Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Negocios, Cultura y Guatemala

My GLOBASE team at dinner with our client Magali

First-year MBA, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Academy

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” 
--Anais Nin, Cuban-French Author

It wasn’t until the second week of GLOBASE that I realized the true importance of culture and its implications on our consulting project with our clients in Guatemala. As professor Roberto Garcia kicked off the session on Doing Business in Latin America with the above quote, I began to recognize the critical cultural differences between the United States and Latin America. Though some of these points of difference may seem trivial, they have significant impact on the way business is done in such a unique environment.

Some of the interesting knowledge bites we learned were about social stigma, hierarchy in business, effective communication and establishing credibility. An interesting fact we found out was that most Latin Americans do not appreciate references to the United States as “America”, as they are proud to be a part of the American continents as well. That’s going to be an interesting one to watch out for, and a hard habit to break. However, since all of our GLOBASE clients are educated and well-versed with the United States culture, we should be able to find a middle ground that is functional and productive for both sides.

The various dimensions of Latin American business make it imperative for us to step into the shoes of our clients and open up our minds to be effective consultants and provide the best value to our clients. We had the pleasure of hosting our clients in Bloomington last week and also the opportunity to build a great personal relationship before diving into the details of the business case. Our team’s client, FUNDAP, was represented by Magali Garcia (unrelated to Prof. Roberto Garcia), a highly experienced manager and long-time employee of the organization. Though Magali did not speak much English, we had great support from our faculty and leadership team to help bridge the communication gap between us and make sure the information is translated in the right context.

One of the main drivers of my excitement for this project has been the fact that I have an amazing team. So far, it has been a great learning experience and a pleasure to work with Usman, Harsh, Julio and our fearless leader Megan! As we brush up on our EspaƱol, and continue to work as a true team with passion and dedication, there can only be great outcomes from our project. I have no doubt that this will be one of the best experiences in my time as a Kelley MBA student.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Twas' the Night Before Interviews

Preparing for Interviews

By Samantha Sieloff
First-year MBA, Consumer Marketing Academy

“It’s here! It’s finally here!  ….           ....          oh no, it's really here."
As I sit at my desk the night before on-campus, internship interviews begin, I can only help but feel a mixing of emotions. On the one hand, when I think about how far I’ve come since I first walked through the front doors of the Kelley School of Business last August, it absolutely baffles me. I’m only a quarter of the way through my experience and I already feel as though my self-confidence, leadership abilities and business acumen have quadrupled from when I started.

On the other hand, it’s only human to stress a little over “Did I prepare enough? Should I prepare more? What if this doesn’t go exactly as I had planned?” But as my mentor always used to say – “A little fear is a good thing.”  It keeps you motivated and unwilling to settle for your present level of achievement.

Then there are those contemplative moments between fevorously practicing my pitch and researching companies when I pause, stare off into space for a bit, and think…. “I am about to interview with some of the best CPG marketing companies in the world.  How did I get to this place?”
I owe it all to the great connections that have been established here at Kelley. As part of the Kelley culture, alumni as well as current students are willing to help in any way possible to prepare us and get us in the door at some amazing places of business. Nights, weekends – you name it; my second-year peers have moved heaven and earth to fit me into their busy schedules to do mock interviews.

And of course I owe thanks to Kelley's Graduate Career Services, who spent the entire fall setting up event after event after event, giving us exposure to these great companies. Combine that effort with on-going, group interview preparation sessions and mock interviews that they have put together for us and it makes it all the more likely that each Kelley student will be extremely successful.

So thank you to all who have helped me get this far! And to my fellow first-years interviewing in the coming weeks – I wish you the best of luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Land of opportunity – Brazil!

Daniel Hatkoff

by Juan Ignacio Jacome
2nd-Year MBA, Business Marketing Academy

All of us at business school are used to hearing different success stories of CEOs and entrepreneurs that took a chance and developed a new product or service. Most of these stories originate and develop in the United States, but thanks to IGOE (Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness) and the Latin MBAA, Kelley students had the opportunity to meet CEO Daniel Hatkoff and listen to his story about transitioning from a private equity firm in New York to a start-up in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Hatkoff went from New York to Brazil on a work assignment. Once there, he quickly realized that Brazil was a country full of business opportunities, but most importantly, it was a country he felt comfortable living in and investing time and money in. Hatkoff started to learn Portuguese, studied the Brazilian culture and began to search for ideas. After three months, Hatkoff noticed that Brazilians have a general discontent with mobile phone companies and the service they provide when a phone is damaged or broken.

His entrepreneurial spirit made Hatkoff overcome many bumps along the way and successfully launch; a site that continues to grow in the Brazilian market and is now thinking of expanding to other Latin American markets.

As part of the visit to the Kelley School of Business, Hatkoff had lunch with the Kelley MBA IGOE fellows where he answered questions in a smaller, private gathering. Later, Hatkoff also met with professors of international business and entrepreneurship.

For me, the whole experience was very special. As an IGOE fellow, I was involved in organizing the event. This gave me the opportunity to interact with Hatkoff during his stay. I saw firsthand the incredible passion and commitment he has towards his project. Listening to professors and Hatkoff interact and talk about the problems Pitzi has encountered from the start gave me a new view of what it takes to create a successful start-up.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Journey of a Leader: Small Victories

Second-year MBA, Consumer Marketing Academy

How quickly 8 months flies by.  Seems just like yesterday, I was meeting with my GLOBASE Guatemala Leadership Team for the first time last April.  We had a vague idea of what we wanted, but it seemed so far away.  Fast forward several months, and it’s awesome to think how far we’ve come.  We are in the thick of the GLOBASE leadership experience, 99% of the planning done, and now we start to execute when classes resume on January 7. Talk about pressure!

Sometimes, I know I get caught up in the weeds of planning, and it takes some personal reflection for me to realize the awesomeness of what has just happened.  And here I realize the value of small victories and celebrating those small victories.  To see something as big as GLOBASE start to come together is amazing.  It’s energizing.  It’s exciting. 

In the past 4 months, my team and I have recruited 20 enthusiastic student consultants, interviewed and selected 5 Guatemalan small/medium enterprise clients, planned a 7-week curriculum, and planned a 2-week in-country experience.  I know that a year from now, I’m not going to remember the hours of work that went into this … I’ll remember the effect that work had on the participants, on me, on my leadership team.  I’ll remember:
  • The overwhelming excitement we received from those clients that we selected to work with this year.  The smile I heard over the Skype call when I called to learn more about the client’s business.  The warm, grateful emails I receive from the client ... anxious to meet her student consulting team and to get started on the project.
  • Seeing the student participants get excited about Guatemala after they received word that they’d be participating this year.  The Facebook updates exclaiming, “Guatemala in 2013! So excited!” and the emails students sent to us letting us know how thrilled they are to participate.
  • GLOBASE Guatemala Kickoff Dinner, when we first got to share with students our vision for GG2013, when we described the 5 projects we had selected, and basically got to know each other a little better.  I thought to myself later that night, after everyone had gone home, “OMG this is happening.  It’s real!”
  •  Assembling the student teams.  Balancing the interests, fields of study, and personalities of the student participants into 5 different consulting teams was a difficult exercise but so rewarding.  Each team has a great project and complementary skills and personalities to deliver quality work.
  •  The first meeting I had with my student consulting team.  We didn’t talk about work; we chatted about school only briefly; we didn't get nervous about the upcoming semester.  Instead, we shared a beer, got to know one another a bit better, celebrated the end of a semester.
  • Leadership Team gatherings.  Most every Monday, my leadership team would get together at a neighborhood restaurant off campus to just socialize.  We knew that we were going to be spending a lot of time together over the next few months, and we will have to completely trust each other in-country, so this get-to-know-you time was invaluable to me.
These, I realize, are small victories.  But they’re important.  And they’re all a part of a big payoff that will be GLOBASE Guatemala 2013.  The planning’s done, now it’s time to execute!

Watch Megan in our "Journey of a Leader" series on YouTube.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Journey of a Leader: Values

By Kelly Giese
Kelley Staff

The best leaders know exactly what they stand for. They have a true understanding of self, with values and a clear purpose to guide them.

For Megan Kuhn, the Kelley MBA experience has helped to clarify what matters to her most, a critical step as a leader of GLOBASE Guatemala. The fourth video in our "Journey of a Leader" series captures Megan reflecting on her values before the execution phase of GLOBASE begins this semester.