June 8, 2021
When it comes to expanding into international markets, many Missouri-based businesses do not have the resources to invest in the needed research to undertake such an endeavor. Luckily, several businesses that are headquartered in Missouri and neighboring states have been able to benefit from the University of Missouri International Trade Center (ITC).
By working as interns at the ITC, students from the Trulaske College of Business compile detailed reports and recommendations used for market identification and evaluation activities for a particular business or organization.
Alumna Madison Plaster worked as an ITC intern in the fall of 2017. During her time there, she analyzed trade data as a way to evaluate market entry opportunities for U.S. businesses in Vietnam and then presented her findings in a 30-page report and oral presentation to her client, the St. Louis Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
“It was a really good introduction to international trade, learning about trade codes and how different companies analyze opportunities to invest in other markets, especially from a local level,” Plaster said.
She is currently finishing up her master’s degree in China studies, economics and management at Peking University in Beijing as a Yenching Scholar, one of a group of international students chosen from approximately 40 countries, including 28 from the U.S. Plaster said the skills she learned through the ITC are still very relevant in her current studies, where she is working on a thesis on Chinese consumer perceptions of plant-based products.
In addition to providing real-world trade analysis experience for students, the ITC has played host to the Mid-America Trade Summit for the last three years. This event has traditionally afforded representatives of businesses based in Missouri and its eight neighboring states to speak and network with each other as well as members of the trade assistance community. By discussing topics related to global trade and exporting, attendees share best practices and teaching moments along the way in a traditional conference atmosphere.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit was held online this past November, allowing the ITC team to open registration to a much larger pool of interested business representatives. They were able to recruit new participants by reaching out to event partners based in nonregional states and to national trade-related associations. Their work paid dividends, as attendees joined remotely from all over the country.