This paper examines four aspects of managerial cognition among firms, as differentiated by speed of market entry. Aspects are: risk perception, proactivity, tolerance for ambiguity and international orientation. Internationalization speed is indicated by rapidity of first market entry resulting in three groups of firms: international new ventures, traditional exporters and domestic firms. For all groups, proactivity is the basic premise for risk perception, which in turn is the key variable in relation to internationalization speed. Risk perception is the element that may prevent a firm from internationalizing at all, in a timely manner, or fast enough to capture available opportunities.