international management paper


You have been hired by the Executive Vice President of Global Development (EVP) Isabel Fernández Niemann of ING Groep N.V., a large Dutch Investment Banking firm out of Amsterdam as an entry-level analyst. Part of your job is to assess various global opportunities for the team and eventually to the EVP.

One of your initial tasks is to advise the EVP on her upcoming trip to Bahrain to negotiate a contract with senior managers of Bahrain Investment Bank for a potential export opportunity between the two entities. It is still rather early in the process however. Never having been to the Middle East she is uncertain how to prepare herself.

Ms. Isabel Fernández Niemann is responsible for specific-product groups, e.g., geographic regions, along with their functional areas, such as finance, operations and marketing. She works within a fairly complex Global Matrix. (The case is inspired by true, real events, but is a combination of various cases. For this midterm you are to treat it as real.)

Ms. Fernández is scheduled to initially meet with Alhi United Bank, Bahrain’s largest bank. Her key contact there is Adel A. El-Labban.

She is now asking you specifically to help her in that upcoming engagement. It is an amazing opportunity for you to interact with one of the top executives in the world; in fact, one that may well launch your international career in the company.


The EVP has already spoken with various colleagues that have travelled to the Middle East and particularly to Bahrain. These colleagues have first-hand experience in the culture. She has also done a preliminary Google search and discovered that there are too many entries with regard to Arabic culture. She has similarly learned that many cultural theories may be directly applicable. But, perhaps most importantly, what she has gleaned from this very early analysis is that “family” is critical.

From here, the EVP is attempting to find a way to organize everything into a “user-friendly” format. She is looking for a cultural model she could use to make some comparisons between Dutch and Arab societies to come to a good understanding of what she needs to know. Focusing, “of course”, on Dutch management researchers Geert Hofstede and Fons Tropenaar, the EVP would like for you to blend the “software of the mind” and the model of national cultural differences, into a cohesive working model that would compare and contrast Dutch culture with Arabic Culture, and to the extent possible, specifically Bahraini culture.

While she feels compelled to use Dutch sources for the model, she is only tangentially aware that other cultural models may exist.

In addition, Ms. Fernández would like for you to explain to her, some of the more advanced concepts that are being generated in the area of knowledge economics and in particular in the area of exporting services.

Relatively Recent Developments

In your preliminary research, you came across the following; you recognize that it may have FCPA implications.

ING Settles Financial Economic Crimes Investigation with Dutch Prosecutors

On September 4, 2017, ING Groep N.V. (ING) announced that it had entered into a settlement agreement with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service regarding a previously disclosed investigation relating to client on-boarding and prevention of financial economic crimes. According to ING’s public filings, ING agreed to pay a fine of €675 million and €100 million in disgorgement. ING reported that the investigation identified “serious shortcomings in the execution of customer due diligence policies to prevent financial economic crime” and “these shortcomings enabled customers to misuse accounts.” The shortcomings included, among others, missing or incomplete client due diligence files, assignment of incorrect risk classifications, failure to conduct periodic review, and failure to exit business relationships in a timely manner. These shortcomings “resulted in clients having been able to use their bank accounts for, inter alia, money laundering practices for a number of years.” ING also disclosed that, because of the investigation, it has initiated actions against former senior employees responsible for client due diligence and financial economic crimes. ING said that it has been cooperating with the SEC and expects to resolve this matter with the SEC without further payment or conditions.

Written Deliverable

1.You are free to present to the EVP the information requested in the manner you see fit, plus any additional information you deem appropriate and necessary for her to engage successfully in the upcoming transactions. However, she would like to know the methodology you used and the reasoning behind it.

2.She recognizes that you will probably be able to learn and identify cultural complexities and contradictions that she may face as she tries to understand the culture of her counterparts in Bahrain. She encourages you to highlight those for her in the most straightforward manner. (Include in your analysis an etic as well as an emic approach.),

3.Ms. Fernández has been monitoring current events, especially in the area of investment banking and service industries. She believes that there is a “movement” afoot in the area of economically integrated regions and their potential for business opportunities. Describe for Ms. Fernández your understanding of knowledge economics and the exportation of services.

4.How would you interpret the ING Settles Financial Economic Crimes Investigation with Dutch Prosecutors piece in relation to your analysis in No.1? Please provide a context in which Ms. Fernandez would be well advised.

5.Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in addition to the work you are delivering, she is asking you “What are the next steps, if any” that you would recommend as she continues to develop her knowledge of the Middle East. While she recognizes that you are at an entry level, and that her entire team will be assessing the upcoming trip, she has always had an outlook position of identifying early talent in her organization. (She is specifically asking you to highlight as many issues and potential resolutions as possible.)

Actual Mechanics

From a practical perspective, she is asking that you (individually) provide the information for her in a professional memorandum form, five pages maximum, double-spaced.

Please note that this work product must be delivered in the most professional manner. Extreme care should be taken as to format, proofreading, citations, etc. If a URL is used, it should be active on the electronic copy and highlighted on the hard copy. Besides the textbook, class lectures, supplemental readings and other materials presented in class, feel free to dive into specific research you may deem may separate you from the other “entry-level” employees. Here again, citation is critical.

You will be graded on your level of sophistication, analysis and organization. Careful editing is going to be necessary if you wish to convey that level of sophistication, analysis and organization.