Students of EMBA 2017 had a complete makeover of their existing beliefs when they travelled to Brazil as part the “Organizations Transformation & Change Management” course. ESADE students were hosted by Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) in the two biggest Brazilian cities; São Paulo, the financial hub, and Rio de Janeiro, the Cidade Maravilhosa [wonderful city].
The events were kicked off with a city tour of São Paulo followed by a traditional Paulistana BBQ & entertainment in the evening organised by one of the Brazilian students. The hospitality continued into the next day when the cohort visited Meninos de Morumbi, a nonprofit organization that teaches dance and music to vulnerable children from underprivileged backgrounds. An extremely inspirational experience watching these young children being converted to be confident and successful adults – what a way to make a real impact in the society! The infectious energy of the kids got everyone on stage with percussion instruments and perfecting their samba moves which no doubt, came in useful later on!
There were motivational talks from highly accomplished executives covering different industries. The topics ranged from sharing life experiences and key lessons to gender equality in Brazil and importance of sustainable working in the country.
The educational trip then moved to Rio de Janeiro enriching the understanding of Brazilian culture and the demographics. Although very subtle to an outsider, the differences could be clearly seen between the two cities. Representatives from Santa Marta favela, presented the amazing work that they do for the community. It was a humbling experience and the class proactively raised funds during the presentation which was handed over to the representatives who were extremely delighted. No visit to Brazil is complete without feeling like a Carioca at Copacabana and visiting El Cristo Redentor overlooking the city and Pão de Azucar, all of which was very well organized by the university.
Organized activities, presentations and visits highlighted key challenges of doing business in Brazil with high taxes, lack of talented work force, social inequality, lack of long term planning and political uncertainty. Despite all this, Brazil has the most diverse mix of cultures that can be found anywhere in the world and is the biggest economy in the South America. It offers abundance of resources and business opportunities for anyone who is interested in a great lifestyle with amazing food, sun and most importantly the delicious caipirinhas!