At Maryland Smith, impactful learning isn’t confined to the classroom – it’s happening everywhere.
During the 2021 fall semester, undergraduate student teams from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business’ BMGT466 Global Business Strategy course worked with entrepreneur Naa Nyanin to develop a strategic marketing plan for her pre-revenue portable hand washing device.
Through the course, teams of students focus on topics including drivers of industry globalization, expansion strategies, strategic challenges and coordination of a company across a global network.
Students were tasked with developing market entry plans for different parts of the world and identifying potential partners including UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization. They also put together deliverables ranging from websites and marketing materials to logos and brochures.
In December, students showcased their findings and recommendations in a final presentation to Nyanin and course instructors.
The student experience is one that is akin to what students will encounter either later on in graduate school or in the business world, says Maryland Smith’s Roy Thomason. Every aspect of the course is built on relevance outside of the classroom to maximize lifelong learning, he says.
“We felt this project was applicable to the students’ interests and that they would share the passion of doing something greater than themselves for others,” says Thomason, adjunct professor. “That in itself is really inspiring because it meant this project wasn’t just about a grade or to memorize something, it was to make a difference.”
Nyanin, founder and CEO of NDN International, was recommended to the course by the Center for Global Business’ Maryland Global Consulting Program. Working with students was incredibly rewarding because of their valuable insights, she says, and their dedication and preparation toward this project was impressive.
“The delivery was outstanding and the students took the project seriously, with passion and commitment,” says Nyanin. “The students’ appearance and coordination during their presentations was like seeing corporate senior managers in the boardroom.”
Mark Woolfley ’21 says he walked away from this experience with a greater appreciation for what it takes to deliver on promises for real-world clients, something which was especially relevant to him as he graduated in December and began his own career.
“Understanding that a real person’s time and money are on the line really helped me stay engaged,” says Woolfley. “I think all of the teams in the class were able to come up with some very solid markets our client could target effectively.”
To see the progress of students from the beginning of the course to its completion is gratifying, says Thomason, and should only further the idea that they are ready to tackle the next stages of their careers.
“This experience should build their confidence and help them understand that they can work with people in any context,” says Thomason. “To be able to reach the finish line and offer the client something that’s marketable and realistic is something that’s appreciated at such a high level.”
This project is sponsored in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant administered by the U.S. Department of Education.
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.