Interview someone who works in international business

Interview Guidelines
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Each student is required to interview someone who works in international business. This is an extremely diverse field which means you may find someone who works in international currencies, banking, commodities, a person who works in international economic development (the Chamber of Commerce or Nebraska Department of Economic Development), a manufacturer with operations overseas (Valmont from Valley, Chief Industries in Grand Island), software companies, even farmers/auctioneers who trade in South America. You may select anyone you wish.
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The primary purpose of this exercise is to determine what it is like to do business in another country. You will want to start by asking some basic information about the person and the company. How long has the company been working in international business? Where? Why? What exactly do they do? How long has the person been doing this work? What was their background that prepared them for this work?
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You will want to know if they did extensive planning, how well the plans worked, what changes did they make? Were they successful initially? What obstacles did they run into? What adaptations to business were required? What were their biggest surprises? What were their biggest successes/failures? What did they learn from them?
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Were there government regulations different from the U.S.? Did government policy interfere with the ability to do business? Was currency an issue? What risks were involved? What kind of preparation is undertaken by the company to do business overseas? What preparation does the person make to do business overseas?
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What kind of market research did they do? How were their products/services or presence received in the country? How are communications handled between the home office and the overseas affiliate? What management is in place? How does it differ from management at the home office?
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What was the worst experience you have had overseas? What was the best experience you have had overseas? Etc.
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I always find the following question to be a good way to end the conversation. Often this gives the person a chance to think, relax and relate casual information. It tends to be more revelatory as people become less formal.
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Is there anything else you can tell me that you think I should know?
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Many of the questions you ask will depend on the person you interview and the type of business they do. You can record the information if you want and be sure to take copious notes in case the recording fails. It is always best to interview the person in their office, you can tell a great deal by taking note of the things with which one surrounds oneself. Moreover, people tend to be more guarded on the phone and using email. Email tends to be the worst way to interview; people give very curt responses to questions. For example:
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Do you do business overseas?
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Yes
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Want kind of business?
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Import/export
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When you speak with a person face-to-face, you have the opportunity to ask spontaneous questions. This is especially rewarding when the person says something totally unexpected, you can do a quick follow up to clarify or get them to be more descriptive.
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A writing rubric for interviews can be found under the course documents. The writing rubric will be used; it serves as the foundation for grading the structure, writing and completeness of the paper.
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I will warn you early; use the tools you have to help yourself. Be sure to correct every red and green underlined part of your paper; use spell check and grammar check. To fail to do so will result in a 5 point deduction for each spelling and grammar error. Please have someone proof read your papers before you turn them in even if you think they are perfect. A fresh pair of eyes will catch the typos that are the real words that don’t fit; you know, the ones where you meant to have “but” and instead it says “put”.
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The paper needs to be written in paper form (narrative), not in interview format (question followed by answer). Be sure to start the paper with an introduction and finish with a conclusion. Be sure it is organized logically. Use a “reporting” kind of writing:
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Mr. John Smith is president of Omaha Steaks. Omaha Steaks, in business since 1949, cultivated an international presence as part of their strategic plan…..
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Remember, an interview is about the person being interviewed. Do not write; “I asked John Smith about his company. He responded by saying Omaha Steaks began work in the international market place in 1949. This surprised me, I had no idea. Don’t write about you; write about the person you interview.
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The paper should be between 3-6 pages in length, single space (be sure to double space between paragraphs), font size 12.
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If you have any questions feel free to email or post a question on the discussion board.

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