Tuesday, March 26, 2013

South Africa: A Kelley Global Emerging Market Experience

By Dalia Mitra, First-year MBA, Marketing

A large part of why I came to Kelley was their extensive international opportunities. This year I had the opportunity to do an Emerging Market Experience (EME) in South Africa after taking a seven week class covering the history, economic status and business opportunities within the country. This class and trip was planned and led by a group of second year MBAs. It provided them with more leadership experience before embarking into the real world and provided us with knowledge around an emerging market both at our desks and on the ground.

First National Bank (FNB) World Cup 2010 Stadium in Johannesburg

After reading cases, learning about the controversial history and doing group research and presentations around the wine business, eco-tourism and sports economics, our class, accompanied by two faculty members, arrived in Johannesburg to experience in person what we had learned inside the walls of  Kelley. In Jo’berg, as they affectionately call it, we were lucky to see the World Cup FNB stadium as well as meet with the ex-CEO of the 2010 World Cup and a representative from FIFA. We were also given time by Nike, who has launched a non-profit center focused on developing youth by providing a place to play football and learn about what type of opportunity was out there.

Kruger National Park, South Africa

What is a trip to South Africa without a safari? For three days, our group had the experience of a lifetime. For hours we cruised at dawn and dusk in open air safari jeeps, our eyes peeled, searching the terrain of Kruger National Park, hoping for a wild animal sighting – a giraffe, a rhino, a lion, anything. We also met with a park ranger and learned about the pricing structure, business challenges, and visitor geographic distribution. Entrance into the park for international visitors is only $30 US! Effective pricing or no?

Winery Tours in South Africa
Our next stop was a change of pace and environment. We left behind the rustic lodging at KNP and after a quick visit to Capetown, we found ourselves in Stellenbosch, the NAPA of South Africa. Endless grapevines lined the mountainsides. Our company visits were multiple wineries. We were educated around the wine making process, what South Africa specializes in and even visited one of the few Black-owned wineries to understand the opportunities that were coming forward after Apartheid.

Two weeks spent learning about a new country after studying it was an incredible experience. In between the company visits and planned activities, our schedules were sprinkled with a rugby game, trip up to Table Mountain, a visit to the Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was kept, the Apartheid museum, Nando’s chicken, all the while strengthening our personal relationships with each other and our future MBA Kelley network.
Kelley School of Business atop Table Mountain, Cape Town