Meghan Matt, a sophomore international business major from Mound, Minnesota, will study abroad in Panama from December 27 to January 7. Matt chose to apply for the Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Panama program because she wanted to experience Latin American business culture. Leading up to their time in Panama, students develop a marketing plan for a Panamanian teakwood farmer and will work to implement it during their trip. She said, “I am most looking forward to meeting the local farmer who we have been writing a marketing plan for in class.” As one of the college’s Distinguished International Business Scholars, she also plans to get an internship in China and spend a semester in Denmark while pursuing her degree at Nebraska.
Hard at Work - 11/15/17
Today marks week eight of class in preparation for my trip to Panama. I will be traveling with a group of 19 other students. To prepare for our trip, we separated into two subgroups. Our semester project is to create a marketing plan for a local teakwood farmer in David, Panama. Mr. Rios, the farmer we are working with, has no prior exposure to business in the United States. He asked us to research the U.S. market for teak and present our findings in a final paper that will be shared with his company while we are in Panama.
My nine fellow team members are part of the “West Coast Group” because we are focusing on the teakwood industry of 25 states in the western part of the United States. The other students are part of the “East Coast Group” and are developing a separate marketing plan with the same requirements and for the same Panamanian farmer. Throughout the semester, we have gathered information on the teak market in the states. The research is primarily coming from reaching out to U.S. companies via both email and cold-calling who are importers of teak. The goal is to gain information on their current teak distribution methods, costs, purchasing priorities and quantities. The more answers we get about other company’s consumption, the easier it is to write a beneficial marketing plan for Mr. Rios. So far, the work is challenging, but the end goal of being able to present a useful blueprint for an actual business keeps me motivated.
With only 42 days until departure, I am busy finalizing the essential details of my trip. I have been in and out of the Health Center getting the required shots for my health clearance to enter Panama. I am double and triple checking the details of my flights with Dr. Osiri (director of International Business program) and Dr. Ibrayeva (assistant professor of practice in management) to ensure I have it right. My passport is ready for a new stamp on its pages!