FORT WAYNE, Ind.— Fifteen hand-picked Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) business students and three faculty are spending their spring break in Casablanca, Morocco, to launch market research on behalf of two northeast Indiana companies: Annie Oakley Perfumery of Ligonier and OFabz Swimwear of Churubusco.
Ahmed Rachdi, the instructor of D490 Special Study in International Business and a native of Morocco, is first taking the students to Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI), an American-style university in the middle Atlas Mountains. While they are there, the IPFW students will work jointly with teams of Moroccan students enrolled in a marketing research course taught by Professor Addelhamid Bennani of AUI.
The IPFW students have already “Skyped” with their Moroccan counterparts, and the AUI students are sharing Blackboard-based team collaboration spaces. The IPFW and AUI students will be running marketing research focus groups together to gather data for the client firms. “We are all extremely excited about the opportunities this collaboration creates for deeper understanding of our respective cultures and ways of doing business,” said Rachdi.
The IPFW students will visit Fes and Meknes, and spend several days in Casablanca visiting multinational corporations such as Hewlett Packard and Procter and Gamble, local Moroccan companies, and the American Chamber of Commerce.
Students going on the trip are:
Faculty going on the trip besides Rachdi will be Myeong Hwan Kim, assistant professor of economics, and Kathy Pollock, assistant professor of accounting and finance. Kim, Pollock, and the students will leave March 5 and join Rachdi in Casablanca March 6. They will return to Fort Wayne March 18.
The trip is funded in part by Bill Lawson, prominent Fort Wayne businessman and former owner of Franklin Electric.