testing one two

testing one two

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New website and blog address

Please join us at our new website for ongoing updates about Tuck’s global initiatives!

Our new blog locale is here.

Stay in touch!

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Tuck in Brazil 2012, part 2

Guest post by Katherine Bante T’13

March 17: After a great week in Rio de Janeiro, the Tuck Brazil trek continued on to Sao Paulo. The difference between the cities is quite striking. What Sao Paulo lacks in natural beauty, it makes up for in a booming economy, nightlife, and traffic. Our group had the opportunity to visit a variety of firms covering financial services, private equity, manufacturing, retail, and consumer products. In Sao Paulo my favorite visits included the airplane manufacturer Embraer and the sugar and ethanol producer Cosan.

Embraer operates competitively within the small commercial plane (under 150 seats), executive jet, and defense aircraft markets. While Boeing and Airbus dominate the large commercial aircraft space, Embraer has carved a niche for its planes within the small commercial aircraft market along with the Canadian manufacturer Bombardier. Nearly 80 airlines operate Embraer planes and if you’ve flown on a regional carrier in the US chances are you’ve flown on an Embraer plane. Our group had the opportunity to discuss Embraer’s current operating position, its history, and the aircraft market as well as tour the manufacturing facility. It was fascinating to learn more about how planes are assembled and how a firm like Embraer manages their complex supply chain. On the day of our visit, planes in various states of assembly for Lufthansa, Alitalia, China Southern, Azul, Ukrainian Airways, AeroMexico, and Air France could be spotted.

A key crop in the Brazilian agricultural market is sugarcane. Cosan is a major player in the sugarcane market and converts its sugarcane into both ethanol and sugar. Unlike most of the world, the majority of Brazilian vehicles have “flex” engines which allow them to utilize any combination of ethanol and traditional fuel. Consequently, the ethanol market in Brazil is quite large and has the opportunity to grow further. Interestingly, while ethanol is produced in the US, American ethanol is corn-based and its production is far less efficient than sugarcane-based ethanol. Production of corn-based ethanol has also contributed to increases in global maize prices, a major food staple for many low-income countries. Cosan has 70,000 hectors of sugar cane and has grown to operate both the upstream production of sugarcane and the downstream logistics and distribution of final sugar and ethanol products.

Our group’s company visits in Rio and Sao Paulo, along with dinners with Tuck alumni in both cities, has given me an excellent introduction to Brazil. I only hope that my future career takes me back to Brazil!

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Case Competition in Mexico City

Guest post by Matthew Grady T’13

Thursday, March 8, 2012. Having endured the manual replacement of an essential cabin-pressure valve on my Delta jet (and the accompanying 90-minute flight delay), I now find myself hurtling rapidly toward Mexico City some 35,000 feet above the Rio Grande. Waiting for me when I arrive will be a representative of IPADE Business School, who will transport me to my hotel in Polanco – the upscale Mexico City neighborhood whose streets are named after famous authors – where I will rest up before the weekend’s festivities begin tomorrow.

What a fantastic opportunity I have to take part in the IPADE Global Case Competition this weekend. As one of two representatives from Tuck, I will be placed on a case team with four other event participants representing business schools from around the world. Together, we will analyze and present our solutions to a real-world, global business problem to a panel of consulting-firm partners. This is a unique chance to refine not only my problem-solving skills, but also my ability to work cross culturally as part of a high-powered, international team. I wonder whether I’ll be matched with someone from Argentina’s IAE Business School, or maybe a representative from CEIBS in Shanghai, Telfer in Canada, Darden in the U.S., or IPADE – our host institution – in Mexico.

With technology rendering our world more compact and interconnected every day, and with globalization expected to impact our careers dramatically, the IPADE Global Case Competition provides a glimpse of our professional futures pulled forward into the present. Tuckies graduating in a global age will encounter the type of situation I’ll experience this weekend routinely in their careers – working in a non-US city on a non-US-centric problem in the context of an international team of top talent from all parts of the world. Gone are the days of being both parochial and successful in business. Cultivating a global mindset through global experiences is truly essential in today’s world. And this weekend will be great preparation for that.

Matthew Grady T'13 (in front) and his international team of MBA students at the IPADE Case Competition in Mexico.

Sunday, March 11, 2012. And what a great experience it was! Frankly, I am not sure where to begin in terms of recapping my experience: the campus was beautiful, the participants were smart and motivated, and the case provided was broad enough to be taken in a number of different directions. Our diverse team quickly realized that the case left significant room for creativity while simultaneously requiring our thoughtful and disciplined prioritization of recommendations based on rigorous analysis of the data provided.

My team was comprised of five members – three Mexicans, one Norwegian, and one American (me) (pictured above). My Mexican teammates represented both of IPADE’s campuses in Monterrey and Mexico City, and my Norwegian teammate hailed from UVA’s Darden School of Business. The team was also professionally diverse, with backgrounds ranging from banking and IT operations to consulting and business development.

The case problem required us to identify short- and long-term solutions for improving a struggling online retailer’s operating model. After comprehensively evaluating the drivers of both time- and cost-efficiency across the multiple stages of the company’s supply chain, we developed 7 key initiatives to help turn the company around. Though described relatively simply after the fact, the company’s problems were complex and we, like most of the other teams in the competition, did not complete our slide presentation for the judges until 3am on the morning it was due.

Matthew Grady T'13 (left) and Megh Umekar T'12 at the IPADE Case Competition in Mexico.

After leading off as the first formal presentation at 8:30am the next morning, we waited through the morning and early afternoon until the 2pm awards ceremony, where we would learn our fate. But our fate was good, as we were named the second place finishers out of nine teams competing! We were very proud, and I was even prouder of my Tuck colleague Megh Umekar, whose team claimed the first prize! All in all, a great case competition experience and an excellent one-two finish for Tuck!

After celebrating the conclusion of the event with champagne in one of IPADE’s several attractive reception areas (which was then followed by a lengthy nap to help recuperate from the late night of case prep the night before), many of the competition participants embarked on a cultural tour of Mexico City led by one of IPADE’s second-year students. We visited the Museum of Fine Arts and “El Zocalo” (the main square in the center of Mexico’s historic district), and had the opportunity to sample some excellent Mexican cuisine! Finally, after a mixer with IPADE students at a popular city bar, our new IPADE friends took us out for a great night of dancing at one of Mexico’s top clubs.

In sum, the IPADE Global Case Competition was a terrific experience for me both professionally and culturally! I would recommend it to any Tuckie looking to sharpen consulting skills and to build global credentials.

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Tuck in Brazil 2012

Guest post by Katherine Bante T’13.

For many, spring break at Tuck is an opportunity to take a break from classes, and winter, to travel the world. This spring break, two groups of students joined CIB-sponsored trips to Brazil and South Africa. I decided to join the Brazil trip because I had never been to Latin America, and of all the BRIC countries, I had the least exposure to Brazil. Our group includes 14 students and Tuck Accounting Professor Leslie Robinson. As with most groups of Tuck students, we bring a variety of backgrounds and experience – plus we represent five continents! As I write this blog post, we are four days into our trek, and on our way from Rio De Janeiro to Sao Paulo.

Our trip is mostly focused in Sao Paulo, where most business in Brazil is centered, but we were able to visit three companies in Rio. Of course, we also took some time to catch some sun on the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches! My favorite company visit in Rio was on our first day where we visited the Brazilian media giant Globo. Globo maintains one very popular broadcast station which is played through 122 affiliates across Brazil. Globo reaches 98% of Brazilians and broadcasts everything from sports to children’s shows. In addition to its TV station and other media holdings, Globo is most known for its telenova productions.  For those that aren’t familiar, telenovas are similar to soup operas but tend to be shorter (3-4 months) and are hugely popular in Brazil and around the world. Presently, Globo exports its telenova’s to over 100 countries. I have a particular attachment to these shows because as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, I learned the local language by watching Globo exported telenovas dubbed in Armenian.

Globo did a great job hosting our group and spent nearly four hours discussing the media sector in Brazil, Globo’s place in the market, and anticipated trends and opportunities for growth. We were also given a tour of the Globo campus which is a city of studios, sets, and offices as well as special effects, costume, makeup, and other support facilities. We rode golf carts through outdoor city sets, had an opportunity to check out new products Globo created for special effects and makeup, and walked through Globo’s set construction building. Overall it was a great opportunity to get a view of the Brazilian media sector, and have some fun.

Tuck students visit EBX in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 2012.

Our other two meetings in Rio included a visit to the oil, mining, and logistics conglomerate EBX and the global mining giant Vale. Our time in Rio wrapped up with a wonderful evening at T’13 Luis Blanco’s parents’ home. Luis and his partner Cynthia helped coordinate much of our trip and have been able to add an extra dimension to our learning about business in Brazil. Luis’ father was celebrating his birthday so our evening included a traditional Brazilian dinner, a caipirinha or two (a traditional Brazilian cocktail), poolside samba dancing, and a great view of the mountains outside Rio – a truly memorable evening for our group.

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