Boston University: International Business Management


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Written by: iiGrowth

During the spring 2012 semester, undergraduate students in the two-year Accelerated Degree Completion Program (ADCP) at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (BU MET) gathered in teams to study International Business Management (MG 520). This course, taught by Chris Brodersen, himself a BU MET alumnus, examines the effects of overseas business investments and allows students to understand how to assess foreign market, how to develop firm operational strategies, and how to establish international operations.

Chris does more than just have the students read books. His approach is to provide guidance, and link this to a process where students immerse themselves into their work by talking to real businesses, real people, and presenting their recommendations to seasoned international executives. One word for this, “Fascinating”!

Chris Brodersen, in his first semester teaching at BU, began teaching at Bryant University in Rhode Island in 2008. When he is not teaching, he is working full-time as the Senior Manager for Releasability and Technology Transfer at Raytheon. Chris’ approach opens up country after country to these “applied” studies. It allows students from BU to gain valuable and practical international experiences. Next to being in-country, this approach to learning, decision making, and taking on real responsibility for deadlines brings BU MET students the type of experience they can take back to their own businesses. Most or all of the students in this program are already working so this course is something they can draw on and put to use.

During the Spring 2012 semester three teams were formed. One of the teams that was formed was for Latvia (Team Latvia). A group of four students, assessed Latvia, one of the Baltic Tigers, and examined setting up an Information Technology related business in Latvia. As part of the applied process, Brodersen invited iiGrowth LLC and Latvian Chamber of Commerce (LatCham) representatives Gustav Plato (CEO iiGrowth/Founder LatCham) and Rudolfs Peksens (VP Strategy and Alliances at iiGrowth) as mentors to support the team.

Team Latvia conducted research and obtained feedback from the assigned mentor team. Using iiGrowth’s collaborative technologies for project management (37 Signals Basecamp) and communications (Cisco’s WebEx) allowed for excellent interaction with the team. Once their work was to a certain stage they were able to present to a team of “Judges”, who evaluated their overall work, analytical and decision making results, and with everything else provided the teams a great overall experience. The students found the experience to be challenging.

Steve Eaton, a Team Latvia member stated, “Beyond the great overview of international business our course provided us, some of the greatest lessons learned for me were gaining deep understandings of the values and culture of Latvia and the Baltic states, and how they reflect on the business environment in the region. The ability to work directly with those with first-hand experience in Latvia proved invaluable, not only for our assignments, but also in garnering insight into doing business in the country, and the tremendous opportunities Latvia offers. Through our research and collaboration we saw a country that pulled itself out of a deep recession while much of the world stagnated, and continues to show strong growth as the EU wavers, which is in large part a testament to the strength of its ICT sector.

iiGrowth’s connection to Chris and BU, came through Krista Tassa of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce (She is an honorary member of LatCham). Krista had met Chris at World Trade in spring of June 2010 at Bryant University. He had been to the Baltics several times and they started batting ideas back and forth about how to possibly include the Baltics in his class instruction. These discussions led to Krista guest lecturing about market entry into the U.S. market (Krista has practical experience through her own venture ParkNow! as well as the Estonian Chamber). It was Krista who subsequently made the connection with Latvia. As a result, Team Latvia, including the mentors from iiGrowth, was formed for the Spring 2012 semester.

Chris continues to teach International Business Management at BU MET and has many more interesting and innovative approaches for learning on the horizon. We at iiGrowth are very pleased to have been part of the BU MET ecosystem for learning and look forward to working with Chris again in the future. We also encourage serious international business management students who are seeking something unique to find out more about Chris’ applied approach. It is fascinating and provides a practical approach to studies that students can take back to their own work environments.


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