Burger King Corporation gives MIB students a taste of international corporate concerns.

The King, Burger King Corporation’s brand icon

As the College of Business Administration forges deeper relationships with the business community, one of the most productive is the one with Burger King Corporation (BKC). Through internships offered by the company, the participation of BKC executives on college advisory boards and panels, Alumni Days, and other efforts, the two entities are in close contact and continue to benefit from what the other has to offer.

Among the valuable interconnections was the recent involvement of eight students in the Master of International Business (MIB) program in two projects at the company. As part of their capstone project in the last semester of their degree work, MIB students work for a corporation or agency on a project with international elements and of real importance to the organization.

Burger King Corporation’s world headquarters in Miami, Florida

Projects rely on legwork and the teams deliver.

During the fall, 2006, semester, four students worked on a “Cost & Controls Platform” for the Operations Strategic Planning Team.

“The stated objective of the project was for students to provide practical guidance and proven practices essential for identifying opportunities and improving restaurant profitability,” said Priscilla Messir (BBA ’05), human resources specialist, who worked out the logistics of the project with Tomislav Mandakovic, associate dean of the Chapman Graduate School and faculty director of the MIB. “Specifically, we wanted them to work on the communication piece, determining what we should communicate and how we should roll it out to the restaurants. They did lots of research within different areas that we will combine into a training manual, which we will post online.”

Tomislav Mandakovic

At the same time, four students worked for the Latin América–Development Team, assembling data on the market entry opportunities in Suriname and Belize.

“We needed a tremendous amount of detailed information to help us make a decision,” Messir said. “We have a template that we use to guide the assessment, but it takes a lot of work to fill it in. We need to know everything from income analysis to construction and equipment costs, and we need not only a plan A to get product there, but also a plan B and a plan C, factoring in the important element of time because we are transporting food.”

Two students focused on Suriname and two on Belize, then made a joint presentation to their manager, the team, Messir, and another HR representative about a week after the operations group shared their findings.

“If we had not had the assistance of the MIB students, we would have accomplished this work, because we needed to, but we would not have been able to do it so quickly,” she said.

Looking forward and back, the company sees positives.

The project took shape after Mandakovic reached out to her.

“I thought of some possibilities and met with the departments, who were thrilled at the prospect,” said Messir, who maintained touch with the students and the teams throughout the semester. “It worked out great. They all gave 100% and the project turned out to be very successful. In fact, we already have other projects in mind, have expressed our interest, and are waiting because the MIB students may already have been spoken for this year.”

“These joint undertakings help students increase their understanding of the nature of international business and of the importance of particular corporate cultures,” Mandakovic said.

Other satisfied corporate partners of the college who have worked with MIB students on capstone projects include AIG, Caterpillar, DHL, Mattel, and MTV.

For more information on participating in these projects, contact Mandakovic at 305-348-3402 or Tomislav.Mandakovic@fiu.edu.

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