Chile Study Tour, Day 6 and 7 – Adventure

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in so let’s go straight into it shall we?

Day 6 and 7 were definitely tightly packed days with insightful site visits and discussion with presenters.  On Day 6, both of our classes were together for the entire day, so it was nice to have that cohesion with our group.  We abandoned our coach for that day and made our way to the site visits via metro and good ol’ fashioned walking.  We started the first few hours of the day with Telefonica, the primary telecommunications firm in the country.  The first half of the presentation went into their overall branding strategy – BRAVO! – they were undertaking.  They had different products, market segments, and they talked about the need to brand themselves as one company in order to propel themselves into the global spotlight.  As expected, fixed line communications has been on the decline for years and the mobile market is precipitiously on the rise.  Also, packaged deals like Comcast’s Triple Play were experiencing growth in recent years.  For the employees, it is a really great time to be a part of the organization, because there were so many growth opportunities for the company to explore.  Not to mention, their approach to human resources and company culture, is enthralling.  People who work for Telefonica really enjoy coming to work because of their approach to talent management, development, and innovation.  Above all, the highlight from this visit was walking to the top of the stairs and stepping out on top to the company helipad – talk about adventure!

After the adrenaline rush of being Leonardo Dicaprio and “THE KING OF THE WORLD!” and safely making our way to solid ground, we marched towards our next company visit, Codelco.  Codelco is a state owned mining company, which mainly produces copper.  Yes, I know there are ethical considerations and controversy about mining, but still  learning about operations and market opportunity is exciting!  You walk into the building and the decorations, signage, walls are coated in copper – go figure!  After an hour long presentation and learning about the copperization of products, China as a growth market,  and their efforts related to corporate social responsibility, I had the opportunity to, as a team liaison, walk up and offer a token of appreciation on behalf of Loyola University MD to the presenter.  Of course, there were many highlights on this trip, but this for me was a big ADVENTURE – see where I’m going with this here? 

Day 7 commenced with a site visit to Black and Decker, well, technically, Stanley Black and Decker.  I’m not a real, toolsy, handyman kinda guy, so it was slightly difficult to get super excited about this one, but learning about a merger in a foreign market is different than other B&D presentations I’ve heard over the course of my MBA career.  The countdown to leave Santiago for Vina Del Mar was in full swing after the site visit.  We all checked out like perfect soldiers by 12:30 and were on our way to Vina, but of course, lunch at Vina Indomita.  Indomita, located about an hour away from Santiago, was prominently located along the highway, and as were driving along the dirt road to the restaurant, I just had to pinch myself.  We walked up a ramp and all around us was picturesque scenery that you wish you could eloquently capture like Ansel Adams.  As we sat family style, all we could see through the glass windows were mountains, clear blue skies, a wide vineyard growing delicious grapes, and ultimate serenity. 

Gobbling up a delicious meal with family was only half the fun – another 45 minute drive away and we ended up in Vina Del Mar.  All of us were in awe of the waterfront hotel, greenery, and clear skies.  As soon as we got our room keys, we raced to our rooms, laid out on our balconies; a few hours later, we made our way to the terrace for some good ol’ fashioned family time.  Solid onversation, delicious wine, quality people with a side of breathtaking sunset was the perfect way to spend our first night in Vina.

Lessons learned for the day:  Adventures come in the form of choices; as graduate/professional students. we’re learning to balance our personal and professional ones at the same time.  The success of your adventures comes from what you as an individual put into them.  If you’re going to sit on the sideline, walk along the beaten path, then your adventure will be one note.  If you raise your hand, ask questions, soak up the sun, and bask in the opportunity in front of you, then well you have a memorable adventure on your hands 🙂

I’ll wrap up the last couple of days of the trip very soon with a nice reflection – trust me the last couple of days were a doozy!  

For now,  this is Ankur….

Signing off…

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