A group of MSU students and faculty involved in the ExporTech program take a group picture.

Through the ExporTech program, students conduct market research and develop a personalized export strategy for the seven Michigan-based companies involved.

As challenges related to the novel coronavirus pandemic continue to unfold, many things remain uncertain. However, amid the uncertainty, a group of MSU students have risen to the challenge, continuing their efforts to assist small Michigan-based businesses.

Through a partnership between MSU’s International Business Center and the United States Department of Commerce, a new program called ExporTech assists smaller businesses with an export growth path in global markets. The program, which began in February, lasts for two months, during which time the students have been conducting market research and developing a personalized export strategy for the seven companies involved.

Two Broad Spartans are among the students in the program: business preference sophomore Melissa Kreger, who is assisting a mid-sized packaging company looking to move into Europe, and accounting senior Michael Rotondo, who serves as team leader for a medical tech supply company looking to expand to African markets. Both are facing unexpected challenges by working on the projects remotely.

“It’s hard to be on the same page with your team when you only talk once a week and not in person,” Rotondo said. “We still have weekly updates, but besides that, we rely mostly on email to communicate, which can drag things out and prolong the project.”

Despite the challenges of social distancing and working from home, the student teams are continuing to make progress by channeling the “Spartans Will” mentality.

“My Broad education has presented me with many challenges that have enabled me to learn how to adapt to situations and overcome hardships,” Kreger said. She noted that the novel coronavirus has made most things society takes for granted impossible, yet this has enabled her to practice the skills she’s gained.

Rotondo shared how Broad College resources have helped his work, including the Gast Business Library’s electronic resources and access to Zoom. “I am confident this experience will reward me when I enter the workforce after college because many people are transitioning to working remotely,” he said.

“Adaptation is key,” Kreger commented. “Nothing is ever how you expect it, and to survive, you need to be able to adapt and keep going.”