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.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Today, was our last Globase class here in Bloomington. All teams presented their business plan to the entire class. It was really good to see what the other groups were working on the last seven weeks. This presentation is our first "polished draft", now we are going to refine it, considering all the feedback that we received from our professors and classmates. I am really excited to present our recommendations to our client in Peru. It is such a great experience to develop a marketing plan to a real company. Definitely, Globase is giving us a real learning experience, where we ca apply the theory that we are learning here at Kelley. It is exciting to see how our business skills improved so much in such a short term period.
I was watching my fellow classmates presenting and I thought how blessed I am to be surrounded by such intelligent and nice people. I am so proud to be part of Globase. I gotta a feeling that our trip to Peru will be a transformation experience for all of us. We are building relationships that are going to last forever in our hearts. Definitely, in my opinion that's what matters in life.
I felt that the last 7 weeks passed very fast. And I really want to say thanks to my fellow teammates Chantal, Casey, Bryan and Felipe to make this project enjoyable. I am learning a lot with you guys!! I know that more working is coming and we will hammer it.
This picture is awesome! t was late in the night. And after working hard with our client Arturo from Inkasign everybody still has a big smile on their faces.

I promise that next time I will write in Portuguese to my fellow Brazilians, I miss this beautiful country. It will be also a challenge to my American friends to understand it. =)

Spicy Peruvians

Peru? Machu Pichu, Incas, Pisco Sours, and Ceviche were my first thoughts. I was not sure what to expect signing up for GLOBASE, except a trip to Lima and my first attempt at live consulting work. The past six weeks have been intense, but incredibly interesting. I have learned a great deal about Peru, my teammates, and the spice trade.

My team of five has been assigned the client PeruVerde, a paprika producer looking to enter the US market. My initial reaction to the assignment was that it did not seem any different than the cases or projects we had done to date in school. We did some basic research and prepared for our first call with Mr. Fredy Perez, the owner of PeruVerde, and on that call was when it hit me…this is beyond anything I have done in school, this is the real deal. As a team we are to help an actual small business grow and improve the livelihood of its employees; never have I been on a project where I can have such a direct impact.

Over past 6 weeks we have built a strong relationship with Fredy over the phone as well as during his visit. However, it has been an interesting dynamic, as Fredy does not speak any English and only two members of the team speak Spanish. It is amazing the amount one can learn about paprika through quick translations while on the phone with Peru; our team has been really fortunate to have Jairo and John, our two Spanish speakers.

The highlight of the project to date, was taking Fredy to Farm Restaurant in Bloomington during his visit. Along with the fried chicken, Fredy truly enjoyed the conversation we were able to arrange with head chef Daniel Orr. Chef Orr was able to give all of us insight into the paprika market from the end user’s view, which was new to all of us. This only increased Fredy’s desire to enter the US market and gave us, as a team, a better idea for getting his product into the kitchens of America.

The PeruVerde team looks forward to getting to Peru and presenting Fredy with our thoughts and plans to help his company enter the US market. Hopefully we will be successful in expanding PeruVerde’s operations and we can ride into the sunset on Alpacas.

Alpacas, Vicunas, and Guinea Pigs, Oh My!

The fauna of Peru is just one of the reasons our group is giddy at the idea of strolling along the streets of Peru munching on cuy.

Though this is how we’ll be spending our free time, there is much work to be done before heading to South America. The organization that our team of five is working with is called the APOMIPE Artisans, with our wonderful APOMIPE contact, Hernan. The network of artisans that APOMIPE works with have decided that they would like to move their sale of handicraft fabric goods from the more rustic area of Cuzco to the more central area of Lima. Though at first our assignment was broad and seemed slightly overwhelming, we were able to scale it down to make it more manageable for us and useful to our client. This was possible through our conversations with Hernan, both over the phone and in person when he was able to make his inaugural visit to the US to be with us here in little Bloomington, Indiana.

Our job is to help them find ways to best sell their products in this new business environment. In order to best do this, our team has fully leveraged our network of knowledgeable professors and resident advisors here at Kelley, gleaning information from Professor Jeff McMullen’s presentation last week, Mr. John Becker’s international business experience, Professor Roberto Garcia’s complete knowledge of everything GLOBASE and Professor Tony Gerth’s consulting expertise.

The APOMIPE Artisans are looking forward to our travels to Peru!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In The Thick of It

For our sixth class session, we were joined by Mark Cooper from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Mr. Cooper specializes in helping Indiana businesses export abroad. His experiences helped us to recognize that many U.S. businesses face the same challenges exporting that our small Peruvian businesses face trying to sell their products in the U.S. These challenges include: lack of knowledge of the end consumer, misunderstanding the importance that culture plays in business and customer behavior, inability to differentiate, and trying to make sense of all the laws, regulations and industry norms of a foreign country.

For the second half of class we split into teams to get some work done. Finding time to work on our projects has been tough, with so many activities competing for our attention. For team Inkasign, it was an eye opening moment to think that we have only 2 WEEKS LEFT until we arrive in Peru. We are in for a busy two weeks.

Sometimes projects seem so easy. That is, until you get into the thick of it. It's times like this when I have found a lot strength from my team. I can see that they are committed to the mission of GLOBASE and they are willing to stay up late and work hard to do this project the right way.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Deep Dive

What innovative ideas are we bringing to our Peruvian small business clients? What methods will be most effective for our teams to brainstorm and bring the best ideas forward?

During our most recent class, Jeff McMullen, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, took our class on a deep dive to help us answer these questions.

One of the best models for idea generation and innovation is currently being used by a Silicon Valley firm called IDEO, a global design consultancy. This company has worked on improving the design of various products, from toothbrushes to shopping carts.

Some of the key takeaways that I learned from their model are:
  1. IDEO employs a diverse staff, from various nationalities and backgrounds. These differing viewpoints allow their teams to view problems from all angles, reducing group-think.
  2. Design teams get a feel for the product they are trying to re-design. They touch it, feel it, and do some preliminary research. Once they have a good idea of the main functions, users, likes and dis-likes, they split into teams and perform more focused research.
  3. Teams bring their research together and perform a "Deep Dive". There is no holding back in an IDEO brainstorming session. If someone starts judging an idea, the manager rings a bell and puts a stop to it immediately. Putting others down for their ideas reduces everyone's willingness to share, which stifles creativity.
  4. After plenty of free-flowing brainstorming, management has to put some structure around the ideas and propel the group forward. You'll never get anywhere if you don't start moving forward. Winning ideas come from the group, they are not imposed by those with bigger titles.
I'm sure there are more lessons to be learned. Take a look at the video for yourself.

OK, so what's your point? How does this relate to GLOBASE? In many ways, we are performing the function of IDEO for our Peruvian clients. We are by no means experts on the Peruvian jewelry market or any of the other markets our clients serve. Our GLOBASE teams parachute in, survey the landscape and provide valuable advice that will help these companies achieve their goals...all within 7 weeks of class and 2 weeks in country. Blending the talents of our diverse set of students, we can combine our experience and expertise to provide innovative and game-changing ideas that will help our clients' businesses become more sustainable.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Building Relationships

As I approach the end of my MBA career, one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned at Kelley is the value of relationships. Even before we begin classes, we have opportunities to network with various companies that come to campus to recruit. It is often impossible to get an interview without some type of professional relationship with the recruiter. During my internship at Mead Johnson, I realized quickly that to obtain the information I needed to complete my summer project, I needed to form relationships with my co-workers quickly. This network was invaluable as I sought advice and mentoring over the summer and made my project successful.

During last year's GLOBASE program, we learned that relationships are even more valuable when doing business in Latin America. After teams met their company representatives face to face and were able to sit down at a relaxed three hour lunch, the information people needed to complete their projects flowed much more freely.

Over the past two weeks we have been fortunate to welcome eight Peruvian guests to Bloomington. The objective of this effort was to strengthen relationships. We not only had some great meals and productive meetings with our Peruvian company representatives, but we learned a great deal about Peru and how business is performed there. Additionally, the GLOBASE Leadership Team arranged for our guests to meet with various professors, local businesses and even the Mayor of Bloomington in order to increase their professional network. We are grateful for the time each of our friends took out of their lives to come to Indiana and look forward to building upon the relationships we have created.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Along the Way: Questions?

Ever have those times when the questions just seem to keep mounting and the answers become more elusive? I’m having one of those moments right now as part of the GLOBASE team called, “Metalic.” Team Metalic is excited to be working with a Peruvian metal working company to help them diversify their customer base and improve their sales. The project may be exciting but it’s not easy. We are in the research phase of the project and the team is tackling questions like: where are we going to get all the relevant information on customer buying habits, competitor positioning and industry outlook? More than that, how are we going to find all that information, translate it to English, put it together in cohesive way and extract insights from it in just a couple weeks? How will we balance the Globase project with the equally intensive academy project, preparations for interviews, homework for classes, club responsibilities and keeping up with the most amazing TV show, Lost? I’m honestly not sure how we will do it but I have no doubt that we will.

Time to get back to work!