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Cass Executive MBAs experience business life in Latin America

Monday, 15 March, 2010

For the fourth consecutive year, a delegation of Executive MBA students from Cass travelled to Buenos Aires in February to act as business consultants for local companies.  Buenos Aires as the centre of business, government and progressive development in Latin America, but it is also a city with a lot of traditions and the ethnic and cultural heritages of its residents has much to offer.
This year’s students worked with 10 companies and locations and companies were chosen to expose students to a wide range of business issues in such a complex economy as Argentina.  The students had the opportunity to carry out projects for the oldest law firm in Argentina, Estudio O’Farrell, and the oldest real estate agency, Inmobiliaria Bullrich, which operates in the whole of Latin America.
Traditional companies like this have assisted and acted in multiple scenarios, covering a wide area of Argentina’s history says Dr Joanna Zaleska, who led this year’s trip to Buenos Aires with Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, Associate Dean of MBA programmes. Their history and influence over the country’s evolution over three centuries is a very unique opportunity for our students to get the best insights on the economy and business environment since they are active co-participants in the fields of the legal profession, economy and national politics.
The other companies visited were very diverse and included Grupo Plaza, a transport company with 16,000 employees; Puente, a financial services firm; SMS- San Martin, an auditing and tax advisory firm; Sintec Tur, a travel agency; Ingematica, an IT company; Reynolds, a real estate agent; Danmark, dry ice blasting service; and the Danish-Argentine Chamber of Commerce (with only three employees).
Students had to investigate the underlying business challenges facing these companies and apply a range of management and business tools that they had learnt through their MBA course to provide an analysis of the problems and practical recommendations.
Students always find this trip an extraordinary learning experience says Dr Zaleska.  Cass has taken 160 Executive MBA students to Latin America over the last four years and carried out projects for 35 different companies across a variety of sectors. Some companies have invited Cass back two or three times to conduct consultancies for them.
The typical company project begins with a brief introduction to the business by senior management, followed by four days of collection of data via interviews, focus groups, tours, surveys and site visits. On Friday, after completing a fact finding process, the groups make a presentation to their clients summarising their findings. After the trip the teams have four weeks to provide a written consultancy report which is also submitted to the company.
The Cass MBA provides exciting opportunities to travel around the world as part of your studies with such destinations as Argentina, Russia, Vietnam or Poland available to students. During these consultancy trips, students study dynamic new markets and work on projects focusing on business development issues in emerging economies, different cultures and in a non-English speaking environment. 

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L-R Students Hem Mehta, Fabio Monico, Anna Godas and Damian Pearson at Estudio O'FarrellL-R Denis Ivanov, Jorgelina Capaccio (Chamber Director), Claire de Sousa and Rupert Dunbar-Rees at the Danish-Argentine Chamber of Commerce
Cass students take in some of the local Buenos Aires sights

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