Looking back at the second half of this year, it is filled with many memories of our third term at the Palisades Conference Center. We completed five classes: Innovation and New Venture Creation, International Entrepreneurship, Designing Data Products, Valuation, and Investment Banking. All of them were top notch and presented by esteemed leaders in their fields.
My favorite class was International Entrepreneurship taught by Professor Mukti Khaire. Her classroom felt like an intellectual airport lounge. We were ready to take off to a new country and a business away from everyday life in New York—it had an exotic flavor to it. This blog is dedicated to all those entrepreneurs who dream to start a business in a foreign country and who can use references like the cases we discussed in class. We discussed 10–12 cases, which included their business model, pros and cons, profitability quotient, and longevity in the market. These businesses were started by people who were exposed to American culture and then traveled or relocated to foreign countries.
Our initial focus was on India and China. We reviewed John Bisell’s FabIndia and its export domestic retail products made by Indian artisans. We dived into the Chinese office real estate market with former Goldman Sach’s employee Zhang Xing’s SOHO China. Our journey continued in China, by exploring Mei Zhang’s WildChina, a sustainable luxury tourism company. Our critical thinking was put to the test by evaluating other MBA programs such as Globis University’s in Japan. We also looked at copycat ventures in online booking companies in the United States, China, and India: Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity to CTrip, eLong, MakeMytrip, Travelguru and Cleartrip.
As we navigated to other parts of the world, I felt inspired by Shane Immelman’s The Lapdesk Company. Lapdesk is a bean-shaped, child safe plastic desk for writing and carrying to school. It was entertaining to learn about the launch of high-end movie theatre chain called Cinemex in Mexico City. Cinemex was started by a group of 3 HBS students who were able to secure $21.5 million equity financing from JP Morgan Chase. We were amazed by Racing the Planet, an adventure fitness company that organizes races across four deserts (Chile, China, Namibia, and Antarctica) in the world.
Our discussion continued about luxury life with ABICI’s handcrafted Italian bikes. We reviewed Globant, a digital agency and their entry to Silicon Valley and continued studying the software/outsourcing market with Clutch Group that pioneered legal tech business. In nutshell, many of these businesses were started by students like us who had a dream to explore and wanted to experiment with an idea in a new market.
As Steve Jobs said, and many of us have felt: “I want to put a ding in the universe.” And that feeling has come up again!