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Overseas internship through comprehensive agreement with Daikin Industries, Inc.

2019-4-24(Wed)

From March 17~31, 2019, five students from the Spanish Language Department in the School of Foreign Studies went on an internship to perform field research in Mexico.

Osaka University and Daikin Industries, Inc. have been involved in human resource development through research since concluding a comprehensive agreement in 2017. When discussing if something could be done for liberal arts students as well, the challenge of Daikin’s market share expansion was matched with the characteristics of the students in the School of Foreign Studies, which brought this project to fruition.   

The five students who participated in this program spent a day learning about Daikin’s products at their headquarters in Osaka, after which the group set off for Mexico. The team split up into four regions (Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cancun, and Monterrey), performing interviews at some 40 sites (home electronics stores, etc.) across the four regions.

The surveys had students making appointments with store representatives, visiting the stores directly, and performing interviews in Spanish. These interviews allowed the students to gather valuable information about each region, including the stores’ impressions of Daikin products, performance and price comparisons with their competitors, characteristics of the local weather, and the demand for both domestic- and corporate-use products.

They summarized the collected information in a report at the office, added data by region, challenges revealed through their interviews, future prospects and proposals to make presentations on the last day.

An individual in charge at Daikin made favorable comments, saying, “Although we’d like to focus our efforts on marketing in Central and South America as promising markets, we have not been able to hear directly from the stores to explore consumers’ product demand. In this project, we were able to gather customer feedback with help from OU students. We want to utilize the voice of these customers, a valuable asset to us, for future development. In addition to their impeccable language ability, OU students have a good knowledge of cultures and history of Mexico. They communicated with staff at local stores while including these topics into their conversations. Their final presentations also showed their ability to put together a high level report, including analysis of the collected information, establishment of challenges, and proposals for solutions to these challenges, in such a short period of time.” There was lots to be learned from this internship, both for the students and for Daikin.

Osaka University has promoted various forms of education and research through industry-university co-creation. This project, which matched career formation of liberal arts students with corporate problem solving in a highly effective way, is expected to continue and develop in the future as a new form of industry-university co-creation.

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Commemorative photos with store representatives

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