By Dr Tom Vine, Executive MBA Programme Leader
I am delighted to report that this year’s MBA international consultancy trip was a resounding success.
Following months of preparatory work, we finally arrived in Jakarta late on Saturday 12th May. Following a day of rest, we began our task in earnest on Monday morning. We started the day at Binus Business School in south Jakarta. Our students had two sessions: the first, an overview of ASEAN trade; the second, basic Bahasa Indonesia language skills. Following a brief lunch, we then headed to another part of the city to visit Pernakpernikku Ceramics, an relatively young Indonesian company employing thirty craftsmen. Here we met the company’s CEO, got a feel for the products, and discussed the company’s aspirations and practical requirements in more detail. Although Pernakpernikku has already taken the first tentative steps into international markets, it was seeking our assistance to develop an appropriate international expansion strategy, with a focus on European markets.
On Tuesday morning, we visited the Jarkata British Embassy and had an extremely constructive conversation with the Trade and Investment Director, Deputy Director and Operations Manager. Among other things, they gave us guidance in respect of the best way to communicate professional advice to Indonesian businesses without inadvertently alienating key personnel, or opening up new areas of uncertainty. Following this meeting, our MBA students then had all the information they needed to spend the next two days developing a detailed international expansion strategy for Pernakpernikku Ceramics.
At the end of the week, the students presented their strategy and associated recommendations. The presentation took place in front of Pernakpernikku’s CEO, Binus University Faculty, a film crew and myself. Their key recommendations were threefold  a bifurcation of the Pernakperkikku brand so as to distinguish between tourist and premium product lines;  a significant increase in pricing in respect of the premium product lines (justified, in part, by Veblen economic theory); and  clear direction in respect of specific international e-commerce opportunities.
Brief coverage of the presentation, courtesy of Binus TV, can be viewed here.