2011 Projects

2011 Project Descriptions

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Accra, Ghana

Belgrade, Serbia

Mälardalen/Stockholm, Sweden

Istanbul, Turkey

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Project Description: The 2016 Summer Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro in September 2009.  Over the next seven years, the local Olympic organization committee is responsible for arranging the venues, transportation, housing, ceremonies, tickets, media, hospitality, concessions, merchandise, sponsorships, branding, and spectator services for 28 sports, 10,000 media, and approximately 500,000 visitors.  Jose Brito, a GW alum and Chair of the 2016 Olympic Golf Competition, will work with Professor Neirotti to identify one to three specific projects related to the organization of the 2016 Olympic Games.  Background information on the Olympic Games and research related to the identified projects will take place during the seven-weeks in the spring.  During the time in Rio de Janeiro, students will gather additional information related to their consulting project; meet with representatives of the Olympic Organizing Committee, sponsors, and others associated with the topic of the consulting project; and ultimately present findings to stakeholders.

Instructor: Dr. Lisa Delpy Neirotti is recognized as one of the leading experts on mega-event management and marketing.  Having attended 15 consecutive Olympic Games, three World Cups, and hundreds of other major events throughout the world, she has a strong understanding of the tasks and challenges faced by local organizing committees (LOCs), sponsors, and host city governments.   Since 1992, Dr. Neirotti has organized study tours for GW students to the Olympic Games thus has years of experience in study abroad programs.  Primary research areas include economic impact of events, sport tourism, sponsorship, sport for social change, and strategic marketing.

Accra, Ghana


Project Description: The consulting practicum in Ghana will provide a valuable opportunity for GMBA students to learn about the institutional and business environment of a stable, growing economy in West Africa.  Students will work in 4-5 person teams in coordination with the Ghana Export Promotion Council and the Ghana Investment Promotion Council to develop export strategies for Ghanaian firms and/or strategies to encourage foreign firms to invest in Ghana.  During the May residency period in Ghana, in addition to spending time with clients, students will visit a range of foreign and local companies that have developed successful, profitable strategies to serve customers at the base of the economic pyramid.

Instructor: Professor Jennifer Spencer is the Coelho Professorial Fellow and Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University’s School of Business. She is also the Director of the GW Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).  Professor Spencer teaches courses related to International Strategy and International Management.  Her scholarly research focuses on multinational enterprises’ investments into developing countries, firms’ global technology strategies, and knowledge spillovers between firms. She is on the editorial review board of the Journal of International Business Studies and Academy of Management Review and has published articles in the top journals in management, strategy, and international business fields, including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, and Journal of International Business Studies.  Professor Spencer currently serves on the executive committee for the International Management division of the Academy of Management.

Belgrade, Serbia


The Serbia IRP team is working with five agribusiness companies with operations headquartered throughout Serbia. These companies food and related products including: tea, fruit juice, condiments, agricultural seeds and charcuterie (processed meats). Activities will include research, evaluation and preparation of a competitive landscape overview, market and trends analysis, SWOT analysis and fully functional marketing plan. In addition, and once these research-based activities are complete, students will liaise with Serbia-based creative service providers to develop and implement initial stages of the tactical plan including trademark development, packaging, public relations, sales literature, advertising and trade show display.

Instructor: Professor Jeffrey Spear focuses his strategic and creative efforts upon FMCG brands (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and caters to both consumer and trade audiences. While originally trained as a graphic designer, and still working as Creative Director for Studio Spear, Jeffrey has become fluent and works as Director of Strategic Planning for his organization.

Spear’s history includes a working presence in Los Angeles for fifteen years, Melbourne (Australia) for eight years and has been headquartered in Baltimore for the past nine years. With numerous and ongoing consulting engagements with USAID (most recently Serbia, Russia and Montenegro) supporting economic growth in countries described as “emerging economies,” along with ongoing and active relationships with embassies, consulates, international trade offices and business support groups, Jeffrey is well positioned to help companies exploit growth potential.

Mälardalen/Stockholm, Sweden


Project Description: The destination for the 2011 Sweden Residency is Mälardalen, located less than an hour away from Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The focus of the Residency is the Clean Technology sector. Sustainability is central to life in Sweden and the Swedes have decades of experience with successful and innovative companies devoted to energy conservation and other green initiatives. While there is clearly a mainstream focus on sustainability in the Swedish population as a whole, many of these companies are products of the cold, Nordic climate, the need to conserve energy, a strong focus on technology, and environmental stewardship.

In collaboration with the Swedish American Chambers of Commerce (SACC) and Mälardalens Handelskammare, suitable candidates in the Clean Technology sector in this region will be selected as clients. The consulting projects will revolve around tasks such as market analysis in preparation of market entry into the US, the creation of a strategic marketing plan, building an integrated marketing campaign, or conducting research on product concepts, along with sales forecasts and budget recommendations. While in Sweden, we will have the opportunity to conduct site visits at a number of Swedish companies and other organizations, such as ABB, Structor Miljöteknik, Mälarenergi AB, as well as local universities.

Instructor: A member of the GWSB community since 2006, Dr. Anna Helm has been teaching Intro to International Business and International Marketing Management, as well as the 2010 International Residency in Sweden on the topic of Green Technology and Marketing Strategy. Through a grant from the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service she has also developed an undergraduate level service-learning course entitled “International Perspectives on Green Business.” Professor Helm is currently pursuing research on cross-cultural differences in consumer perceptions of green products. In her capacity as GW-CIBER Business Language Co-Coordinator, she is also involved in research on business case methodology.

Istanbul, Turkey


Project Description: The Turkey IRP will focus on the financial sector in general, and the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) in particular. Turkey is one of the world’s fastest growing emerging economies in addition to being located in a geo-strategically highly sensitive region. Early in the new millennium, in the wake of the home grown 2000/01 crisis, Turkey has implemented its own macro economic and political reforms, reduced its high and volatile inflation considerably, and stabilized the business environment. Consequently, it has become a high-growth economy attracting significant amounts of FDIs. However, Turkey’s growth is primarily financed by external funds, be it long-term FDIs or short&medium-term financial flows, due to insufficient domestic financial savings. The ISE plays a crucial role in this process. The ISE management envisages increasing its role in the economy by broadening the investor base in securities markets and by improving its operational and administrative efficiency through demutualization. Also, the Turkish Government’s objective of making Istanbul an international financial center might contribute to ISE’s desire to enhance its funding capacity for the corporate sector.  The course aims to understand the dynamics of an emerging economy and financial system as well as developing ideas on the four projects proposed by the ISE, our client.

Instructor: Abdullah Akyuz is currently the President of TUSIAD-US (Turkish Business Federation’s US Representative Office), which he joined in 1999. Between 1983-1990, he served on the Capital Markets Board, the Turkish equivalent of the SEC, as an economist. In June 1990, he became the Director of the newly established Bonds and Bills Market of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE). In May 1994, he became the Executive Vice-Chairman of the ISE, overseeing the operations of several departments until his departure. He led the team which set up the world’s first “organized repo market” at the ISE, which soon became the largest organized financial market in Turkey. Mr. Akyuz has also served as a Board Member of the ISE-Settlement and Custody Bank, Inc., as well as a member of Treasury’s “Domestic Borrowing Advisory Board”. Abdullah Akyuz received his B.A. degree in Economics and Finance from the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Ankara (1983), his M.A. degree in Economics from the University of California-Davis (1986), and graduated from Wharton School’s Advanced Management Program (1996).

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

Project Description: “Vietnam – The Road from Outsourcing to Joint Ventures”

The host company of this year is Hoa Sen Group (HSG), the largest steel company with an annual USD 200 million revenues. The company imports, produces and distributes galvanized steel sheet and other construction material products. The HSG dominates domestic galvanized steel market with over 26 percent market share and its distribution channel contains nearly 100 retail stores across the country. The HSG is searching for a joint venture with U.S. companies such as Home Depot to provide the know-how technology and to utilize HSG distribution channel to sell home improvement products in Vietnam and overseas. The project will provide a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and treat) for the company in the retailer market segment and then to identify potential business partners in the U.S. for the company. In addition, the group will visit other businesses in Vietnam such as Nam An Group, who owns and operates multiple restaurant chains, and New World Hotel, a 5-star hotel in HoChiMinh City.

Instructor: Nam D. Pham is Managing Partner of NDP Consulting Group, an economic consulting firm that specializes in assessing complex issues in finance, international trade, public policies and corporate business strategies.  Clients of NDP Group include U.S. and foreign corporations, financial institutions, federal and local governments, trade associations, and multinational organizations.  Prior to founding NDP Consulting Group in 2000, Dr. Pham was Vice President at Scudder Kemper Investments in Boston, where he was responsible for research, asset allocations, and currency hedging for Scudder’s global and international bond funds.  Before that he was Chief Economist of the Asia Region for Standard & Poor’s DRI in Boston; an economist at the World Bank in Washington D.C.; and a consultant to both the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission in Washington D.C..  Dr. Pham is also adjunct professor at the George Washington University, where he teaches graduate courses in monetary economics, international trade and finance, macroeconomics, and microeconomics.  Dr. Pham holds a Ph.D. in economics from the George Washington University, with concentrations in international trade and finance, economic development and applied microeconomics; an M.A. from Georgetown University; and a B.A. from the University of Maryland.



Andrea Nowack is a first year MBA
student at the George Washington University concentrating on marketing and sports business. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in Journalism with an emphasis onDocumentary Production and Public Relations from the University of Oregon, she began her career at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide performing analyst and public relations for Microsoft’s Online Services Business (Bing, MSN and Windows Live services). In 2008 she moved back to Los Angeles and worked at a mid-sized PR and marketing agency planning and executing digital marketing initiatives for clients such as Pizza Hut, Ustream and Seattle’s Best Coffee. In her spare time she enjoys snowboarding, running, traveling, and drinking lots and lots of coffee.



Prajakta Chitre is a first year MBA with a concentration in International Business and Finance. Prior to business school she worked at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) where she performed financial analysis and forecasts for large transportation and infrastructure projects. While at PB she worked with public and private clients to understand their needs and concerns for various projects. This required working on multidisciplinary teams and with independent consultants to deliver a cohesive financial analysis and strategy. Prajakta hopes to pursue a career in International Development with a focus on finance and economics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University. Prajakta is from India and was born and raised in Bahrain.


Julie Finkelstein is a first year MBA, concentrating in Organizational Behavior and Development. Julie serves as the MBA Association’s Vice President of Recruitment and the Vice President for External Affairs of GW’s chapter of Net Impact. Prior to her start at GW, Julie worked in the non-profit sector, in youth leadership and empowerment focused organizations, most recently as the Assistant Director of Capital Camps & Retreat Center. Originally from Philadelphia, Julie graduated from the University of Maryland in 2005 with a degree in Anthropology. In the future Julie plans to utilize her business school experience to enhance organizational culture and professional development in the non-profit sector.



Adam Gerber is a first year MBA student at the George Washington School of Business where he serves as president of Tech for Business and studies information and innovation management. Formerly, Adam served as the director of programs and membership for Dworbell, Inc., an association management firm in Washington, DC. Additionally, Adam has worked for NPR and Hillel International. Adam serves as a mentor for the DC College Success Foundation and as a community board member for Avodah, the Jewish Volunteer Corps. Adam studied history and political science at UC Davis and works seasonally as a tour guide for student trips overseas.



Jamil Fahmy is a first year MBA student at George Washington University. He completed his Bachelor’s of Commerce degree in Montreal, Canada with concentrations in finance and marketing. He has since worked on the derivatives sales desk of an international bank based in his hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Recently, his interest in renewable energy commercialization has grown substantially, particularly its application across the fossil fuel rich Persian Gulf. As an aspiring strategy consultant, Jamil is eager to understand how contemporary business innovations can foster cost savings while boosting profitability under the umbrella of sustainable business practices across various industries. He believes his experiences throughout the course will comprise an ideal exercise in consulting a firm with aspirations to grow its business in a sustainable way.



Winnie Chao is a first-year MBA student with a background in development, fundraising, and communications. She has worked on projects ranging from creating a fundraising strategy for the USA Women’s 7s Rugby team to launching a social media campaign for a non-profit foundation. Her experience includes fundraising and communications strategy for non-profits, government, and campaigns. Winnie also sits on the boards for George Washington’s chapters of Net Impact and the National Association of Women MBAs. Winnie graduated from the University of Virginia, where she majored in English and Government. She is a member of the Junior League of Washington and the National Press Club. In her spare time, she likes to cook and eat a lot because she doesn’t understand the concept of portion control.



Originally from Columbus, Ohio, I spent the last five years working as a pharmaceutical sales representative, one year with Johnson & Johnson and then four years with Forest Pharmaceuticals. In this position, I was able to gain valuable analytical skills and also enhance my creativity. While I worked in a group of five, I was in charge of my own business every day and worked very independently. So basically, I am a team player, but able to accomplish most tasks on my own! I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Transportation/Logistics from The Ohio State University in 2004. Please make note, I was also born at the Ohio State University Hospital, so I am a born and bred Buckeye. I began the full-time MBA program during the fall semester of 2010. Focusing on Marketing and International Business, my plan is to graduate in the spring of 2012. Currently, I am the President of the GW American Marketing Association, a member of the International Business Society, National Association for Women MBA’s, and the Healthcare Club. I am also serving as the Senator for the GW School of Business in the GW Student Association. I am looking forward to working in Vietnam and experiencing another culture in the professional arena.


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