, where you will find annual reports, press releases and other corporate documents that often contain a surprising amount of information. We encourage you to research beyond your organisation’s website. Business journals, industry groups’ reports and consulting firms’ white papers (e.g. McKinsey) are some suggestions to consider.

As part of your research, you must:

1. Identify and explain:

 your chosen organisation’s approach to internationalisation/globalisation

 your chosen organisation’s market entry strategies

 the trade limitations/barriers that apply to your organisation and how it deals with these (if you can find this out).

2. Evaluate how well this organisation is performing in the areas of internationalisation/globalisation, market entry and trade.

3. Make suggestions as to how this organisation can improve its approach to internationalisation/globalisation, market entry and trade.

In making these suggestions, focus on whether the organisation is attempting to:

 export its existing competencies to give it an advantage in international markets

 reduce its costs by accessing cheaper labour, materials or more advanced technology, or

 increase the size of its operations by accessing international markets.

Having decided this, consider how well this approach to international business suits the organisation’s market entry strategies, its product and service development and any trade limitations that apply.

Also comment on the attractiveness of the organisation’s approach from an investor perspective, stating whether you think it is likely to provide an opportunity for strong future growth for the organisation.

STRUCTURE OF YOUR REPORT

Present your findings in a report, which should include:

 a table of contents

 an Executive summary (ES) of not more than one page. Note that an ES is not an introduction. It should summarise your entire report including your conclusions and recommendations. The ES is not included in the word count.

 an introduction (in which you can provide a brief background to the organisation)

 a body of your report which will include the findings of your research and your evaluation of the organisation’s international business performance

 a conclusion which includes your recommendations

 a reference section where any reference material consulted during your research is listed

 an appendix that includes information that supports your report. Information should only be included in an appendix when it is too bulky to be included in the main body of the report, but to which you refer in your report. Do not include company annual reports, etc. as background information.

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