Award-winning essay helps SSAB to expand in China

May 31, 2013 | Alumni Global

Josefina Jie Löwgren is studying International Marketing at MDH and has been awarded a prize for the best essay in Economics by the Mälardalen Circle of the Swedish MBA Association. She has been studying how SSAB can succeed better with their expansion on the Chinese market.

Josefina Jie Löwgren has been studying the Bachelor's Programme in International Marketing at Mälardalen University, and when the time came to do her degree project she was given the opportunity to test her theoretical knowledge in practice. The steel manufacturer SSAB’s network , which complement the steel production with a network of certified workshops for repairs, needed help to look over their expansion on the Chinese market.

- Since I’ve partly studied International Marketing, and partly that I can speak Chinese and know about Chinese business culture, I was given the task of finding out what sales model would be applicable for Hardox Wearparts in China, says Josefina Jie Löwgren.

Went to China for interviews and observations

During the project Josefina, accompanied by SSAB’s Project Manager, was allowed to go to China to meet representatives of SSAB and their cooperation partners there.

- I tried to study internal factors such as transfer of knowledge and also external factors, for example how SSAB can build up a network position for Hardox Wearparts in China. I conducted interviews, read a lot of documents and also made a lot of observations. For example I could perceive numerous misunderstandings between Swedish and Chinese parties in discussions since they were not communicating in their mother tongues. My conclusion was that a franchising model would be the best suited for their expansion on the Chinese market, says Josefina.

Award-winning essay

For her work Josefina has been awarded a prize for the best essay in Economics by the Mälardalen Circle of the Swedish MBA Association. Their motivation for the award is that the essay goes to the root of the problem and gives SSAB a clear picture of how they can work with franchising and analyse their situation. Other reasons given were that the essay has both practical benefit and maintains a high academic and scientific level. The award for 5,000 SEK was presented during the Graduation Ceremony at Mälardalen University on 24 May.

- When I got to know that I was going to get the prize I was shocked at first since there are so many other good essays as well. It really is an honour and I am proud and extremely happy about the prize, but also that SSAB has been so appreciative about the essay. They have already started work on organisational changes and a marketing focus on Hardox Wearparts in China based on my conclusions, even if the road towards a franchising model will take time to develop, says Josefina.

This autumn Josefina will continue her studies at MDH by reading courses at second-cycle level. She is already planning to write a Master’s thesis for SSAB, in which she will specialise in the transfer of knowledge.