Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This isn't a case study, it's real business

The five Business Marketing Academy teams met with Carlisle executives to present their recommendations.

By Jeni Donlon
Communications Manager

When it comes to business, nothing beats real experience. 

Members of our MBA Business Marketing Academy recently had the opportunity to help Carlisle Companies make some important decisions about expanding its global footprint in Brazil.

The 31 Academy members split into teams and performed a Rapid Market Assessment in Sao Paulo for the North American company's five very diverse business units. The teams researched Brazil's economic and cultural history, talked to suppliers and competitors, met government leaders, interviewed locals, scouted locations and learned about Brazilian business practices. (Read one team member's blog posts about the experience.)

The end result was a detailed analysis of the opportunities and challenges of growing a business in Brazil. 

Dave Roberts, Carlisle's president and CEO, expected the BMA to present an all-go report. But the teams recommended a more cautious entry, a recommendation Carlisle is following.

"We originally thought we would approach the Brazilian market with a full frontal assault, but after the study, we have decided to be cautious and only add a few sales resources to limit our risk," Roberts said.

Marketing professor and BMA director Fred Roedl said Roberts appreciated the students' honesty, candor and analysis, and was impressed by their "mature" business approach. A sentiment he elaborated on when asked about the experience with the Kelley School team.

"The students were excellent and the preparedness was superb," Roberts said. "We have employed consultants in the past, and their output was no better than the work generated by the Marketing Academy."

Academy members said the experience was invaluable.

"During my time at Kelley, the Business Marketing Academy has given me ample opportunities to delve deep in new industries much beyond what case studies allow me to," second-year MBA student Raghav Parthasarathy writes in his blog about the trip. "These projects have taught us to quickly grasp the critical pieces of information in a relatively short period of time and generate actionable, rational recommendations for our client."

And while the project was a positive career-building experience for the students, it's clear the experience was mutually beneficial.

“Carlisle’s ROI for this project experience was significantly more than expected or anticipated," Roberts said.  "I would recommend this experience to any company considering a global expansion.” 


  1. Very well written Jeni. The most exciting part about this consulting project was the opportunity to travel overseas and present your research directly to the CEO.

    Had a great experience.

  2. The most exciting part about the project was to perform on the ground macro economic analysis in a new country. Thanks to Fred, the BMA staff, MBA office and Carlisle for a fantastic learning opportunity.

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