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

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.

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