UF MBA South Florida students Gator Chomp in Santiago, Chile. Photo by Jesse B. Wright.
UF MBA South Florida students Gator Chomp in Santiago, Chile. Photo by Jesse B. Wright.

UF MBA South Florida students use business knowledge to provide solutions to real Chilean companies’ challenges

For students in the UF MBA Professional South Florida program, traveling to and from UF’s campus in Gainesville is a step they can skip every month on their journey to earning a degree from Florida’s best MBA program. However, there is one exciting travel component to their degree: an international study tour.

View looking out over Santiago, Chile

View looking out over Santiago, Chile. Photo by Jesse B. Wright.

The destination for the Class of 2019 was Santiago, Chile, where students had the opportunity to work with real Chilean companies and suggest solutions to each company’s challenges.

Over the course of the week-long study tour, students worked in teams with six different companies, ranging from travel technology start-ups to established IT firms. Students networked with the employees of each company early on during the trip before diving into the specifics of each companies’ challenges.

JP Alvarez (MBA ’19) and the members of his team found that getting to know the staff at Rupestre, a company that sells sustainably-sourced, hand-crafted artisanal goods in the Chilean market, was a helpful experience before tackling the company’s goal of expanding into new markets.

“Spending several days with [Rupestre’s] team in Chile, understanding the company’s brand and core values was an invaluable experience,” Alvarez, Senior Regional Business Manager at NextEra Energy, said. “Our team leveraged those experiences to develop a customized strategy to help Rupestre ultimately expand to the U.S. markets.”

After getting to know the people of Sidekick, a Chilean IT firm, Jesse B. Wright (MBA ’19) and his team were able to suggest solutions based on material they learned in the UF MBA classroom.

“Partnering with Sidekick for our MBA team’s consulting project was a great learning experience,” Wright, a National Account Manager for Schindler Elevator Corporation, said. “For our assignment, Sidekick presented us with three potential business issues that they needed our help solving. Given our team’s strength in sales, marketing and IT, we chose to develop a marketing plan for the whistleblower channel website development platform.

“The project was great because we got a chance to tie in recently-learned classroom material from our marketing and economics courses along with our professional backgrounds to develop a plan to solve Sidekick’s growth needs. We are excited at the possibility of Sidekick using our marketing plan.”

UF MBA South Florida students in Santiago, Chile with the city and mountains in the background

UF MBA South Florida students in Santiago, Chile as part of their International Study Tour. Photo by Jesse B. Wright.

In addition to the advice Erika Muñoz (MBA ’19) and her team gave to TourSolutions, a travel tech startup, about how to best structure the company’s team and a marketing and sales plan, the South Florida UF MBA students provided insight that TourSolutions plans to implement immediately.

“TourSolutions is going to incorporate in Miami this month,” Muñoz, Marketing Manager at Fortune International Group, said. “Being incorporated in Miami will allow their banking to be based out of the United States, which will help their credit card processing. This was one of our first recommendations.”

Muñoz said she is eager to see how TourSolutions grows and is proud to have been able to aid a growing company.

“TourSolutions gave a lengthy presentation on their history and how they got to where they are now,” she said. “Learning how the company was conceived, started, and all of their failures and victories on the way, allowed me to wholeheartedly believe in this company. I wanted to give them the best business plan I could to help them succeed.

“The relationships that I’ve formed with the founders of TourSolutions are ones that I cherish, and I’m excited to watch the company soar!”

Interested in gaining real-world business experience that you can use to transform your career? Schedule a call with the UF MBA admissions team to learn more about the South Florida program before the July 1 application deadline.