Hollingsworth teaches sales and marketing course internationally

students group photo
Students from the United States, Brazil, Georgia, Indonesia and Korea engaged in the international sales and marketing course.

Dr. Les Hollingsworth, director of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville School of Business, was invited to be a guest lecturer at Darmstadt University of Applied Science in Germany, where he taught an international sales and marketing course during winterim.

Students from the United States, Brazil, Georgia, Indonesia and Korea came together for several weeks to engage in both corporate and cultural excursions with the class. This included visiting the regional distribution center for Stihl and going to the Frankfurt area to learn and experience German culture.

During Hollingsworth’s course, students were put into teams to complete projects and presentations with students from other countries to build cross-cultural competence.

“It was a valuable experience, getting students together to interact with people from other countries and navigate cross-cultural and communication challenges,” said Hollingsworth. “That was super fun to see, and I think the students had a blast. It was a great experience for them.”

Hollingsworth’s course provided lessons in international marketing and sales on a cultural level, discussing how to sell a product internationally and what cross-border considerations have to be made when trying to sell to another country. The main focus was global cultural dimensions, such as how cultures look at the world differently and how that impacts their buyer behavior.

“We may buy the same things, but we buy them for different reasons,” said Hollingsworth. “Those reasons are the marketing messages that are finding their way through society. You may make a power purchase either to fit in or to stand out. For example, let’s take a Rolex. In some cultures, you may buy a Rolex watch to fit in with the group that you want to fit in with or you might buy a Rolex watch to stand out from everyone else. That was the main portion of my lesson, how marketing shapes buying and purchasing motivations.”

While Hollingsworth was in Germany, he also took the opportunity to meet with his counterparts in order to build momentum for the student exchange relationship, which was affected by the pandemic. With a strong focus on STEM, Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences is very similar to UW-Platteville, says Hollingsworth. Referred to as Germany’s city of science, Darmstadt is also home to the European Space Agency.

Since [I’ve worked at Darmstadt in] 2016, collaborating with Platteville has been great. We help each other, and I hope that we’re a good home away from home for Platteville students,” said Jessica Mayer, program coordinator for international programs at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. “There's always this mutual understanding of things that go well and things that can go wrong during a study abroad experience. I don't think there have ever been any complaints. I think that’s a pretty good sign that our partnership works really well between us.”