Monday, March 21, 2011

Valparaíso continued

Now that we are safely home and I have easier access to the internet (thanks, Jim, for documenting the journey back!), I wanted to post more pictures and highlights from our last full day in Chile that I wasn't able to include originally.

On our way from Santiago to Valparaíso, we got to see an agricultural region with many vineyards.

A view of the Valparaíso port, and Will, Lissa, Kyle, Annie, Olesya, and Laura waiting their turn for the boat tour.

Jon, Gabe, Kyle, Carl, and Will take an empanada break while waiting for the boat.

Kyle, Michael, Lissa, and Jon model their alpaca wool souvenirs.

Jim, Megan, Ellen, and Betsy disembarking from the boat that Ultramar had take us around the port.

The Ascensor Artillería, which we took up to the Paseo 21 de Mayo to take pictures and enjoy the gorgeous views of the city.

A view from the ascensor.
Olesya, Laura, and I in front of the breathtaking view along the Paseo 21 de Mayo.

The group taking a break before heading back down the ascensor.

La Sebastiana, Pablo Neruda's house.

An inspiring vista from the windows of La Sebastiana.

Before catching the bus back to Santiago, a group of us had dinner at Cafe Turri, a restaurant that had--yes, you guessed it--beautiful views.

The food was delicious and beautifully presented, like this sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) that I ordered.

On the way out of town, we were amazed by the sun setting over the ocean. This picture doesn't even begin to do it justice, but unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a great shot.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back Home Again in Indiana

We made it back to Indianapolis! Just a quick bus ride home, and our awesome trip will be over. We're glad to be off the plane, but sad not to be in Santiago. It will be strange not to see each other every day, but I know we will have fun sharing photos online.

Back in the U.S.

Following a beautiful free day in Santiago, a long airport check-in, a long flight, and a long immigration check, we've made it into the Atlanta airport where we've got a couple hours to wait for our final flight home.

Everyone seems pretty tired. The group is unusually quiet and people are occupying themselves with reading, email, photo sorting, and sleeping.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday and Saturday

On Friday we got up early and took a bus to Valparaíso, a very picturesque city located on the coast about two hours from Santiago. We started our day with a visit to Ultramar, a maritime company specializing in port services and logistics. We met with Carl Lessau Scheel, Branch Manager, who gave an overview of the operations of Ultramar as well as the various subsidiaries of Ultramar Group and their areas of specialization. He explained that the shipping industry plays a key role in Chile because it is a small economy but an open one in which trade with other countries is very important. After the presentation, Ultramar arranged for us to take a boat tour of the port in order to gain a better understanding of their operations.

After the boat ride, we all bought empanadas for lunch and then headed up an ascensor. We took a break to enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean and the rest of the city, take pictures, and purchase souvenirs.

Now that we had completed our business visits, we had time for a cultural visit to La Sebastiana, one of three houses that belonged to the Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. We toured the house and got to see his various eclectic collections and learn about his lifestyle.

After visiting La Sebastiana, we divided up into smaller groups and had dinner in Valparaíso before traveling back to Santiago.

Today we had free time before leaving to begin our journey home. Many of us visited museums, walked around to do more sightseeing, and/or finished our souvenir shopping.

Right now we are waiting for the bus to arrive to take us to the airport. We had a great time here in Chile and learned a lot about the culture, the economy, and the business climate. We'll be arriving home tomorrow afternoon. Adiós, Santiago-¡lo pasamos muy bien!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Last day of Santiago visits

It is really hard to believe how our time in Santiago has flown by. Today was our last day of scheduled visits here. Tomorrow we're taking a day trip to Valparaíso on the coast and then Saturday we will have some free time for sightseeing back in Santiago before heading to the airport.

Today we spent the morning and part of the afternoon at the Universidad de Chile, a public university founded in 1842 that is one of the top-ranked schools in the country. Nineteen Chilean presidents, along with the Nobel prize-winning authors Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, attended the Universidad de Chile. Specifically, we visited their business school, the Facultad de Economía y Negocios (FEN). We started with a tour led by Meredith Denton, Head of International Programs, during which we saw various facilities, such as the library and sports fields. During our visit we learned that all of the campuses of Universidad de Chile combined have approximately 25,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 graduate students, while FEN has 2000 undergraduates and 500 graduate students.

We were welcomed by Professor Erich Spencer, Director of International Affairs, who had arranged an activity for our students to work on with his students from an international business class. The students were divided into groups, each with a mix of our students and Chilean students, and they were given questions about international business and emerging markets to work on. The groups left the classroom and spread out around the building to work on their activity and get to know each other. Michael stayed to facilitate the activity with Meredith, while the rest of the trip facilitators met with Professor Spencer, Professor Javier Núñez, the program Director, and Dr. Manuel Agosin, Dean of FEN, to discuss further developing partnerships between FEN and Kelley.

In addition to working on their international business activity, the student groups discussed a wide variety of topics. Some of the Chilean students were interested in how much it costs to attend a university in the U.S. Our students wanted to hear about their personal experiences with the 2010 earthquake. While the Chilean students seemed proud of their country, some were surprised that business students would choose to take a trip to Chile and didn't seem aware of how positive the reputation of Chile's economic climate and potential for growth has become. Another topic that the students discussed was the job search process. From what Katelyn learned from her group, the internship and job search processes and the support they receive from their school is similar to the experience of Kelley students. She learned that Deloitte is one of the companies that recruits at FEN, which was particularly interesting to her because after graduation she'll be working for Deloitte in Chicago in human capital consulting. By the way, ¡feliz cumpleaños, Katelyn!

Overall, our students found spending time with the Chilean students to be a very enjoyable experience and a valuable learning opportunity. Several said that the allotted discussion time went by quickly and they wish they had more time to spend with the FEN students. Kyle expressed that he learned a lot about Chilean culture that was not covered in our business visits through talking to Chileans around his age for just a short time. Jennifer felt that it was a very positive experience and the FEN students seemed excited to meet Americans. She even said she enjoyed the environment so much that she felt like she could go back every day! She also explained that our students have been in an audience role throughout the week, so it was nice to have an opportunity to share information about their culture and their studies with Chileans during this visit. She found the more balanced ratio of Chileans to Americans, in comparison to our other visits, to be helpful for learning and cultural exchange. Andrew pointed out that the fact that he and some of the other Kelley students speak Spanish helped them to facilitate the discussion and to bond more with the Chilean students. Megan felt that having to work together on an activity really brought the students together. She said that at the beginning of the session everyone seemed somewhat uncomfortable and our students and the FEN students were hesitant to intermingle, but after the discussion activity, they were much more comfortable with each other.

After lunch and a small group reflection session, we visited Enersis, a private utility company serving Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Perú. Nicolás Donoso and María Teresa Fuentealba met with us and gave us an overview of the company. We learned that they work in both generation and distribution of electricity and that they aim to provide energy at competitive prices while being environmentally conscious. They specialize in hydroelectric power, so the weather and the environment are important factors for their business.

On the way home, a few of us decided to check out the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library), which is right across the street from our hotel. The architecture was very impressive and there were exhibits with some interesting books and other types of publications on display.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's updates from the Valparaíso trip. We're excited to get to see another part of Chile and we hope to have interesting stories and beautiful pictures of the coast to share.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ha vuelto el sol

Today, after two days of clouds, the beautiful sunny weather that welcomed us to Santiago on Sunday returned. We enjoyed the return to clear skies, but we did a good amount of walking and the sun did get quite hot at times. First, after a long metro ride followed by another 20-30 minutes of walking, we arrived at the offices of Coca-Cola in the Las Condes area. This business district has many modern office buildings and high-rise apartment buildings and more open spaces and greenery than the part of the city where our hotel is located, so it has a very different feel. It also appears that this area is not frequented by foreigners, because we drew a lot of attention as twenty-two people from the U.S. filing down the sidewalk, wearing business clothes in the hot sun.

At Coca-Cola, we attended a very thorough and informative presentation by Francisco Rocca, Senior Operations Manager. In our discussion we touched on many topics, including the marketing of different sized bottles to specific demographics, the relationship between Coca-Cola and its three bottling groups in Chile, and the recent growth in the water and juice markets. Students asked questions on a wide variety of topics, based on their individual interests and on the topics they are working on for their Emerging Economies final project. One area about which students were curious was the effects that the 2010 earthquake had on Coca-Cola. Francisco explained the damage done to bottling plants in the affected areas and the process of restoring operations. All in all, we learned a lot of new information about a brand we are very familiar with in general by delving into the specifics of Coca-Cola's presence in Chile. And a fun bonus was that we were able to help ourselves to a variety of cold Coca-Cola products. Some of us went with old favorites, while others tried products that were new to us, due to them not being available in the U.S.

After the Coca-Cola visit, we conducted our daily reflection session and then had time for a break before our next business visit. We walked to the very large and modern Parque Arauco mall, where we had lunch and had some free time to buy gifts for friends and family (or ourselves!).

After our break, we walked to our next company, Latitud 90, which specializes in outdoor education and adventure tourism. We met with Felipe Howard, one of the company's founders, who explained that their programs fall into three main categories: outdoor education for students, trips for corporate groups, and trips for traditional tourists. Felipe spoke at length about entrepreneurship and the risks and challenges that are involved. He discussed the importance of making mistakes and learning from your failures as an entrepreneur, a point that was also stressed by our hosts at Start-Up Chile and Recycla. Felipe gave specific examples from the development of Latitud 90, explaining that the company originally planned to offer adventurous travel options to Chileans that would take them to other parts of the world. However, there was not a large enough clientele interested in such trips, and so the subsequent decision was made to focus their programs on Chile, given that it is their area of expertise.

Tomorrow is our last day of business visits in Santiago, and then we are headed to Valparaíso on the coast on Friday. This week is going by too quickly!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A full day

A full day

Today was our busiest day yet, with three business visits on the agenda. Our first visit was to Recycla, a company that recycles electronics using environmentally friendly methods. Traveling to their recycling facility allowed us to see a totally different side of the city of Santiago--an area filled with industrial parks. After a brief tour of the recycling center, we had coffee with Fernando Nilo, CEO and founder of Recycla. He explained Recycla’s triple bottom line model, in which economic value is balanced with a commitment to positive environmental and social impact. The social mission of Recycla includes employment of individuals who have experienced imprisonment, which facilitates their reintegration into society. The students enjoyed learning about Recycla, as well as discussing their own business ideas and career goals with Fernando. Upon leaving, we presented him with a Kelley t-shirt and an IU hat, which, as you can see below, he couldn’t wait to put on!

The second visit of the day was to General Electric. We ate lunch and listened to a very informative presentation that began with global trends currently affecting GE and moved on to deal more specifically with GE's operations in Latin America and then the Chilean context in particular. Our hosts, Sergio Blanco, Alejandro L. Bottan, and Luis Felipe Carrillo (pictured below with the group), answered questions from the students on a wide variety of topics, including the impact of the 2010 earthquake in Chile and the recent tsunami in Japan on the energy industry.

Our final visit was to the Santiago Bolsa de Comercio (Stock Exchange), which was founded in 1893. Macarena Henriquez and Daniela Araneda Reveco provided us with an overview of what the Stock Exchange is and how it works and showed us a demonstration of the technology it employs. We concluded with a visit to the trading room floor. We learned that most brokers now choose to work from other locations, so the trading room was much quieter than most of us originally expected.

During our small group reflection later in the afternoon, Carl, Gabe, Kyle, and Lissa shared their impressions of the business visits so far. They are enjoying the fact that we have been meeting with such a broad range of types of businesses. Some of the students were struck by the pride and confidence that Chileans have in their economic success and their potential for continuing development and feel that this has been a common thread throughout our trip. The students also shared that they are grateful for the very unique opportunities that this trip is affording them, noting that generally on a visit of this length, you don’t get to have extended interactions with the locals or learn so much about the society and the economy. Additionally, the students have had positive experiences with the santiaguinos, finding them friendly and helpful, which makes them feel more welcomed into the culture and less like tourists looking in from the outside.

We ended our busy itinerary with a group dinner at Restaurant Peyo, where we were joined by Penelope Knuth, an IU alumna who lives in Chile, and her son. We enjoyed getting to know them and we’re grateful to Penelope for suggesting such a nice restaurant that we probably wouldn’t have found on our own. The food was plentiful and very tasty. Below the pictures of our group and our guests, you can see two of the delicious dishes we enjoyed, the unbelievably tender calamares and the colorful salad prominently featuring palta
(the local word for avocado—a new addition to our Spanish vocabulary for most of us). All in all, it was a busy but wonderful day!