Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig (re.) mit Kollegen auf der Messe Eurobike.

Beckoned by the Market in South America

SHB alumnus launches hi-tech products in Brazil

Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig describes the fact that she now lives in Stuttgart at the age of 30 as nothing but a sequence of coincidences. After graduating from high school in her home country of El Salvador, she studied advertising and public relations in Pamplona, Spain. She then worked for the giant producer of consumer brands, Unilever, which sent her to Shanghai for a two-year internship. It was there that she bumped into her future husband, a German, with whom she moved to Stuttgart. A friend in Stuttgart recommended the master’s degree at the Steinbeis School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE), part of Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB). Without hesitation, she applied for the degree program. Around the same time, the Wissler Group offered a degree project to SHB. The project involved launching its products in Brazil, and Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig was the ideal candidate. After all, she speaks seven languages.

Wissler Management und Technologie GmbH is a group of companies based in Friedrichshafen and it has several subsidiaries. At first glance, the high-tech products of its companies do not look related to each other but actually, they all have something in common: carbon fiber components. For her project, Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig went to take a closer look at the Brazilian market on behalf of two of the companies. The first was altek, which develops and produces carbon nozzles used in agriculture to spray pesticides onto crops. The second was CarbonSports, which makes racing bicycles aimed at the premium segment, so they are used in races such as the Tour de France. One of the stars the SHB student has now talked shop with at a trade show is Jan Ullrich!

The project carried out by Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig was part of her degree program and the key task was to analyze the Brazilian market on behalf of both subsidiaries, altek and CarbonSports. After this, she was asked to help with the launch. It was ascertained that Brazil offered strong potential for the bicycles targeted at the premium segment: According to a forecast issued by the World Bank, by 2025 the proportion of potential customers looking for luxury products will be 18%. The CarbonSports sales strategy revolves around this target group, and the company is currently implementing this strategy.

The Master of Science in International Management runs in parallel to full-time work and it provided the young globetrotter with essential support during her project. One particularly helpful seminar for Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig was Finance Management, since it offered an opportunity to draft a business plan for the project. Of course, another important aspect was the period of study abroad, which took Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig and her co-students to “her” market of Brazil. The official program involved seminars on growth markets and intercultural management. There were also tours of international companies such as the producer of agricultural machinery New Holland. Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig decided to take part in a project-related program to complement her studies abroad, and SIBE and the partner university in Brazil (Faculdade da Indústria IEL) provided support lining up helpful contacts for this. These included regional distributors and the German international chamber of commerce AHK.

Looking at the international resume of a student like Adriana Diaz del Pinal Laidig and the developments of German SMEs – the Mittelstand firms striving to enter the international stage – they make a good match. Internationalization projects that allow German firms to recruit people from the target country, or in this case a similar culture, can also help with market entry and this has been a successful element of the program at the Steinbeis School of International Business and Entrepreneurship for years. SIBE recently started a program called Going Global, which allows companies to recruit specialists with an exact match for their requirements. The program also offers supervised business development projects, which are conducted in combination with an online degree: the M.A. in General Management/MBA (USA).


Jan Frederik Klom
Steinbeis School of International Business and Entrepreneurship at Steinbeis University (SHB) (Berlin)