The International Study Trip (IBST) for the 2015 EMBA was delivered in two cities: Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile. There was an alternative trip that was held in Cambridge for students who couldn’t make South America due to personal reasons. I attended the South American IBST so this is what I am writing about this month.
As the trip has now finally come to an end, I remember with nostalgia the possibilities we discovered as well as the challenges that we were nervous to encounter. Throughout the week, the group presentations were the uppermost in everyone’s mind; but now they are completed, we can all look back and appreciate our accomplishments.
We began on the morning of Sunday, 13 March, at the amazing Alvear Art Hotel, Buenos Aires and concluded on the evening of Saturday, 19 March in Santiago at the gorgeous Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Buenos Aires – Argentina
The course was opened by Dr. Othman Cole followed by Profesor Michael Kitson, who gave an overview of the week. Our organisers, Austral Group, came in to brief us on logistics and safety, and gave us tips about life in Buenos Aires. Professor Diaz Hermelo of the IAE Business School then took the floor and gave insights into the economic and political climate in Argentina. After our induction, we had a city tour of Buenos Aires and finished the day at the tango Restaurant Querandi with an optional tango show.
On Monday 14 March, we had a morning seminar “Competing in the Global Economy” with Professor Kitson. After the seminar, we rushed off to CloClo Restaurant for lunch and then visited the 3M Innovation Centre. We finished the day with dinner at Cabana Las Lilas. This was the best steak in the world and was a dinner to remember.
On Tuesday, after the morning seminar with Sally Buberman of Wormhole IT and Lisandro Brill of AX Ventures, we split into two groups and visited Saporiti and Millanel. In the evening, we were hosted at the gorgeous house of the British Ambassador to the Argentine Republic, HM Dr. John Freeman CMG.
The time in Argentina soon came to an end as we had to catch our flight to Santiago, Chile on Wednesday afternoon. This, however, was not before we visited the intriguing project site of Fundacion Energizar, a social enterprise aimed at providing renewable energy to very poor neighborhoods in the city.
Santiago – Chile
We flew for about four hours to Santiago and were received by the Austral team. We then checked into our rooms at the beautiful Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Following our breakfast on Thursday 17 March, we settled in for our “New Forms of Innovation” seminar with Professor Kitson and proceeded to the Ideas Factory for an innovation forum. After lunch, we had a session with Anthony Pansford, Managing Director of L’Oréal Chile. We then visited Chrysler had an audience with the Managing Director. That evening, we dined at Osadia Restaurant while we listened to Jose Louis Cortes, the CFO of LATAM Airlines Group.
Friday 18 March was my favourite day of the IBST. I studied Agriculture as my undergraduate degree, you can imagine my excitement seeing agribusiness in action. After our morning seminar “Future of the Global Economy” with Professor Kitson, we departed for Subsole, a fruit export company. Once there, Miguel Allamand, President of Subsole, took us through the export process for his well-bred fruits. We then had lunch at Vina Odjfell, a vineyard in the valley of Maipo. It was a great trip: lunch, talks, tours and wine tasting. Dan Odfjell, the owner of the winery, did not spare any expense to entertain us.
Saturday 19 March marked the final day of the International Business Study Trip. Teams had to put finishing touches to their group presentations and submitted them on our Virtual Learning Environment platform. At 9.30am, the presentations began. The final group’s presentation ended at about 2.10pm and Professor Kitson gave a final presentation and declared the trip closed.
After the ‘official’ end of IBST, the coaches departed the Ritz for the city tour of Santiago. We visited the La Moneda, Plaza de Armas, St. Lucia Hill and the Andes Foothills. We returned to the Ritz at about 6pm and a few groups departed for the airport while the others stayed a few more days to enjoy the sun in Santiago.
Maria C. Umoren
01 April, 2016.