International Expansion: COFEM S.A.

Stephanie Manna (MIM), Kehinde Adelani (MBA), Jeffrey Dulgarian (MBA), Nicole Magni (MBA)

Title:                            International Expansion: Cofem, S.A.

Subject Area:            Globalization of markets

Region:                        Spain (HQ), US, South Africa

Industry:                    Fire detection and alarm systems

Company:                   Cofem, S.A.

Client:                         Magnolia Fernandez, CEO of Cofem

Dilemma:                    Magnolia is looking to expand her business in terms of globalization of markets to sell her fire detection and alarm system products in either the US or South Africa within the next year. Her business is strong, but she is an avid believer in continued growth, which is why she pushing for these markets.

“Cofem, S.A.” as a BE-EDGE Project


Investment to personal capital:

This project is helping me understand how to analyze different potential markets. Considering that all of us want to be upper-level executives one day, we plan on working on many projects that involve international expansion.

  • Stephanie: Whether that expansion be of production or of markets, I want to be prepared to successfully lead a team on this initiative. Working on this case helped me understand how to put myself in the shoes of an international company looking to expand outwards. My goal is to increase my intellectual capital, so projects like this one are helping to better educate me on those points..
  • Jeff: Cofem’s niche is in Fire Protection Systems, a smaller subsect in vertical construction, which has relevance and space within numerous sectors of the Industry (industrial, commercial, energy, mining, etc.). I was able to bring the technical experience and interworking to my group during the case development
  • Kehinde: I also want to use my experience to continue to seek opportunities to expand Global engagement in seminars, training, and workshop outside the United State.
  • Nicole: This project contributed to my personal capital in the sense that it was quite motivating to work with such a powerful female CEO, who is responsible for making incredibly important decisions without a lot of time, and handling this pressure with ease and grace. This is a skill I hope to develop and hone during the course of my MBA.  On a personal note, we also knew that she had at least one child, and as a parent, it was really inspirational to know that she was able to manage and direct a global enterprise while raising a child. 


Investment to social capital:

One of the team members, Stephanie, had a pre-existing relationship with the CEO of Cofem, S.A., Magnolia, so the consulting case was a unique situation in which she was working with Magnolia in a professional sense rather than a personal one, discussing this project, asking for her to explain in more detail her views on the company, international expansion, and the markets of interest. That process was a great opportunity to have a lot of access to the CEO of a large company. We each created a list of questions that we thought would help us guide Ms. Fernandez to a reasonable decision about her next market.  Worked as a team to prepare question lists for the client, and communicating with the client, and developing mutual understanding was an incredible experience. We had a lot of market and industry data to back up our recommendations, but it was also important to me to know the decision-maker and how she makes her decisions.


Investment to professional capital:

We generated value for our company by making a professional recommendation based on in-depth market analyses and projected financial returns on investment. We provided an in-depth analysis of the PESTEL and industry elements of South Africa that would affect Cofem, plus the direct implications that it would have on the company. We also recommended a joint venture to better navigate the South African market while projecting Cofem’s sales. This is a full package recommendation to help aid Magnolia in making this decision.

We were able to create an implementation strategy by not only updating the Cofem organization chart, but we also created a new process flow that would not cost the company a lot of money. Therefore, the company would see the projected return on investment very quickly. We were able to also add value by emphasizing that although Cofem already has business holdings in Africa, they would need to utilize cross-cultural sensitivity and not over-generalize that all African countries operate the same. We provided recommendations to be mindful of the high corruption perception in South Africa and the government laws and regulations regarding fire protection.


Capitals’ utilization:

This journey has shown us so much regarding how to be a future leader.

  • Stephanie: I know what to look for when analyzing potential markets now, in addition to what the company itself needs to consider. Most importantly, I learned how to delegate and trust the team, divide work based on individual skill and experience, and bring people together with varied backgrounds. This will all help me be a better leader in the future.
  • Jeff: There is potential in every market; the dilemma is determining what the current need is, when to act, how to do it, but most importantly are you ready and can you fill the need. Realism is important. Growth and success aren’t guaranteed. But having the courage and resolve to dig deeper, self-reflect, practically analyze, and make an initial move is what it takes to start something special. If nothing else, I realize this initial exposure is a start but there is much more to learn, experiment and apply. I’ve got to put myself into organizations and situations that provide the avenues for continued exposure. Looking forward to continuing that journey.
  • Kenny: I plan to utilize the experience from this project by assisting business leaders with consulting on the business capacity for global expansion, further market analysis, culture and political trends in the continent of business interests. 
  • Nicole: To tie this all together, I plan to combine this new ability to intellectually analyze different countries by objective data with the subjective answers to questions that we got from our CEO to make a sound, reasonable, and acceptable recommendation to a company.  I often found that we were using objective data to rationalize and corroborate a “gut” feeling that the CEO had about a market.  I can certainly use this in my current profession, as there are often strict regulations about government funding, and I often need to balance adhering to those regulations with the goals of my faculty and college. It is important to know how to read and interpret facts and use those to help key stakeholders make rational decisions.


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