In an increasingly global economy, international experience for Indiana University MBA candidates comes from hands-on work in the field as much as the classroom. A group of students, led by Dr. Phil Powell, travel to Peru to help local entrepreneurs tackle business challenges using cutting edge business practices. The Kelley MBA GLOBASE initiative provides a unique social enterprise experience by partnering with Peruvian businesses to make a global impact.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Little by little one walks far

As I was looking for the words, las palabras, to express my experience thus far in Peru, I began to consider my journey with my teammates aka compaƱeros.

When we began our team assignment, there was a natural enthusiasm yet mild trepidation around our scope and interpretation of our clients' needs.

Yet, as we began to discover more about the client and its main product, baba de caracol, our enthusiasm and curiosity turned into productive actions like research and finally a clear plan on how we would venture to assist our small business.

At times it seemed as though our progress was slow and sometimes inexistent but as the proverb mentioned in the title implies, over time our success was evident. Each nudge toward our answer showed the distance behind us ... The planning and research done prior to coming to Peru served to be a skeleton for the work our client needed from us.

In our picture above, we have just finished listening to the client's 'story'. After the photo was taken, we enjoyed Inca colas and ceviche while getting to know our clients better. Business in Peru is much more relational and personal than my experiences in the U.S. Even though the majority of my teammates do not fully speak or understand Spanish, our communication with the clients could not have been better. Thanks to the help of genuine kindness, smiles and frequent translations from Monica - our team learned more about the client than their business. We learned about their families, origin and history of their country, Peru.

Although no business was accomplished, we accomplished the task of gaining a bit of trust and understanding. Little by little the distance of who we were and why we were there decreased ...

After lunch, we showed our clients our work thus far and were blown away by the genuine appreciation, desire to understand and need to learn more. It was humbling to be able to provide a medical doctor and his team of managers with findings based on our surveys and research. Moreover, it allowed us to see the fruit of all the research and deliberation that went into prior to coming to Peru.

Little by little one walks far ...

Although we are not 100% finished with the project, our sense of purpose is high. We are excited to go forward ...

Sorry for the length ... yet I felt the need to convey this thought fully!

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