Dr. Cecilia Martinez Leon: This trip that is part of the Clarkson University Global Business Program (GBP). This program provides students with exciting opportunities to expand their education to include business and engineering management instruction in an international setting. Developing an understanding of the world beyond the boundaries of the United States will be a huge advantage as students begin their career.
As a Mexican professor, I was particularly interested in taking students to Mexico to introduce them to the management and business practices in Mexico. Mexico is the United States’ third largest trade partner and second largest export market for U.S. products. Since 1993, a year prior to the implementation to The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S.-Mexico bilateral trade increased from $88 billion to $460 billion in 2011. Despite the shared Western and Hispanic culture between Mexico and the U.S., geographic proximity, and abundant market opportunities for U.S. firms in Mexico, doing business in Mexico has its own challenges and risks. Business alliances, even with similar corporate cultures and with long histories of successful joint ventures, can fail just because “the cultures did not match.” This was the case of Corning and the giant Mexican glass manufacturer Vitro, in which after a 25-month union, Corning called off the joint venture.
In this two-week trip, students will be visiting companies located in Monterrey and Guadalajara cities. They will meet with business leaders for a look at the inner-workings of their corporation and how the company operates in the economy of Mexico. In particular, students will acknowledge the importance of understanding cross-cultural differences involved in Mexican-U.S. in joint ventures. In this regard, students will be able to identify challenges and opportunities encountered in the operations management of Mexican firms and cross-national alliances across industry sectors.
Among the companies that we will visit are the following.
- Vitro (leading glass manufacturer in Mexico)
- Cervecería Cuahutémoc Moctezuma (brewing company recently bought by Heineken)
- Akra Polyester (leader manufacturer of synthetic fibers and polyester yarns)
In Guadalajara (we are visiting leading companies from the Mexican Silicon Valley and the beverage industry):
- Grupo Modelo (if you are familiar with Corona beer, this is the brewing company that produces and exports this beer)
- Tequila Herradura
- Continental Automotive
In the upcoming blogs, students will be posting their learning experiences, cultural impressions, and comments in general about this trip to Mexico.