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, IBUS731

The past thirty years have been marked by increasing attention to international trade, the global marketplace, and business in emerging markets. 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, analyze the industry landscape, conduct a market analysis, and develop an implementation plan with concrete go-forward recommendations. In this process, 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.

Cases and Teaching Notes

Wolfgang Messner, G Shainesh, Nikolas Zalesky

Succeeding in India

Expert Insight, 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

A Daimler Expat on a Kamikaze Mission in China

Case with teaching notes | pending publication

Rainer Gärtner is the CEO of Daimler Trucks & Buses China Ltd. Two years into his latest promotion, Gärtner faces a discomforting situation which may potentially bring an abrupt halt to his career. An unfortunate incident in a neighborhood parking lot where Gärtner lost his temper led to cause a fierce outrage in the local and the worldwide media, not only over his disgraceful conduct but also on the Daimler corporate culture.

Renault Duster India

Ammad Ejaz Chaudhary, Wolfgang Messner

Renault Duster in India: Creating a Market Segment

Case with teaching notes | pending publication

Renault is a French multinational automobile manufacturer, which entered the Indian market in 2005 through a joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian multinational manufacturing company. After the first joint product, the Logan, failed to appeal to the Indian customer base, Renault had to reposition its brand image. To go mass-market, Renault subsequently brought the Duster, a value-for-money sports utility vehicle (SUV) originally developed by Renault’s Romanian daughter company Dacia, into the Indian market in 2012.

The case starts with an introductory story and composite interviews with three completely different Indian consumers evaluating their options for buying a new car. The first two customers have clearly narrowed in on the Duster, the third one needs a different type of car with more passenger seats. This is followed by insight into the Indian automobile industry, an overview of Group Renault, and some background about the Duster as designed and developed by Dacia in Romania. The case then turns to India, and follows the trajectory of Renault in India starting with the company’s failed 2005 joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra, the subsequent setting up of an Indian production facility together with Renault’s worldwide cooperation partner Nissan, and the rolling out of premium vehicles in 2011 to reposition the company’s brand image. It looks at how the European-designed mass-market SUV Duster got localized and customized ahead of its India market introduction in 2012. The case goes on to narrate how competitor moves, especially by Ford and General Motors, quickly challenged Renault’s success in India, and how Renault responded by introducing a new small mass-market vehicle, the budget car KWID. The case finishes in early 2017 when Renault announced that it would enter Pakistan with the Duster by 2018.

Wolfgang Messner, Katherine C. Wilson

Made-in-India Cars Fail NCAP Crash Test

Case with teaching notes | pending publication

As a developing economy with a large population and growing middle class, India offers many opportunities for foreign companies looking for new markets to expand into. The automobile industry in India is just one market segment that has seen an increase in foreign interactions, bringing about new car models and a variety of price points for nearly every consumer. However, the interplay between foreign firms and domestic consumers also emphasizes differences in values and standards, bringing about questions of business ethics in developing nations. This case examines the distinct development of India’s automobile industry and recent growth in traffic safety standards, addressing increased concerns over unsafe road conditions and consistently high accident statistics. The French multinational automobile manufacturer, Renault, is highlighted for its successful expansion into the Indian car market, yet its popular car models the Duster and Kwid have received failing scores on vehicle safety tests in 2016 and 2017. Testing has been performed in India by the Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), a non-profit aimed at increasing consumer awareness, and its results have shown that many models of cars sold in India lack basic safety requirements, a factor that is critically important given the alarming traffic safety record in India. Publicized marks from the NCAP have influenced new government policies on regulating car safety standards, but much of the responsibility still lies with the manufacturers, which are often multinational firms offering safer, “5-star” models in other parts of the world.

Wolfgang Messner, Katherine C. Wilson, Hyo Jin Yoon

A Short Guide on Doing Business in South Korea

Business Expert Press | pending publication

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.