MBA students from the IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis will travel to Brazil this month to explore its emerging economy and connections to international business.
The trip continues the Kelley Indianapolis effort to expose students in the Evening MBA program to international business culture. Since 1998, the school has offered a course that culminates with a trip to China, where MBA students consult with a Chinese firm about a business issue. However, the Brazil trip will serve as more of study tour for the 14 students making the journey.
“This trip will introduce students to Brazil, one of the most dynamic of the emerging economies. Brazil will be gaining importance in the future because of the rate of growth, the size of its population and the size of its market,” said course director Marjorie Lyles, also the OneAmerica Chair in Business Administration and a professor of international strategic management at Kelley.
Brazil is among the fastest growing economies in the world, specifically in areas of biofuels and manufacturing, two industries closely tied to the Indiana economy as well. Eli Lilly and Co. and Cummins, industry giants with headquarters in Central Indiana, also have operations in Brazil.
The group will tour several areas of the country and “in one week will get an incredible cross section of Brazil,” said Michael Horrocks, a recent Kelley Indianapolis alum and course advisor. Horrocks has worked extensively with the Brazilian banking industry and helped plan the trip with Lyles.
Other Brazilian businesses working with the Kelley group include ACCION, an entrepreneurship development firm; Natura, a cosmetics and consumer goods business with a reputation for “green” practices; Eaton Corporation, an American auto and truck parts supplier; and Copersucar, a massive sugarcane producer.
The group also will tour Porto Alegre, a city located in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande du Sol, an official sister state of Indiana. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and a city group is touring Brazil on an economic development tour next week as well.
The trip will not just be about sight-seeing for students, however. They also will be working in teams to answer important business impact questions about the Brazilian economy, including the impact of foreign firms locating there, the recent discovery of a large oil reserve, its growing but undeveloped infrastructure and the history of American firms locating in Brazil.
“When you open (students’) eyes to anything outside of Indiana and the U.S., it increases the awareness of what happens in the world and why different economic events occur,” Lyles said.
Horrocks agreed, saying his international experience has proven extremely valuable in his professional career.
“This will give them more awareness of the different leadership styles and the differences from a cultural perspective and from a management perspective,” Horrocks said.
“You can’t avoid the aspects of international business (today),” he added. “The more exposure you have to these different cultures the better awareness you will have to what it takes to operate successfully in those cultures.”
The group, consisting of MBA students at various stages of the program, will arrive in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday morning. From there, they will travel to Sao Paulo for three days before visiting Porto Alegre. With travel days, the trip will span from March 12-21.