Senior lecturer Leslie Kendrick and student Harrison Sims
Leslie Kendrick and Harrison Sims

Harrison Sims, a second-year biomedical engineering student minoring in marketing and communications, has been named a finalist in the international X-Culture competition.

Sims participated in the competition as the culminating assignment in Leslie Kendrick’s International Marketing course. The X-Culture program matched Kendrick’s students with students around the world to create interdisciplinary teams that developed solutions for real business cases. In the 2021-22 competition, 6,288 students from 171 universities in 47 countries participated.

Out of the 1,132 teams who submitted reports, Sim’s team was singled out as one of this year’s 10 Best Teams. Sims was the only Hopkins student and only American on a team that included students from Russia, Turkey, Ghana, and the Netherlands.

Sims’ team was tasked with developing a marketing plan for CapSource Education, a company that brings together employers and students through experiential programming. After evaluating several potential markets for expansion, Sims said his team “recommended they expand into the Chinese market” and “developed a new pricing format for their product offerings . . . and gave them recommendations for which promotional outlets to use.”

Kendrick, a senior lecturer in the Center for Leadership Education, believes the competition challenges her students in a number of ways. “Not only does this project allow students to leverage marketing concepts, strategies and tactics from more than 25 international marketing cases covered throughout the course, but it challenges them to address cultural and communication issues that arise based on the heterogeneity of the teams,” Kendrick said. “Few, if any undergraduate JHU students in the class have ever had non-JHU teammates for a group project, much less students from countries like Russia or Ghana.”

Sims said his team faced the same challenges most international teams do, such as language barriers and time differences. Despite these challenges, Sims said the experience was rewarding because it provided an opportunity to learn “about the countries and cultures of [his] teammates” and helped him to develop skills with broad application. “The teamwork skills that I learned as well as the creativity I used during this project are applicable in any field,” he said.

Kendrick agrees that the project develops her students beyond the marketing concepts she teaches in her course, such as “working abroad, communicating with managers from international divisions of their company, launching products in new markets, or negotiating with individuals from different cultural, economic, political and legal environments,” she said.

As an educator in the competition, Kendrick facilitated learning course content and preparing students to engage proactively with their teams. For this role, X-Culture named Kendrick one of the Best Instructors of the 2021 competition.

The 10 Best Teams recognized this year will also be invited to the upcoming 2022 X-Culture Symposium and X-Culture Coaching Program, where they can train to become future mentors in the program.