I am currently seated at 30,000 feet and cruising towards Piura, Peru. This is the first pause my team and I have had to reflect on a hectic preparation week and the project that

awaits us. As the beginning of our in-country experience draws near, our conversations have revolved around what we hope to learn during the next five weeks in South America. I have asked my team members to jot down three things they hope to take away from this experience.

Sebastian Cavallo

  1. I think this is a perfect way to conclude the program. The opportunity to apply the knowledge I have acquired throughout the program in the field is the perfect warm-up prior to re-joining the labor force.
  2. Since I have been to Peru before, I look forward to contrasting the difference between doing business in Peru and the way it is done in the United States. It will be nice to be back in South America after my one-year absence.
  3. This project represents an opportunity of managing work relationship in a multicultural environment, which is crucial in international business – it is a particularly unique experience offered by Thunderbird.

Giacomo Paccione

1.   During this project I would like to learn about the Peruvian culture, the Peruvian people, and the country itself. This learning will allow me to build relationships and accrue experience in doing business in LATAM for my future career.

2.   I would like to learn more about the business opportunities in LATAM, as I would like to start by own consulting business in the future focused on SME’s in need of restructuring and venture capital. By being in Peru I will be able to understand which voids can be turned into opportunities.

3.   Finally, I would like to apply all of my professional experience, and MBA lessons into practice. Helping the government of Piura will be a rich and fulfilling experience. We will be implementing sustainability in an emerging market, which is aligned to the school’s mission of creating sustainable prosperity worldwide.

Griffin Kelp

  1. This project represents the perfect opportunity to apply all new Thunderbird MBA knowledge and skills in the context of an international client-facing consultancy project.
  2. While in Peru, I would like to learn more about how to effectively do business across cultures and among diverse stakeholder groups, including the government of Peru, MNC’s, local universities, and local SME’s.
  3. Like Casey, I’ve been able to spend time in Spanish-speaking countries (Mexico and Spain, primarily), yet have not been able to use business-level Spanish. I’m excited to hone interpersonal skills relevant to both the language and culture of Peru.

Casey Sutton

  1. I have studied in Chile and worked in Colombia, however, I have never had the opportunity to learn truly business-level Spanish. I look forward to the opportunity to polish my existing Spanish skills and learn a whole new set of professional terms.
  2. During preparation week, the ability to perform well in an environment of ambiguity and uncertainty was constantly emphasized. I want to learn how to effectively manage uncertainty and make good decisions with incomplete information.
  3. I am generally accustomed to working on projects with only a handful of stakeholders. In my professional experience, it was typically my client and my boss. Our TEM Lab in Piura involves an extensive list of stakeholders, who enjoy complex relationships and varying expectations. I want to learn how to effectively navigate these relationships to optimize results.

The clatter of the landing gear is sounding and a flight stewardess has just approached to inform me that we are beginning the descent to our final destination. We are all excited to begin our project and realize serious challenges lay ahead.  However, there are many opportunities for growth, both professionally and personally, and we look to return to Thunderbird as better global citizens.