International collaboration between UP Marketing Honours students and Clarion University students

Posted on December 15, 2020

The BCom Honours (Marketing Management) students were introduced to Dr Nripendra Singh, Professor of Marketing at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, USA, at the beginning of the second semester for a collaborative project. The international collaboration required teams of the University of Pretoria (UP) Honours in Marketing Management class to advise teams of Clarion University students on how to start a business in South Africa, with the aim of developing an international marketing plan. This project was managed by Dr Michelle van der Merwe, the lecturer in the Marketing of Services module at honours level.

Dr Nripendra Singh (Clarion University) briefing the UP honours students on the international collaboration project.
 
The students interacted via virtual conferencing tools and a virtual community forum to give Clarion students insight into services marketing from a South African perspective. Teams were assigned to various service product categories, such as lodging, personal care, and restaurants, and explored three aspects of a marketing plan, namely a cultural, economic and market environment analysis.
 
Playing a consultative role in the project contributed tremendously toward developing the strategic and critical thinking skills of the UP students. Answering questions posed by international students not only assisted the UP students to gain insights into the frame of reference of other nationalities and cultures, but also gave them the opportunity for introspection and reflection on their challenges as future leaders in the country. Furthermore, being exposed to working virtually with students in different time zones also added to the students’ skill set.
 
Apart from their consulting role, UP students also had to write a reflection paper summarising their experience and learnings from the international collaboration. Below are comments from some of the students:
 
I found it enjoyable and insightful listening to students from different walks of life. They hold different values and beliefs and are defined by different cultures, but they all have one similarity in common … marketing.
~Alessandra Bicego (educational services project)
The experience solidified the love and appreciation I have for my own country, its history and developments. Recalling and mentioning the hardships and growth of South Africa made me acknowledge with pride all that the country has to offer.
~Mahle Sijovu (dry cleaning and laundry services project)
Personally I found it to be quite a good opportunity to connect with new people and to understand the personal care industry in South Africa.
~Ashley Mamhunze (personal care services project)
This assignment has shown me personally that today, people can connect throughout the world like never before. I feel as if the world has united as a result of COVID-19 and that physical presence is not a strict condition of communication and collaboration anymore.
~Michael Johnston (dry cleaning and laundry services project)
The virtual meetings allowed us to exercise cultural awareness in our interactions. It was important to be mindful and respectful of the cultural differences.
~Tanaka Vhumbunu (educational services project)
The saying that the beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people rings true for our international collaboration. Not only did the experience show me the diverse customs that exist within our world, but also that people know so little about the circumstances of those differing lifestyles.
~Carla Vos (dry cleaning and laundry services project)
This was one of the interesting assessments that stood out this semester, as it meant mingling and connecting not only with students from another university, but a university in America, Clarion University. I was excited to learn and experience the difference in cultures and what this task had to offer.
~Russell Kampani (maintenance and repair services project)
I was quite excited for a new challenge and also to provide some insight about my country and the factors surrounding business within our borders.
~Kyle Williamson (restaurant industry project)
This project increased my knowledge about education technology and the factors that affect it. I also realised that there is a lot of potential for growth in the South African education system.
~Mashudu Makofane (educational services project)
Working with international students was a first for me and I must admit that I was always hoping to experience something like this during my university career. Overall, it was a pleasure to work with our American compatriots.
~Oshai Moodliar (dry cleaning and laundry services project)
I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment and working with the students from Clarion University. It was such an exciting learning opportunity and I hope our colleagues enjoyed it just as much as we did.
~Eltricia Swart (maintenance and repair services project)
 
Overall, it was interesting to work with the subject matter and act as consultants to the Clarion University students.
~Caylin Fortuin (personal care services project)
 
The Department of Marketing Management wishes to thank Dr Nripendra Singh for approaching us to collaborate. We are excited to continue this partnership into the future to allow our students to gain international exposure, over and above the industry projects that have become synonymous with the UP Honours in Marketing Management programme.
 
- Author Department of Marketing Management
Published by Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo

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