Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010
IU Kelley School M.B.A. students returning to Peru with social entrepreneurship initiative
GLOBASE provides students with opportunities to gain international business experience through social enterprise projects
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 25, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Last spring, Casey Bronson experienced his "highlight" as an M.B.A. student at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business when he helped a small Peruvian apparel maker with its big exporting ambitions.
"For this company, what we brought to the table was our understanding of the U.S. market," said Bronson, a second-year student from Clinton, Utah. "There's a lot of value in bringing fresh ideas from M.B.A. students. You could tell that it breathed a lot of life and excitement into the companies that we consulted with."
In early March, Bronson will return to Peru with about 30 Master of Business Administration students at Kelley as part of the school's Global Business and Social Enterprise (GLOBASE) initiative, a social entrepreneurship consulting program that also combines international experience with leadership development.
Now in its second year, GLOBASE will enable students to complete a consulting project for four small companies and a not-for-profit enterprise in Peru. Completed as a 1.5 credit hour course, the students use class time to prepare for the experience.
Earlier this month, the companies sent their top managers to Bloomington along with representatives from the Lima Chamber of Commerce's business training program.
"What GLOBASE does for our program is not just provide an experience that furthers their education in international business, but it also is an experience that furthers their education in leadership," said Philip Powell, chair of the Kelley School's Full-time Master of Business Administration program.
"Typically in a top M.B.A. program, you'd separate the leadership education from the global education. We're going to fuse that together. That's what makes this really innovative," Powell said, adding that the M.B.A. program is taking steps to expand GLOBASE to Ghana and India next spring.
Roberto Garcia, clinical associate professor of international business and co-director of the Supply Chain and Global Management Academy, added, "Last year's GLOBASE was so successful that even before we left Lima, our Peruvian partners were asking us to plan the dates for the 2010 version. We are very pleased to be going back to continue this worthwhile effort once again."
The students, Powell, Garcia and two other Kelley faculty members will leave for two weeks in Peru on March 7. Nearly half of them speak Spanish -- the Center for International Business Education and Research in Kelley provided beginning Spanish and advanced Spanish translation at no cost. They also have worked closely with the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Lima.
Also going are Carl Briggs, clinical assistant professor of operations and decision technologies; and John Becker, an adjunct lecturer in management and entrepreneurship who also has been director of international business development at Cummins Inc.
Their business clients will be Fabricaciones Industriales Metalic, a furniture maker; PeruVerde, a food processing and trade company; Laban Inversiones, a silver jewelry business; and Inkasign, a knit garments maker. They also will do two projects for a non-profit, APOMIPE.
Bronson -- who previously lived in Peru for two years while serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- said students value gaining international business experience while helping to make the world a better place. Last year and again this year, he will work with Inkasign, which has placed some of its weaving operations within homes in small villages.
"When we went to the outskirts of Lima last year, they drove us out to one of these shops. The neighborhood where we drove to didn't have paved streets. The house where these machines were located was just bare brick with no roof," Bronson recalled. "There were six machines sitting in a room in a man's house and he would have people come and work on those machines when Inkasign provided him with orders to fulfill.
"From talking to him, seeing the conditions that he was living in, and knowing from my previous experience -- when I lived in those same areas and I walked and talked with those same people -- I understand what a struggle it can be just to put food on the table," he added. "I can see the connection of improving Inkasign's competitiveness in the marketplace, which will allow all of those machines to run and allow six people to earn enough each day to put food on the table and even save a little bit extra. I really see building sustainable businesses as key to improving the standard of living in the area.
"I definitely plan to work internationally in the future, whether that's a rotation or a permanent foreign assignment," he added. "I think that the skills that I'm gaining with GLOBASE are very applicable -- working in teams, problem solving, adapting to new cultures and working with the difficulties of communicating in different languages ... These are skills that I've developed that I can apply in any workplace."
Because of the program's success a year ago, the Kelley School also was invited by the American Chamber of Commerce in Peru to host a one-day conference in Lima on March 11 on how to do business in the United States. Powell said he also will use the trip to recruit future M.B.A. students to Kelley as part of the school's Latin American strategy.
Others can be part of the GLOBASE experience through a blog already available online at https://iuglobaseperu.blogspot.com/ and at the GLOBASE Facebook page. A film crew followed students last year and a video is available at the program's site at https://www.kelley.iu.edu/mba/academics/globase.cfm#.