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, January 29, 2010

Getting to know Peru

Peru 101

During class 2 we took a deep dive into Peru. Denise and Rashid led a presentation that covered various topics, from Peruvian history to key industries that drive the economy. Peru was the capital of the Incan empire that spanned the west coast of South America. During the past several years, Peru has begun to rise to prominence again due to a more stable political situation and sound economic policies, including free trade agreements with the U.S. and China. Peru is a land rich in natural resources, in which minerals drive the economy. Agriculture, textiles and handcrafts are also major sectors.

Meet the Xion's

The second half of the class focused on how to adapt to new cultures. Our Faculty Advisor, Roberto Garcia, led a simulation currently used by leading international business scholars. Students volunteers role-played, with some being from the fictitious country Xion, and others being reporters looking to visit this fictitious country. The Xions had customs all of their own. They never made eye contact, the women held the power, and they never used words with more with more than two syllables. It was a challenge for the reporters to try and get an invitation from their reclusive counterparts.

While the reporters were denied invitations to Xion, the entire class was able to learn just how important cultural norms are...and how everyone perceives the world through a different lens. These differences in culture will definitely be experienced as we work to complete our consulting projects.

We are also thankful that Sofia Leon, a second year Kelley Finance MBA from Lima, wrapped up the class by explaining Peruvian cultural norms. Girls, remember that one kiss on the cheek when greeting each other is customary. Guys, a handshake and a one-armed hug will do.

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