Classes offered by Wolfgang Messner

Through Darla Moore School's #1 ranked (as per U.S. News & World Report) undergraduate and postgraduate international business programs, Professor Messner offers a hands-on learning experienced combined with cutting-edge ideas for students who are preparing a career in international business and/or management consulting.

Information about his corporate training and executive education programs can be found here: Executive education.

Global Competitive Analysis

IBUS426, IBUS718, IBUS731

This advanced international strategy course is offered in cooperation with the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC). It places you in the role of a management consultant or advisor to a company which has expressed strong interest in expanding its global business footprint. You will work alongside SC SBDC business consultants to engage the client, understand the client’s business needs, conduct a market analysis, and develop concrete go-forward recommendations. You will also work with a leading global trade management software by Integration Point, and have the opportunity to earn an Integration Point global trade analyst business certification.

Beyond Outsourcing: Doing Business in India


India is a land of contrasts. Nowhere else will you find such an abundance of wealth so close to traumatizing poverty, business parks with manicured lawns adjacent to polluted slums, high-end research centers and pervasive analphabetism. But India’s economy is driving demand; things keep changing and growing at a speed unknown to us. Business models which bring you success in America are unlikely to work in India. As an international manager, you will need to learn new strategies.

After about eight weeks of preparatory classroom sessions, the business study abroad trip to India is intended to immerse you into India’s contrasts, and show you how things really work in India. Our travels will takes us to the supercity of Bangalore, the Tier-2 city of Mysore, and the Kabini reservoir in the Nagarhole National Park.

The Business Case for Services Offshoring

IBUS432, IBUS790

This course points out how to formulate and present a professional judgment on a corporate initiative with a sound business case based on the elements of cost, benefit, risk, and strategic flexibility. A business case is viewed both as a document and as a process. As a document, it can help to provide a top-down justification for a rational decision. As a process, it builds robust and lasting consensus among stakeholders.

Services offshoring is an example of such a corporate initiative, and often a contentious topic. Policy makers, business executives, thought leaders, and even presidential candidates express strong and often conflicting opinions about deploying young college graduates in emerging countries to take over development and service functions that were previously performed in a company’s home location. Is it worth it?

This course has been designed to provide you with a practical framework for building business cases, and increase your skills of writing and presenting compelling reports for management approval. While we take services offshoring as an example, the concepts, frameworks, and tools covered in this course are useful all the way from market expansion scenarios, marketing campaigns, information technology investments, and also sales situations.

Managing Cross-border Teams

IBUS431, IBUS717

What does culture have to do with business? Unlike hard data from market studies and management models, culture is soft, slippery, and, at times, contradictory. Business people often interact with culturally different colleagues, competitors, suppliers, and government officials. They all operate with their own set of ‘rules’ of how they should act in a meeting, or run a negotiation, or plan a project, or decide whom to recruit. It’s often easiest to spot culture at work when things don’t go as expected.

In this course, you will learn how to collaborate more effectively in an international team, all the way from using virtual collaboration tools to dealing with cultural and time-zone differences, to being a better global team player and leader. You will also realize that culture is not the only impediment to international teams; a country’s economic climate, job market, and the team members’ individual work values are equally important.

From a theory point of view, this course is concerned with helping you understand the basis on which culturally different ‘others’ operate in international teams; it aims to provide you with tools to help you develop intercultural literacy to overcome differences. Contemporary cultural theory provides a framework for you to analyze your own cultural assumptions, behavior of culturally different ‘others’, and effectively manage cross-cultural differences encountered in the workplace.

Managing and Analyzing Data for Business Decisions

MIB Bootcamp

The increasing complexity of industry and commerce and global trends such as big data, the analytics revolution, or digitalization mean that companies must take a more sophisticated approach towards their decision-making. To select the best course of action, decisions are often based on visualization of the information contained within hard data. Wherever possible, management consultants also need to support their recommendations with quantifiable information.

However, today’s senior managers often fail to understand some of the underlying (statistical) principles and they rely too often on their guts. At the same time, junior consultants in the world’s leading strategy and management consulting companies are frequently assigned extensive analytical data-crunching tasks, but they often face challenges with rather basic statistical spreadsheet evaluations.

The course intends to build quantitative skills by combining statistical theory with applied data management and visualization techniques in Microsoft Excel and Tableau. Considering various types of research and analysis methods, the course provides lectures about key ideas, concepts, and techniques, which are immediately followed up with hands-on exercises. This blended learning initiative gives students a hands-on guideline for analyzing data.

Cases and Teaching Notes

Wolfgang Messner, G Shainesh, Nikolas Zalesky

Succeeding in India

Expert Insights: Business Expert Press | 2017

India is a highly complex, competitive, and at the same time immensely attractive market. But there is a substantial difference between products that sell in the developed world and products that will excite customers in India. Based on actual experiences of Indian and foreign businesses on the subcontinent, we have identified five commandments that, when followed, differentiate successful firms from failed initiatives.

Wolfgang Messner, Hyo Jin Yoon

Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm

Case with teaching notes | Ivey Publishing | 2018

The chief executive officer of Daimler Trucks and Buses China Ltd. was on an expatriate assignment in China. In November 2016, he faced a discomforting situation that could bring an abrupt halt to his career; an unfortunate incident in which he lost his temper led to fierce outrage in local Chinese and worldwide media. The media reaction threatened China’s prominence as a major source of revenue for Daimler, and sent Daimler’s share price on a downhill spiral. How should Daimler react, and what could it do to restore the company brand image?

Renault Duster India

Wolfgang Messner, Ammad Ejaz Chaudhary,

Renault Duster in India: Creating a Market Segment

Case with notes | SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals | 2019

Since India opened herself to global trade in 1991, the country's automobile industry has experienced tremendous growth. Multinational car manufacturers had to acclimate to the local market environment and make an effort to understand the needs of their new customers. The experience of Renault, the French multinational car company, in India exemplifies the process of understanding and adapting to market segments. Renault's initial unsatisfactory release of the Logan was overcome with Renault's subsequent launches of the Duster and Kwid. This comeback demonstrates how learning and adapting to local needs can lead to success in emerging markets, and to recovery of brand image lost from prior setbacks.


Wolfgang Messner, Katherine C. Wilson

Made-in-India Cars: When Safety Isn't a Priority

Case with notes | SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals | 2018

India's automobile industry has recently seen an increase in internationalization. However, crash tests performed in 2017 by the Global NCAP on cars built in India for the Indian market identified numerous models with failing scores and an astounding lack of what are today regarded basic safety qualities. This case examines the interplay between foreign firms, local consumers, and government regulations. Taking the Duster and Kwid as examples, two popular car models in India manufactured by the French multinational automobile company Renault, it allows students to think critically about differences in consumer needs, values, and standards, along with business ethics in an emerging market.

Wolfgang Messner, Katherine C. Wilson, Hyo Jin Yoon

A Short Guide on Doing Business in South Korea

Expert Insights: Business Expert Press | 2018

South Korea is a dynamic country that has experienced very rapid economic growth, transitioning into a leading world economy in only a few decades. This tremendous change has led to a dramatic increase of international business exchanges with Korean companies, yet the complexities and cultural elements of the business environment in Korea are very different from those of a traditional Western-style business. Using cultural insight and real cases of Korean and foreign business exchanges, we have established some critical factors that one must understand in order to be successful in South Korea.

Wolfgang Messner, Suzanne Ducker, Katherine C. Wilson

Bed Bath and Beyond - Is Online the Solution?


Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) was founded in 1971 with a focus on the “home and heart life events.” By end of 2017, the company had over 1,530 stores in all states of the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada. But its third quarter earnings results revealed a 50 per cent year-over-year decline in net profits and 45 per cent decline in stock price as compared. BBBY was facing a steady decrease in physical store sales even as digital sales showed growth. While BBBY under the leadership of Steven Temares tried to catch up with competitors in digital initiatives, gain and retain customers through discount and membership programs, and keep a close control on costs, the question remained how BBBY can stay relevant and competitive in the long term?