Special Topics in International Business

Special Topics in International Business


Credit Fall 2017
10/23/2017 - 12/17/2017

Course Information

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Office Hours

  • M W
    10:30 - 11:30
    Cypress Creek Lobby
  • M T W
    4:30 - 5:30
    Highland Learning Center 2412
  • T Th
    Noon - 1:00
    Round Rock 2232.04

Course Requirements

Course Description:

This course is focused on the exploration of business opportunities in Mexico/US, as well as business strategy.  The course will showcase the historical, political, economic and business environment of the country providing case studies of successful US/Mexican companies that will enable them to discover best practices of doing business in the US and Mexico.  This course is intended to be an advanced management course for the international business student. 

Students will be challenged to integrate knowledge they have gained from other business core courses and apply their accumulated knowledge and experience to business case studies.  Students will engage in active research and analytical problem solving related to managing in the international environment and will frequently be called upon to present their findings to the class.

Course Objectives:

·      Develop an understanding of export/import requirements to/from Mexico from both a US and Mexico perspective.

·      Develop a clear understanding of the market entry strategy options in Mexico and the US.

·      Understand US-Mexico trade regulations and procedures for both import and export.

·      Develop an understanding of the NAFTA trade agreement, both pro and con.

·      Learn how to use the terms of the NAFTA agreement to export a product to Mexico and import Mexican products to the US.

·      Explain and understand the challenges of managing across cultures in doing business with US/Mexico.

·      Understand the relationship between national culture and organizational culture integrating those concepts within the context of US/Mexico business dealings.

·      Analyze market opportunities and conditions in the US/Mexico business environment.

·      Review the history and background of international trade agreements in the bordering cities of US and Mexico; assess their impact on transportation and logistics operations and in current practices related to Purchasing, Customs and Warehousing.


·      A basic Guide to Exporting- International Trade Administration

·      Basic Importing and Exporting –US Customs and Border Protection

·      Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade “ Business Guide How to Partner in Mexico”

·      Country Commercial Guide

·      First Step: Mexico Overview

Course Subjects

Week 1           Syllabus Review

Course Introduction

§  The scope and challenge of international marketing

§  Historical, political and economic overview of Mexico

§  Overview of the current political, economic, social and technological environment in Mexico/US

§  Key economic indicators and trade statistics

§  The need for environmental adaptation

§  The importance of the self–reference in dealing with Mexico/US

§  Stages of international marketing involvement

§  Class Exercise:  Visit the Bureau of Economic Analysis homepage and discuss Mexico’s foreign investment in the US:

§  Introduction of the semester project: Strategic Marketing Plan (team project)


Week 2           The Dynamic Environment of Trading with Mexico - Cultural Aspects of Doing Business in Mexico


·      Importance of trade Mexico/US

·      Trade Barriers US/Mexico

·      Easing trade restrictions - NAFTA

·      Balance of Payments

·      Current trade Issues with US/ Mexico

·      History and Geography: The Foundation of Culture

·      The elements of culture

§  Mexican culture, Hofstede’s dimensions of culture

§  Cultural dynamics in assessing the Mexico/US markets

§  Mexico/US management style, and business systems

§  Mexico/US market challenges and opportunities

§  Case study

Week 3           Overview of Best Prospect Sectors, Major Infrastructure Projects, and Business Opportunities

·      Market research process

·      Gathering of secondary and primary data

·      Quantitative and qualitative research

·      Problem of availability and use of secondary and primary data

·      Examples of problems of gathering and

·      Identifying best market prospects

·      Estimate sales potential in target market

·      Leading Industry sectors (agribusiness, automotive, energy, franchising, etc.)

·      Best prospects for Mexico/US products

·      Build your own Marketing Plan

·      Case study

Week 4           Mexico Market Entry Strategy

·      FDI, joint venture, licensing, franchising

·      Market entry strategy: Export

·      Preparing your products for export ( product adaptation, branding, labeling and packaging)

·      Exporting Services

·      Aspects of services exports

·      E-Exporting tools for small businesses

·      Establish effective selling and distribution strategies

·      Find the best channels for getting your product to market

·      Discover what factors influence potential customers the most

·      Build your own Export Marketing Plan

·      Case study

Week 5           Shipping Products to Mexico/US, Pricing and Methods of Payments        

·      Freight forwarders

·      Packing, labeling, documentation, shipping, insurance

·      Payment terms and financing

·      Letter of credit, sight draft, advance payment, open account

·      Payment problems

·      Export financing options

·      Inco-terms (Schedule B)

·      Export Documentation

·      Standards and Technical Regulations

·      North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

·      Case study


Week 6           Import to US/Mexico

·      Import requirement, customs and standard regulation

·      Import tariffs (Harmonized Tariff Schedule)

·      Introducing your product to Mexico/ US

·      Labeling/marketing requirements

·      Intellectual Property Rights US/Mexico

·      NAFTA

·      Providing after sales services US/Mexico

·      Sample forms: Airway Bill, Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice, Certificate of Origin, Pro Forma Invoice

·      Building your own marketing plan

·      Case Study



Week 7           Finding Qualified Buyers

·      Participation in international shows

·      Trade mission

·      US Foreign Commercial Services programs

·      Build your own Marketing Plan

·      Methods/ checklist to qualify and screen agents, distributors or representatives

·      Mexico / US establishing an office

·      Sales contracts

·      Building a working relationship

·      Case Study

·      Finalizing Marketing plan


Week 8           Legal Aspects of Doing Business in Mexico


·      Guest Speaker (General Legal and Business Issues)

·      Export/Import Regulations of the US/Mexico governments

·      US Foreign Trade Zones

·      Export Processing Zones

·      Customs Bonded Warehouses

·      Traveling to the US/Mexico

·      Obtaining proper documentation


Week 9           Export Marketing Plan Presentations (Team Presentations)

·      Student export marketing plan presentations

·      Students import marketing plan presentations




Week 10         NAFTA and the Maquila Program

·      Definition

·      Twin Plant basics

·      History

·      Demographics

·      Working Conditions

·      Implications to non-border areas

·      A spotlight on the political debate



Week 11         Transportation & Logistics


·      Flow Statistics

·      Bilateral Trade and Transportation Agreements

·      Transportation Corridors

·      Infrastructure Improvements

·      Technological Innovations

·      SCM Globe Case Study



US-MX Purchasing & Customs


·      Import/Export US-Mexico

·      Procurement Practices

·      US Customs

·      Mexican Customs


Week 12         Warehousing


·      Industry practices – Warehousing in Mexico

·      Physical distribution and logistics management

·      Inventory Management

·      Information Technologies

·      Outsourcing and 3PL partners

·      Improvement of Distribution Systems

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

Course Outcomes:

·      Recognize the key factors that affect Mexico/US markets:  historical, political, economic and cultural.

·      Understand current business management issue in Mexico:  business-government relations, legal structure, and financial environment.

·      Demonstrate understanding of the export/import requirements to/from Mexico from both a US and Mexico perspective.

·      Demonstrate understanding of US-Mexico trade regulations and procedures for both import and export.

·      Demonstrate understanding of the NAFTA trade agreement, both pro and con.

·      Demonstrate how to use the terms of the NAFTA agreement to export a product to Mexico and import Mexican products to the US.

·      Demonstrate understanding of how the transnational border areas and the maquiladora manufacturing sector impacts Texas (pro and con).

·      Demonstrate an understanding of Hofstede’s dimensions of culture and how they can be applied to doing business in US and Mexico cultures.

·      Analyze market opportunities/conditions and prepare a strategic plan for a client company seeking to expand sales in Mexico in a selected industry.

·      Reflect on the history, background and impact of NAFTA’s Maquila Program in the border area of US and Mexico.

·      Report basic knowledge related to US and Mexico Transportation and Logistics statistics and facts.

·      Understand basic knowledge on US and Mexican Purchasing and Customs practices.

·      Reflect on current warehousing practices and conditions along the US and Mexican border.