Graduate students help international company mine for new market opportunities.

Tomislav Mandakovic, Associate Dean, Chapman Graduate School

For more than eighty years, Caterpillar, Inc., has been building the world’s infrastructure. Today, in partnership with its worldwide dealer network, Caterpillar is driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. The company is recognized as a technology leader and as the leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines.

“These global credentials make Caterpillar an ideal corporate participant in the College of Business Administration’s Master of International Business (MIB) program,” said Tomislav Mandakovic, associate dean of the Chapman Graduate School of Business and faculty director of the MIB.

During the Spring, 2006, semester, students Ana Benet (MIB ’06), Nicolas Bertullo (MIB ’06), and Pedro Moreira (MIB ’06), tackled their MIB final project at Caterpillar’s Latin America Commercial Division in Miami. Working closely with the marketing and operations departments, they conducted market research in relation to Mexico’s quarry and aggregates market.

“The work performed by the team is being used as a foundation to grow sales in this market,” said José Brousset, marketing and operations manager for Caterpillar’s Latin American Commercial Division.

MIB students get hands-on experience in international marketing.

A Cat Wheel Loader 962H working on a quarry and aggregates application

Joaquin Canel, marketing consultant with Caterpillar, praises the three students for demonstrating a high level of professionalism and business skill as well as of solid teamwork.

“Through their research, these students obtained valuable information from several public sources and summarized it according to the project’s objectives,” Canel said. “What’s more, they created a customer and prospect database with useful information, such as name, location, and types of materials produced, that enables us to further study the quarry and aggregates market in Mexico.”

During the course of their project, Benet, Bertullo, and Moreira met regularly with and received ongoing feedback from Canel, industry consultant Arcilio Loverri, and other key members of Caterpillar’s marketing team.

Mandakovic cites this marketing research project as an excellent example of the learning process that is built into every MIB final project.

“As the last course in the MIB program, the final project exposes students to real international business issues and cultural complexities,” he said. “It also helps them hone their project time-allocation skills and to realize the difference between spoken and actual requirements, whatever the particular assignment may be.”

For its part, Caterpillar welcomes the opportunity to work with the college’s students on future projects.

“We appreciate the students’ efforts and accomplishments,” Brousset said. “We look forward to future collaboration with the Chapman School.”

Other satisfied participants in the MIB program include AIG, Burger King, DHL, Mattel, and MTV.

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