How The London Experience and Porter’s Diamond Theory co-exist

by Dr. Russell Teasley, associate dean of faculty and graduate programs Mike Cottrell College of Business

Business schools have witnessed an increased popularity of short-term rather than long-term study abroad programs. These programs reduce costs for students and reduce scheduling restraints for students but also pose challenges to achieve appropriate learnings during their shortened durations. Typically, these short-term programs lack theoretical frameworks to tie together learning strategies, meaningful itineraries and impactful experiences for students. But, we found that an effective theoretical framework helped us focus on site visit plans and related course objectives (in our case, International Business).

For 22 years, the Mike Cottrell College of Business has held its flagship short-term study abroad program, the London Experience. Students travel to London for 9 days and it is a component of a semester long international business course. Students take the course online and it covers the full scope of topics taught in its face-to-face equivalent. During 2009, myself (Dr. Teasley) and the other program designers incorporated Porter’s Diamond of National Competitiveness as a theoretical framework to guide the trip’s learning outcomes and site visits while in London. Since that time the College has developed a network of long-term and successful relationships within London’s financial services sector which is cited as England’s greatest wealth-producing industry.

When we did this in 2009, three pre-departure assignments and a post-trip student presentation supplemented the London itinerary, and addressed each component of Porter’s Diamond. Porter and colleagues researched many world-class business centers to identify four aspects of competitive advantage that operated in various locations around the world. Each center housed the following resources:

  1. a cluster of world-class suppliers and infrastructure;
  2. a critical mass of sophisticated, demanding customers;
  3. a system of favorable factor endowments;
  4. and, intense levels of competition and sophisticated industry dynamics.

All course assignments and trip site visits focused on these four factors as they evolved and operated within London’s financial services sector.

Both student participants and instructors believe this methodology has been valuable both to the study abroad experience and has increased the Mike Cottrell College of Business’ visibility within London’s cluster of international banking, insurance and support services. Long-term relationships in industry have developed that have opened windows of experience for students and exposed London companies to our unique student body. Students have also learned substantial lessons about competition in a globally significant industry. A recent article authored by two of our faculty members, Dr. Russell Teasley and Katie Simmons, as well as Dr. Marilyn Helms, pointed out the utility of Porter’s Diamond for enhancing short-term study abroad pedagogy as well as the Diamond’s transferability to other locations worldwide.

For more information, you can read our upcoming journal article in the Journal of International Business Education (forthcoming).

The Freedom to Compete

by Dr. John Scott, professor of economics, Mike Cottrell College of Business

Nissan found a strategy to cut its cost of producing and selling a $50,000 car by $5,000. In business, such efficiency is too big to pass up. On the other hand, when Ford ships from the United States to Europe, Ford has to pay that extra $5,000 as an import tax. Since Nissan produces in Mexico, which has trade agreements with Europe, they do not pay a $5,000 tax.

How can Ford profitably export cars if they start with a ten percent disadvantage? Ford uses robotics – but so does Nissan. Ford uses more educated American workers – but they are also more expensive. And there is nothing Ford can do about the fact that U.S. regulations are thousands of times more restrictive than that of Mexico’s – except move to Mexico.

Keep in mind, it isn’t just Nissan and Ford competing in the world’s auto markets. Audi, Volkswagen, Daimler, Kia, Mercedes as well as others take advantage of Mexico’s trade deals to lower their cost of selling cars. Moreover, it is not just auto companies who produce in Mexico due to the advantage of more free trade. For example, Carrier, the U.S. heating / air company, is producing in Mexico to take advantage of Mexico’s trade deals. Ford, Carrier – All U.S. Manufacturers – need the United States to make more trade deals if they are going to compete with foreign companies.

Those worried about U.S. jobs might ask: What is the point of competing in world markets if it means jobs are moved from the United States? Here is a point to consider: for every dollar’s worth of goods that we import from Mexico, forty cents of that dollar originated in the United States. That is, we might import furniture made by a Mexican company who used U.S. wood. If we stop Mexico from adding sixty cents of value, then we stop the U.S. from adding forty cents of value.

Also, U.S. producers import inexpensive resources from other countries, which lowers their costs of production. These lower costs mean lower prices for U.S. consumers, and also means that U.S. companies can better compete as they sell in world markets.

Still, some people focus solely on “buying American.” However, doing this might require more than just looking at the make and model of a car. Here is why: in 2016, the five cars that used the most American parts and resources were, in order, the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Honda Pilot. On the other hand, cars viewed as “American made” are often made with a larger percentage of foreign parts.

This goes to show that today’s production is world-wide. The components of Boeing’s planes are made all around the world. If we require that those planes be made in America, then more of us will ride on Europe’s Airbus planes as airlines purchase cheaper aircraft to compete on lower costs. The U.S. can get in the game by letting our companies compete, or we can watch as others supply the world’s goods.

UNG Accounting Faculty Now Includes a Vangermeersh Award Winner

by Laura Beth Snipes, senior marketing major and marketing intern, Mike Cottrell College of Business

One of our very own Assistant Professors of Accounting here at University of North Georgia was recently chosen for a very prestigious award. The Vangermeersh Manuscript award, established by The Academy of Accounting Historians in 1988, is an annual manuscript award founded to encourage scholars new to the field of accounting to pursue historical research. The research can focus on any facet of accounting in a broad sense. Winners of the award receive a plaque, monetary prize and the high honor of being published in the Accounting Historians’ Journal. This year, Dr. William Black of UNG was chosen to receive the Vangermeersh Manuscript Award for his journal article – The Unintended Consequences of Tax Policy: How Mississippi’s Ad Valorem Tax Contributed to Environmental Devastation.

When Dr. Black was pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Mississippi, he was given a research paper assignment to be based on the Mississippi History Archives located in the university library. Dr. Black’s interest in this topic generated from the stories his uncle, John Batson, had told him of his family’s lumber business, Batson-Hatten Lumber Company. Although the archives on his family’s company seemed incomplete, he connected the stories and facts together by conducting interviews with his uncle and several other relatives. Although this may have been an unusual structure for an accounting history paper, Dr. Black believed that this was the most appropriate way to develop the story of his family’s company.

The award-winning article explores the unexpected consequences of tax policies. It illustrates the story of how, in the 1920’s, Randolph Batson and the Batson-Hatten Lumber company responded rationally to Mississippi’s ad valorem tax on standing timber by clear cutting vast expanses of southern Mississippi timberland, resulting in substantial environmental degradation. The story ended happily, as Randolph turned into quite the environmentalist and made major contributions towards restoring his surrounding area in the 1930s and 1940s. One of his contributions included giving land and wildlife to the establishment of DeSoto National Forest, thought of by ecologists as “one of the most important protected areas for the biological diversity of the Gulf Coast eco-region of North America.”

Dr. Black says that the article was not a cakewalk to get published. First, he submitted the article for a course grade and based on feedback, he revised the paper for hopeful publication. Then the paper was sent out for editorial review and was rejected because the content “did not have enough accounting in it.” The research paper was rejected yet again after his next submission. With the intentions to continue revising the paper, Dr. Black got caught up in developing his teaching career for several years. He was contacted years after with news that his paper on Mississippi’s ad valorem tax would be well suited for this manuscript competition in Accounting History. He dusted off his research paper—one that was unpublished, written by someone less than 7 years removed from his latest degree, and dealing with Accounting History in a very broad sense—and put it forward to the competition. Dr. Black was overwhelmed when he was notified that his family’s lumber company paper won the prestigious international competition.

Presidential Innovation Award recipient: Nick Kastner

For the third year, President Bonita C. Jacobs has presented awards across UNG totaling nearly $300,000 to faculty and staff to support them in pursuing professional development opportunities and research projects. Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring some of those recipients and their efforts in the Mike Cottrell College of Business.

Nick Kastner, marketing manager of UNG’s Mike Cottrell College of Business received a Presidential Innovation Award.

“My application was focused on agile project management and marketing,” said Kastner. “My hope is that we can both adopt agile marketing practices in our efforts for the Mike Cottrell College of Business and that we can share the knowledge that I hope to gain from my professional development and research activities to others inside and outside the university.”

Agile project management refers to an interative, incremental method of managing the design and activities for a given project that provides flexibility and interactivity with stakeholders. Agile project management was initially used as a project management framework for software developers. However now, according to Kastner, agile project management is being adopted in marketing and strategic planning processes.

“I think using agile project management in marketing could do away with the traditional marketing planning process,” says Kastner. “Marketers have traditionally relied heavily on market share, unaided recall, and other long-term measures of success. These things take a long time to develop and in today’s marketing environment, we simply don’t have time to wait. We need to move faster and be able to make meaningful decisions at a rapid rate. Agile marketing could be one way to do just that.”

Last September, Kastner spoke at a Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce small business seminar on the topic of agile marketing. The research he completed for that event sparked his interest in the topic.

From the funds provided from the presidential award, Kastner will be completing ScrumMaster training and certification as well as completing research, proposing a new academic course in agile marketing and presenting internally to faculty, staff and students at an event TBD and externally at an upcoming event this fall in Forsyth County.

7 Accounting Faculty Members at Conference

by Marissa Langston, junior marketing student and marketing intern, Mike Cottrell College of Business

Seven faculty members represented the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the Georgia Association of Accounting Educators (GAAE) conference on February 6 and 7 at Kennesaw State University.

5 faculty members gave presentations at the conference including:

  • Anne Duke (department head, accounting & law): Systematic Expansion of a BBA Accounting Program to Facilitate Growth Due to Consolidation
  • Christine Jonick (professor, accounting) and Jennifer Schneider (assistant professor, accounting): Testing the Test: Evaluating the Quality of Distracters in Multiple-Choice Questions in Accounting Courses
  • Penelope Lyman (assistant professor, accounting): Peer Financial Counseling to Promote Financial Literacy
  • Martha Merritt (assistant professor, accounting): Competence with Quality

In addition, Ellen Best & Roger Wolff were first-time attendees.

Past-president of the Educational Foundation for the Georgia Society of CPAs presents a check.
Past-president of the Educational Foundation for the Georgia Society for CPAs presents a sponsorship check to incoming GAAE president Catherine Cleaveland.

There were 85 attendees at the conference from universities, colleges, and industries throughout the state of Georgia. During the event, Martha Merritt, assistant professor of accounting in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at UNG, in her role as immediate past-president of the Educational Foundation of the Georgia Society for CPAs awarded a sponsorship check of $3,000 to Catherine Cleaveland, 2014-2015 president of GAAE and associate professor of accounting at Kennesaw State University.

Christine Jonick, professor of accounting in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at UNG, will serve as the 2015-2016 president of GAAE, and the 2016 conference will be held at the University of North Georgia.