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 Español, 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.

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