Global market research in action: Trulaske students support businesses through International Trade Center

Image: ITC Group Photo

MU International Trade Center interns for Spring 2023, pictured left to right, front to back: Hannah Nash, graduate assistant Navya Kola, Sophy Silva, Mary Bransford, Clare Herrington, Kit Krippner, Begim Tokhirjonova, Frank Pantoni, Nick Arciszewski, Nathan Fox, Ronan Adkins, Alec Centa, Jackson Blackwell, Brennen Healy, Lucas Hayes, Nat Boos and graduate assistant Michael Hatley. Not pictured: Jordan Chaffee and graduate assistant Nithya Koritala.

By Krista Hinrichs

Sixteen University of Missouri & Trulaske College of Business undergraduate students are directing their time, attention and talents this semester to help four small-to-medium sized companies based in Missouri and Illinois grow their sales internationally.

As interns with the MU International Trade Center, the students conduct global market research to assist the companies with new market identification and evaluation. All projects are tailored to the individual company’s product and industry sectors of interest.

Through this experience, interns gain valuable hands-on data analysis, project management and presentation experience, along with real-world insights into global trade. The participating companies receive in-depth county and industry sector analysis that can be used to support and guide future decision making.

Companies working with the center this semester include:

  • Diva Maker Hair Prosthetics (Kansas City, Mo.), a manufacturer and supplier of premium quality prosthetic wigs and hair replacement products and solutions;
  • MSSC, LLC (Collinsville, Ill., and Owensville, Mo.), a manufacturer of stenciling equipment and supplies and water activated tape dispensers, and a distributor of markers and inkjet printers and ink;
  • OTT Enterprises (St. Louis, Mo.), a family-owned and -operated company producing small-batch, handcrafted liqueurs and brandies; and
  • Save the Girls Touch Screen Purses (Belleville, Ill.), a purse company with unique designs allowing users to text, accept calls and perform smartphone functions all securely from their purse.

The MU International Trade Center utilizes the work of student interns and university faculty, along with leading market research databases, to conduct customized research to meet business needs. Completed research helps participating companies effectively evaluate global market opportunities in a timely, meaningful and affordable way. The goal of the center is to promote economic development and aid in the international decision-making of Missouri businesses, while providing MU students – tomorrow’s business leaders – opportunities for experiential learning.