Trade New Zealand is working with the University of California to help New Zealand companies break into the US market.
Five teams of around 60 students from the UCLA fully-employed MBA (FEMBA) department have been in New Zealand as part of their studies looking at high-tech New Zealand companies and the markets they operate in.
Programme director Victor Tabbush says the scheme is part of a six-month-long project designed to extend the students' theoretical learning into a more practical setting.
"We first did this in 1995 working with Trade NZ in the primary produce sector but now we're looking at the high tech areas - IT, telecommunications and biotech in particular."
Tabbush says the teams spend six months looking at the sector itself in the US and then come to New Zealand to work with a company for a week, finding out about the problem of cracking the US market from the other side of the coin.
"The students learn to apply frameworks and approaches they've studied and they gain institutional knowledge about a foreign economy and about how the macro-economic system works and how the cultural differences can shape the way business is done.”
The companies gain an insight into how the US market operates and how to best fine-tune their products and approaches to access the US market.
Within the telecommunications sector there are about 10 participating companies, some of which have already entered the US market in areas like wireless applications and text messaging.
"These projects are always international. They're highly strategic and integrated in the curriculum."
Tabbush says the students will present their findings to Trade New Zealand in December. The 60 companies participating in the scheme will have exclusive access to the findings until February next year when Trade New Zealand will publish the results.