The Creator of the innovative Export Master® program

Practical International Business Education Program

Export master®, Practical International Business Education

Program Overview

The Practical International Business Education program was developed in 1983 and has been continuously updated since then. The Program has been delivered to thousands of students in Europe and is part of the standard curriculum under licence at a number of universities in Europe.

This advanced practical program is based on two sessions of four to five days each. It includes a combination of international business seminars led by a professional instructor,  small  group  work  and  discussions.  The  objective  is  to  ensure  that students understand what they have learned and can apply the new information and skills by practicing problem-solving using real-world scenarios.

What is most unique is that program participants most complete projects using local companies (see separate description). For this reason, the sessions are scheduled three to four weeks apart so that the students can prepare and complete their written projects. At the end of the second session the students make formal presentations detailing the work for “their” companies at an event attended by company personnel, instructors, employers, media, etc. (see agenda for final day of the program).

Who Will Benefit from This Program? Who should attend?

The program will benefit business people, college or university level students and participants in Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Executive MBA programs. Post secondary students benefit more if they have completed intermediate or advanced studies, so the program will be more effective for them if delivered near the end of their educational/training curriculum, or just before they are due to graduate. If the university has a co-op or study & work program, scheduling the Practical International Business Education part of student training just before a work placement begins has been found to be most beneficial.

Program Curriculum

The Practical International Business Education program is a mix of seminars, practical hands-on group work and development of a professional strategy for launching an existing or new product in a foreign market.


Export & Import – Winning in the Global Marketplace – A practical hands-on guide to success in international business, with 100s of real-world examples

+ exercises (ISBN 978-0-9681148-1-0), written by Leif Holmvall, published in English in June 2011 is the program text. This book has been customized for the Practical International Business Education program.

A teacher’s handbook will be available in late 2011 and will include detailed PowerPoint presentations, course outlines, exams, speaking notes, etc. You can look inside the book at

A large part of course content is based on text book complemented by handouts from the teacher’s handbook. There are also written descriptions of work to be completed independently or worked on during small group sessions in class. There will be a lot of short case studies so that students can practice what has been learned during class. The instructor will provide comments on the students’ work, present alternative solutions and make additional handouts available, as appropriate. More emphasis will be on work to be done in class because program participants

‘learn by doing’.

Regular attendance is important because classroom activities are highly interactive. All topics will be discussed in class. Reading a text or handouts will not compensate for lack of active participation. If a class is missed, it will be incumbent on students to keep up by obtaining notes and explanations of the topics covered.

Program Objectives

This advanced studies program focuses on key activities to be undertaken when conducting international business. The pace of change is rapid, as is the shift in marketing  environments.    For  today’s  international  business  entrepreneurs  to survive, they need the proper knowledge to anticipate where future markets will be. They need practical skills to adapt to various environments in a rapidly changing world.

The key is not just to understand general international business principles, but for students to learn how to successfully apply those principles to find opportunities and carry out international trade. How is this accomplished?

?     We base our classroom and group project work on real cases from local companies who volunteer or who are selected by the students

?     We discuss real-world examples from many countries and examine the broad range of issues that can arise when doing international business

?    We focus on how to identify, negotiate and close international business deals, using examples from all over the world

In summary, the program uses practical examples from around the globe and requires students to extensively practice what they learned in class. Assignments build on their knowledge and skills. They solve real cases and must bring to class examples of international business issues for discussions. They will make mistakes, but it is better to do that in a classroom where they can learn from those mistakes, than in the market later on, where errors are costly.

At the conclusion of this program participants will be able to understand:

1.  The key activities when conducting international business

2.  The different approaches to international business in different countries

3.  How to set up foreign distribution and calculate export pricing

4.  How to select the right market for each product and company including evaluating the pros and cons of each selection

5.  How to adapt products and promotional material to individual markets

6.  Selecting of payment methods and limiting the impact of foreign currency fluctuations

7.  Selecting appropriate freight methods and shipping terms

8.  The legalities of conducting international business

9.  Tools for modern market research

10. The process for introducing a product to a new market

Compulsory Group Work – Export Plan Project

The report prepared during the Export Plan Project is the type of comprehensive study that companies normally pay a consultant $20,000 – $40,000 for. Consequently, the quality of content and presentation must reflect that level of professionalism.

Being selected for this type of Project should be of interest to any company wanting a no-cost consultation that will be guided by a professional instructor. The company should also be prepared to work closely with the students over a period of time, to ensure the success of the Project.

The Project could be based on either an existing or new product/service that is to be launched in a foreign country, or where the company is not happy with results and wants to reactivate a product on a market.

Prior to the Program start, students will be assigned to work groups of three to five people. Before the first course meeting, each group must meet and select a company for their case study project. After selecting “their” company, they will also have to collect background material and research the company’s products and strategies. Each individual in each group should become familiar with the company and what results the company wants from this study. The students often travel to overseas, at their own expense, to gain first-hand knowledge

Each group will be required to submit a written export plan for a selected market and product line, a complete proposal on marketing strategies, selecting distribution channels, etc.  Reports generally contain colour photos & illustrations, graphs and tables and professionally formatted bound. A guide outlining how to “sell” this to the project companies will be supplied to the students.

The marketing plan will cover:

a.  Steps to successfully introduce the product on the market selected

b.  How to convince customers, representatives and their sales people about benefits

c.  Requirements for new sales materials; changes to existing materials

d.  How  the  company should implement these  ideas internally and  on  the market.

Based on our experience with many similar projects, the selected companies will likely start to use the information before the project report is finished. For students working on such a project, the skills and knowledge they acquire will make it easy for them to carry out comparable projects, on their own, in the future business. They actually launch the product/service (i.e., it is real and not a theoretical exercise).

NOTE: Grades will be based on group performance on the Export Plan Project, i.e., 80%. The final written examination may marginally increase or reduce a student’s total marks.

Typical content of an Export Plan Project Report

1.  Summary of Findings and Recommendations (so the CEO can make a decision)

A.  What was the goal of the project? B.  What did the students find out?

C.  What is the recommended course of action?

D. What must the company do to implement the Project recommendations?

2.  Table of contents

The Project Report

3.  Introduction and background on the company and products

4.  Goal for the study

5.  The report and findings:

i.     Analysis of the selected market/markets

ii.       Selection of market. Pros and cons

iii.    Who is the customer, the influencers and decision makers?

iv.     How do you convince the customer, representatives and others?

v.     Analysis of Competition

vi.     Selection of distribution channels

vii.        Pricing and payment methods

viii.    Company analysis, strengths and weaknesses for this market

ix.     Description of the markets and market trends

x.  How to involve all the staff in the company

xi.     Demands for new and updated material

xii.         Time schedule for implementation

xiii.    Detailed description of the project and recommendations

xiv.     Appendices

xv.     List of sources/resources

Practical International Business Education Program

Course Outline:

Before day one of this course students will have:

1.  Been assigned to a small working group or decided on a group to belong to

2.  Identified a company, a product and the market(s) to target

3.  Familiarized themselves and the other students with the product and company to prepare for start-up on day one. That includes familiarity with sales tools used as well as competition

4.  Collected all promotional material and identified activities carried out in other markets

5.  A clear idea about what the company wants to achieve

Preferably, students should also have:

1.  Completed general research on the market so they are familiar with how the market works, including how business is done there

2.  Collected general market data and if possible, how the products selected for the Project are marketed in the respective country today

3. Interviewed a number of resources such as government representatives responsible for each country

a.  Find relevant local organizations by contacting Embassies and Consulates to identify business associations with an interest in those countries

b.  Search the Internet for information using search engines such as Google and our Web site that contains links to a variety of information sources

c.  Find professionals such as lawyers and freight companies doing business in those countries, to ask them for suitable companies to contact to learn about the market.

Through this research, students will develop a basic knowledge of each country and relevant do business practice.

Read our book:

Export & Import – Winning in the Global Marketplace: A practical hands-on guide to success in international business, with 100s of real-world examples + exercises,

ISBN 9780968114810. Order a copy today and we promise that after reading the book, you will have a good base for the upcoming seminars/workshops

For full course outline and details of the program, contact us at We also conduct this education in Swedish.

Leif Holmvall: Owner, Export Pro Inc.

Leif has more than 40 years’ experience in International Business in more than 100 countries. He has lived and worked in both Europe and North America and gained his experience as an executive of several Swedish companies covering a broad range of

industries. Leif served as Swedish Trade Commissioner to Canada.  He has operated his own consulting companies since 1982, assisting foreign companies to do international business. Leif also teaches at international universities and conducts seminars for executives in Europe. Leif is an engineer with numerous degrees and professional credentials in international marketing.

Most of his companies’ work is with overseas clients. Part of the business includes acting as an agent or representative for foreign companies to set up distribution channels, select and activate distributors. His clients include companies in North America, Europe and Asia.

Leif has real-world hands-on experience and is known for his ability to discuss not only each company’s activities but also to give detailed information on country- specific issues. His presentations, based on his many years of experience, are down- to-earth, interactive, educational and refreshing.  He is the author of many books on international business and  is  a  popular guest  speaker at  universities, business schools and corporations in North America and Europe. Over 5,000 company representatives and individuals have attended his seminars and workshops and over

200 companies have established international business using his expertise.

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