Guest post by Kate Jung, Foster undergraduate and AIESEC member
AIESEC Seattle, the local branch of the global youth-led organization, was invited to participate in the Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) Foreign Market Strategy Project for the second year. Our team was assigned Saudi Arabia and tasked with evaluating the feasibility of market entry for MOD Pizza, taking into consideration cultural fit and price point.
AIESEC nurtures youth leadership through global exchange opportunities, so many of us share a mutual interest in the facilitation of cultural exchange and travel. Because of that, the team saw an incredible opportunity to bring together two seemingly disparate cultures, MOD culture and Saudi culture. With the help of our incredible adviser and coach, we performed comprehensive research and analysis, created an idea, and eventually put together a presentation. I can honestly say that I have never worked harder on any project, but no other project has been more rewarding.
The event itself was exhilarating, especially considering that our team was slated to present last. That meant we had to sit and watch all of the CISB teams present before us, which was definitely nerve wracking. As expected, their presentations were incredibly thought-provoking and creative, and I know I certainly learned a thing or two. When it was our turn, we gave it our best and in the end were chosen as the best overall presentation, validating all our hard work. As a prize, we later got the chance to visit and tour the MOD HQ and present in front of founders Scott and Ally Svenson. I was so touched by how thoughtfully the executive team considered our recommendations and their genuine respect for our research and opinions. It was an incredible conclusion to an incredible opportunity.
Overall, for both me and my team, the experience was invaluable. It truly put our critical thinking skills to the test. Not only did we absorb valuable principles of teamwork and collaboration, we learned how to better research and analyze information. In particular, I know I learned how to better sift through information to find the relevant pieces and how to put those pieces together to form new and creative ideas. The presentation was also a valuable exercise in public speaking for me and two of my teammates. After talking with the rest of the team, we all agreed that it was one of the most incredible learning opportunities we have had in college so far.