International marketing students collaborate with Netherlands counterparts

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Teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired many faculty members to get even more creative. For one University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business instructor, overcoming challenges was paramount to provide marketing graduate students with a valuable global education and enhanced student learning experience.

Constancio Paranal III’s virtual international marketing management graduate course in spring 2021 via Zoom was highlighted with a six-week virtual exchange program with students at the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle, Netherlands. Seven students from Shidler’s Master of Science in Marketing Management program worked collaboratively with 19 students from Windesheim on an international marketing project with an emphasis on building intercultural readiness and competency. In total, 26 students representing 18 countries and five continents participated.

They attended workshops on Pan-European marketing strategy, intercultural communication and case study analysis. Akin to managing global organizations, students learned how to manage cultural differences, how to work with global teams, lead multicultural organizations and manage time and other logistical barriers. The seminars and workshops were instructed and facilitated by professors and staff at Shidler and Windesheim.

“The program has provided insight to what the future of global education and global workforce would look like,” Paranal III said. “To my fellow teachers, don’t be afraid to try something new and different. Don’t worry about how you will do it; instead, focus on why you’re doing it. Allow your students to participate in the design and development of the program, it promotes collective ownership and success. Lastly, harness the power of your network; we are all trying to figure out how to navigate this new environment. Working together can make lasting results.”

Overcoming challenges

The realization of the program took coordination between Paranal III and Roelijn Kok at Windesheim, primarily due to the 12-hour time difference between Hawaiʻi and Switzerland, and a need to coordinate the academic calendars of the two universities. More importantly, both parties needed to coordinate the design and development of the course curriculum to ensure that learning and skill development objectives were met for both Shidler and Windesheim students. After weeks of planning, the course was designed to harness Shidler’s strengths in marketing and Windesheim’s expertise in intercultural readiness and competency.

“This [project] should be part of their education, to prepare students for real-life expectations on bigger projects,” said Radoslav ParapunovBBA ’20, a Shidler alumnus and member of the national champions Rainbow Warrior volleyball team. “Projects like these are a great reality check to see where our level is not only in theory but in real-life situations where we have to implement all the techniques that we discussed in class—research, communication, presentation, leadership and being open-minded to suggestions.”

Shidler alumna Carlee HiranoBBA ’19, said the program helped her learn more about herself, including areas that she can work on. Hirano “learned how to better create a community with people of different cultures and backgrounds, and learned to observe how they work and how to better create relationships.”

Paranal III and Kok hope to continue this partnership, and create more innovative and creative opportunities and pathways for their students to be competent global citizens.

This effort is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.