How to support startups to go global? It became the core question for International Business students at EMLV, which are challenged to develop consulting plans for newly-created companies wishing to internationalize.
As part of their capstone project for the Master’s in Management programme, EMLV students act as consultants for startups to help them expand internationally. This year, 14 companies from the EU and Latin America solicited the skills of De Vinci Higher Education majoring in International Business to craft customized consulting plans for internationalization.
A capstone project before graduation to test the skills of students
“The purpose of the Capstone Project is to confront International Business students with the difficulties facing startups in their development on the international scene”, says Jill Tynan, head of the MSc and the Master in International Business at EMLV.
It also gives them an opportunity to propose solutions drawing from the managerial and technical skills the programme provides. They work on exploring the targeted foreign market place and provide valuable market data, sales development strategies, and other recommendations.
The students have an overall vision of business on an international level. Course content includes Geopolitics, International development strategies, Global retail perspectives, Emerging technologies, and Innovation management as well as International Marketing, Business Model Innovation, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
The difficulties met by students are varied, from the lack of information on the financial aspects and ability to project potential sales and estimate costs to establishing a Business Plan for a start-up in the very early stage of development”, Tynan says.
How to put startups on an international stage?
For their capstone project, 14 teams consisting of 3 to 4 students served startups across different industries, such as e-commerce, beauty, cosmetics, dietary supplements, cultural management, and so on. For each company, the project team created a detailed consulting plan that identifies its client’s important points, presentation, business model, value proposition and gives insight onto the company’s targeted market. The report draws on both the company’s data analysis and student knowledge to diagnose the risks and opportunities of international development and present strategic propositions to help startups tackle their internationalization.
The capstone project is all year long, but each team had only 20 minutes to present their work to the faculty and the client startups and answer different questions concerning commercial and communication strategy, financing estimation over three years and estimated commercial results, and student perspective on starting internationalization.
Along the way, students proved not only their knowledge, but they proved their interpersonal abilities, also known as soft skills: active listening, problem-solving, positive attitude, leadership, teamwork, and so on.