International Marketing Simulation
CountryManager is an international marketing simulation that focuses on the issue of international marketing and expansion. In CountryManager, the teams are running the marketing department of the toothpaste division, but the issues raised apply to marketers in any industry. In CountryManager, students will learn the importance of targeting consumer segments and how to best position brands for the chosen segments. Students will gain experience in market entry, segmentation and targeting, along with the 4Ps in an international context. Two scenarios are available for different regions, Latin America or Asia.
Country Manager provides, through an experiential learning platform, an immersion into the role and responsibilities of marketing and brand managers. I selected Country Manager since it was, in my judgment, the best platform to make marketing real. In my opinion the benefits derived from Country Manager far outweigh the costs. This is true from both the student and faculty perspective. I have found that students appreciate the hands-on experience that Country Manager offers.
From a department perspective, the Country Manager experience has increased the marketing acumen of our average MBA student and has also has resulted in a greater number of students who express an interest in pursuing a marketing career. Working with Interpretive has been delightful. Their support staff has been super- their response time to correct student issues has been remarkable and have exceeded my expectation on all “service” dimensions
The most important part of a simulation is experiencing the outcomes of decisions that they would not otherwise experience without the simulation. Good or bad, students gain an understanding of the consequences of their decisions and are empowered by the results they generate. Even if the aftermath of a given round is not particularly successful, it provides an engaging and often riveting opportunity to diagnose what went wrong and correct these errors.
This would not be possible without living through the highs and lows of consecutive rounds of decision making using Country Manager. The simulation brings the material to life, makes my students excited to learn and apply their knowledge in this highly realistic industry environment.
Country Manager, the Interpretive simulation which I use most frequently, is uncanny in its representation of the challenges which international marketers face. Indeed, it mirrors the cultural, strategic, and tactical issues of international marketing wonderfully, thereby providing a very realistic challenge to my students.
I used the Country Manager simulation last semester for the first time to teach a senior level International Marketing class. As teachers we tend to teach our students in a linear way, perhaps due to the fact that chapters in traditional text books are divided up by topic. One week we teach distribution, the next we teach cultural differences, the next pricing, etc.
Using the simulation as the basis for the whole class enabled the students to get an understanding of how all the different variables interact and how important interdependent decision making becomes in the complex world of International marketing. It was a great experience for all concerned and I will be using it again next semester.
The depth and the realism of the Country Manager simulation obliges them to collaborate continually, to integrate and discuss their marketing knowledge and perceptions, and to learn to have confidence in students from other cultures. They are at times very surprised to learn that different cultures think very differently about markets and marketing decisions. They would not have had such an opportunity to personally grow in a simple case analysis or term project.
The CountryManager simulation is an adventure in experiential learning. It provides students with all the skills they would need to take a firm and a product suite to Latin America or Asia. It is versatile enough that students can implement a variety of strategies. More abstractly, it provides students with the experience of competing on innovation. They create innovation, introduce it to a new system that reacts to it, and compete with it. The Interpretive staff are like collaborative partners. And even better, you work with the same people over the semesters and years