By Claudia Pumarejo, Global MBA 2013-2014, Mexico
After over 20 hours of flight, we finally landed in South Africa. We cannot wait to discover this great country. For almost all of us this will be the first time that we visit here. For some people, it’s even their first time to all of Africa. Personally, I had been to Tunisia before, but never to sub-Saharan Africa.
Just a week and a half ago we were still in Singapore finalizing our academic sessions and professional activities over there. Thanks to the strategic position and unique culture of Singapore, which is a
melting pot for a big part of Asia, we were able to get a clear understanding of its context and a sense of and how business is done in that part of the world.
Now, it's time for Africa. A couple of days before the departure date I couldn't take "Waka Waka" out of my head. It is a good time to be reminded about the last World Cup in South Africa, since the countdown
is on for the next one in Brazil. In anticipation of the trip ahead, I read some websites and even watched the "Mandela" movie on the flight. The fight for freedom and equal rights for all races lead by Mandela and his party lasted for decades and was an inspiring movement.
To be honest, at the start of the program, when I first heard we were going to South Africa, I didn't quite understand the reason why. I wanted to go to South America, Eastern Europe or the Middle East. The answer came from my economist little sister. "It's so cool that you guys are going to South Africa!" she said. A friend of hers had been there for an internship and she was impressed by the speed,
simplicity and volume in which business is being done. "South Africa is often overlooked as a world class business hub. Places on other continents are talked about much more.” The truth is that South Africa is the "S" in BRICS and the largest economy in Africa (though currently fighting for the position against Nigeria). It’s just booming!
The International Immersion Projects we're going to be working on during the summer have been announced. These are projects in several areas of expertise: marketing, supply chain and distribution, business development, entrepreneurship, etc. The location of the projects goes from Santiago, Chile to Pune, India, passing across Bolivia, Switzerland, Germany and - keeping strong on the African mood - Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Rwanda. Europe, Asia, Africa, America... we're on a truly GLOBAL MBA and enjoying every second of it.
As soon as we left the airport we took our rooms at Bellvista Lodge. We were greeted by Ms. Genevieve Fillis, Coordinator for Incoming Programs at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, our host in South Africa. It is a top Business School in the country, with all three international accreditations: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA.
It didn’t take long for us to go on our first discovery trip to the Table Mountain, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and to the Waterfront, where we had dinner and enjoyed a lovely evening together. Cape Town is turning out to be much better than we expected. It is as bustling as it is laid back. There is something in the wind that makes it a very pleasant place to be.
What is waiting for us in South Africa? What is this experience going to show us? Stayed tuned!