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.
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.