At the start of each fall and spring semester on college campuses, students are heading into classrooms expecting to learn something new and interesting. When they enroll in the Export Management Course, they get that and much more. Sitting beside them are employees from local companies that will work with them and offer real-life experiences. These businesses, their people, and what they do are incorporated into the curriculum.
Each semester, the Export Management Course adopts a “project company”, an actual North Dakota business, for which they’ll research and identify international markets best suited for that company’s product line. The company’s representatives are invited to attend the evening class each week in order to inform and answer questions about their product.
The Export Management Course is held alternatively at North Dakota State University each spring, and the University of North Dakota and the University of Jamestown each fall. Additionally, the course is offered at Dickinson State University via the ND University System’s Interactive Video Network.
During Fall Semester 2013, University of North Dakota students adopted Park River-based company Safe-T-Pull. Safe-T-Pull manufactures innovative hitch and towing systems for pulling large equipment through tough conditions. The product was developed specifically for safety reasons after a deadly farming accident in northeastern North Dakota in the 90’s. Owners Jacob and Rachel Kringstad regularly attended the class at their alma mater to guide students through their company and product line. The class of 24 upper level university students broke up into small groups in order to research and prepare presentations on which country they believe to be Safe-T-Pull’s most promising international market. The presentations served as the course’s final project, with groups detailing their market research and analyses compiled throughout the semester.
“The groups brought really different approaches to us,” said Jacob. “We considered things we hadn’t really addressed before. They also brought up some small issues that could be analyzed a bit deeper.”
Project companies further benefit from the topics covered during class. As a 12-week export certification program, the Export Management Course attracts both university students and business professionals seeking hands-on export training. Regional experts from all areas of international business teach subjects such as finding qualified buyers, cultural awareness, international pricing, and how to get paid. “The course brought up a lot of topics,” said Rachel. “It was nice to listen to the speakers and hear about issues that other companies have had to deal with. Also with the class being at night, the discussions seemed very open with everybody asking questions and participating.”
“We really enjoyed it,” said Jacob, “we’d recommend it to anyone looking to export.”
For more information on Safe-T-Pull and their products’ farming and industrial applications, visit www.safe-t-pull.net.
If interested in participating as a project company in the Export Management Course, please contact Sharon May at (701) 231-1158 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Export Management Course can be found at www.ndto.com.