Large group of people pose together for a photo. Two people in the front hold a sign that reads UF MBA
Photo by Fayth Ribeiro

UF MBA students put their skills into action while consulting with Spanish companies

The South Florida MBA students drew from their classroom experience to help inform the proposals for their Barcelona-based clients.

After more than two years of disruptions due to the pandemic, students in the UF MBA Weekend Professional South Florida program took their educational experience out of their Miramar-based classroom to the cultural capital of Spain’s Catalonia region – Barcelona.

The week-long trip included a tour of the Port of Barcelona, presentations from executives at European companies, an economic overview of the Catalonia region and the opportunity to consult with Spanish companies on their most pressing business challenges.

Nicolas Ros (MBA ’22) and his team worked with AIO Health, a third-party pharmaceuticals sales company. Ros and his fellow UF MBA classmates were asked to help the Spain-based company expand its operations into the North American market, specifically the United States.

Ros and the team met with AIO Health before arriving in Spain during which time they focused on understanding the company’s value proposition and how it could be translated into the U.S. market. After arriving in Barcelona, the team toured AIO Health facilities and got to meet and brainstorm with employees. Doing so enabled the MBA students to develop a market analysis and go-to-market strategy for the company that could help them understand the challenges and options that would be on the table if they decided to expand into North America.

For Ros, the experience was an opportunity to put his professional and UF MBA-acquired skills into action.

“Throughout the experience, our team learned how to leverage each of our skills in unique industries and positions to help AIO Health achieve its goals,” Ros said. “Being a Spanish speaker myself, I learned the value of bilingual communications in international business – serving as a translator for my classmates during some of our meetings.”

Overall, Ros gained deeper insight into the value of prioritizing life and taking breaks during the workday, a cultural mainstay in Spain.

“They understand the value of a work-life balance and made sure that we experienced that during our meetings,” Ros recalled. “One of the most interesting outcomes was the value that these breaks brought to our research. Our casual conversations during the breaks would bring down social barriers and reveal valuable insights into the owners’ previous experiences and the company’s business processes.

“This highlighted how casual conversations at work can spark innovation.”

Fayth Ribeiro (MBA ’22) and Chantel Glenn-Kendrick (MBA ’22) were paired with Domingo, a digital branding company based in Barcelona. Ribeiro, Glenn-Kendrick and their other teammates were asked to complete market research for Domingo, with the specific goal of gathering enough information about the needs of their customers as to understand their customer segment and target market and potentially launch a new business platform.

The team’s efforts validated Domingo’s business platform idea, which was a rewarding feeling for the team.“We became just as excited as them about this new venture,” Ribeiro said. “In turn, we learned a lot more about design and platform development than we knew before.”

For Glenn-Kendrick, the most valuable part of the experience was expanding her own insights into the branding and digital marketing industry as well as project management, areas which she’s interested in transitioning into in her career.

“In a perfect world, I’d be able to work in a role focused on both disciplines,” she said. “Specifically, I learned about engaging a client, identifying areas for improvement, filling resources gaps, defining outcomes and deliverables, gathering data to validate recommendations and preparing an analysis.”

Glenn-Kendrick’s takeaway from working with an international company echoed Ros’ thoughts on the importance of collaboration with coworkers.

“Establishing relationships with one’s colleagues is highly valued,” she said of Spanish work culture. “In addition to creating positive working relationships, Spanish companies pride themselves on giving their employees a true work-life balance.”

Ribeiro took that same lesson to heart, noting how the trip grew her connections with both her team and fellow classmates while in Barcelona.

“As a cohort, and as teams, this whole experience really brought us together,” she said. “A lot of us spent extra time together traveling around, some also before and after, experiencing these new things together, and that was really an awesome way to end our program. It definitely was a once in a lifetime type experience I know we will all appreciate and treasure forever.”