Moore School Master of International Business double-degree student William Fromm is taking the knowledge he acquired from the MIB program to further develop his ability to think globally and strengthen his knowledge about international trade economics and commerce.
Originally from Alsace, France, with dual French and Swiss citizenship, Fromm received bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018. Fromm then decided to attend the Moore School to receive the first of two master’s degrees.
As an MIB double-degree student, Fromm completed his Moore School MIB in May 2020 and will complete a second master’s degree in international management at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. He will present his thesis by July 2021.
“I chose the Master of International Business [program at the Moore School] because I needed a program that would culminate well with my international background, my ability to communicate in multiple languages and my interest in global trade and economics,” said Fromm, who speaks English, French, German and Spanish. “I wanted a program that diverged from the typical business curriculum and that would offer me an opportunity to learn about international trade and commerce while becoming familiar with the dynamic evolution of global business. The fact that I was able to do so in one of Europe’s top business schools cemented my decision to attend the Moore School for the double-degree”
Specifically interested in international development and strategy consulting, Fromm said the courses in the MIB program gave him a great understanding of industry-level challenges that multinational companies face.
One such course was an advanced international strategy course in which Fromm and 10 other MIB students worked as consultants for Australia-based sustainability company Seabin. The students assisted Seabin in their efforts to expand their ocean conservation device to the United States and other parts of North America as well as South America. Wolfgang Messner, international business clinical associate professor, taught the course and imparted on the students his knowledge for international consulting.
International business clinical associate professor Wolfgang Messner’s “ consulting course taught me multiple valuable skills regarding the complexity of creating an international expansion strategy,” Fromm said. “There are so many challenges that Seabin faced in their expansion, especially due to the fact that they wanted to expand the Seabin project as a non-governmental organization (nonprofit) within the United States. It taught me to take a broad approach in terms of locating incentives and challenges that each region presented for Seabin.”
Having studied in Huningue, France; Barcelona, Spain; Frankfurt, Germany; and the United States, Fromm said that he hopes to continue learning about business fundamentals while building on his previous experiences and broadening his international background in Italy.
Fromm was able to start his first semester at Bocconi as planned in fall 2020, and then classes were moved entirely online at the end of October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He stayed in France with family for the holidays and has since returned to Italy for the spring semester.
“There is only so much you can get through reading, and I hope to instead use this degree to put into greater context my experiences abroad within an economic development strategy,” Fromm said. “It takes experience in the environment and cultures you're seeking to expand into, and this degree allows me to draw from my experience through multiple local, state and global level crises in order to strategize a plan later on. The international business aspect of the program has been very rewarding, and the more quantitative classes have allowed me to build an acumen that doesn't solely make assumptions on theory but rather helps me justify and quantify decision-making in important roles.”
Wanting to gain as many new experiences as he can, Fromm interned with Parker Poe Consulting, a government relations, economic development and site selection consulting firm in Columbia, South Carolina.
“The internship at Parker Poe Consulting gave me great insight in terms of the extensive complexity a business faces when business expanding its operations abroad,” Fromm said. “I always was interested in international business and the complexity of seeking an expansion abroad. Through Parker Poe, I was able to see behind the scenes and see projects from a domestic recruitment perspective, with socio-economic implications being key factors in recruiting multinationals to the U.S., particularly South Carolina.”
Fromm said this internship complemented the MIB program curriculum. He added that it “allowed me to really grasp the relationships needed to be built in this profession, as well as the amount of cooperation it requires from state, regional and local level economic developers and governments, consultants, firms and private contractors.”
Not hesitating to continue broadening his professional experience, Fromm spent summer 2020 working remotely as a global strategy and marketing intern with the global crop protection department of Syngenta.
“I was able to work with the [headquarters] and create a project aimed at redirecting/changing the way Syngenta went about their patenting and active ingredient protection,” he said.
Upon graduation from Bocconi University when he completes the double-degree program, Fromm said he hopes to return and work in the United States. As his career progresses, he does envision moving back to France or Switzerland as a possibility.
“Ultimately, in 10 years, I'd like to have settled in and have gotten some global development experience in a client-facing role,” he said. “I'm working now on building my analytical and interpersonal skills that will help me have a significant impact within the company and its internationalization strategy.”