Archive for May, 2011
We landed in Santiago, Chile on Sunday, May 22, 2011 for a weeklong field study trip as part of the SFU Beedie School of Business MBA program.
The first thing we did was travel to Casablanca Valley for a tour of Casas del Bosque, where we learned about the phenomenal growth of Chile’s wine industry in the past decade. The following morning, we met with a Trade Commissioner from the Government of Canada to learn about the economic climate in Chile. Afterwards, we had a meeting with a Canadian entrepreneur in the mining industry who described the opportunities and challenges of starting a business in the country. To finish off our day, we headed to Scotiabank for a presentation on the financial sector and banking industry – one of the most stable in the world.
The next day, we met with representatives from Johnson & Johnson and Explora Hotels – two very different companies with one being consumer goods and the other luxury travel. Their insight into the market really highlighted the similarities and differences to doing business in Canada. One key difference was the logistics involved in managing a supply chain. Chile has been described as an island with the ocean on one side and the Andes on the other. This poses significant challenges in getting product from facilities in other parts of the world and generally takes much longer than what we would expect in Canada.
Stay tuned for our adventures in the next few days!
It’s Tuesday night, and the Canucks just won the conference finals. There is a group of 15 SFU MBA students in Chile, and we’re having a blast! So far we have met with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Embassy, a junior mining company, Scotiabank, Johnson & Johnson, and explora (a luxury travel company). Tomorrow, we will be meeting with Methanex, New Balance, and Colgate-Palmolive.
One of the things I’ve learned so far is that there are unlimited opportunities here in Chile. The Chilean government has developed a program where young entrepreneurs can receive $40,000 in funding, with no equity stake, along with a work visa. For more information, you can visit their website at www.startupchile.org. Another key takeaway is that Chile is a small market relative to other countries. As a result, it is not easy to facilitate customer requirements. Often, manufactured goods for large companies such as Johnson & Johnson will have to import its products from neighbouring countries such as Argentina and Brazil. MNCs do not view their Chilean markets with much priority, and therefore, do not have plants within Chile.
We have also had the chance to do some sightseeing. Our group has traveled to the Casablanca area for some wine tasting, and we were also able to walk around Santiago and truly experience the city. We ended today by visiting the Virgin Mary, and of course an authentic Chilean dinner and lots of “Pisco Sours” and vina!
Redefining Investment Strategy Education (R.I.S.E) is the world’s largest student investment forum. Four students from the Master of Financial Risk Management program, Milton-Andres Bernal, Amy Lin, Simon Hutchison and Christine Jakshoj represented Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business at the 11th annual conference (R.I.S.E XI), held in Dayton, Ohio from March 31 to April 2, 2011.
R.I.S.E embraces the format of the World Economic Forum, annually held in Davos, Switzerland that delivers three key components: keynote sessions, learning workshops, and a student investment fund competition. It emphasizes an interactive dialogue between the students and leading business professionals who conduct panel discussions and informal presentations. With the help of many participants and sponsors, such as Merrill Lynch, BlackRock, Wall Street Journal, CFA institute, JP Morgan Chase, Bloomberg, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte & Touche LLP and more. There were more than 300 industry professionals present at the conference to share their experiences with the students.
Global-class keynote speakers and workshops
The first day of the conference was entirely devoted to the keynote speakers who discussed the markets, socially responsible investing, Federal Reserve perspective, risk management, the economy, and teamwork. Each keynote speaker was given an open floor to start the debate about the panel’s specific issue. To conclude each discussion session, the students lead the direction of each panel through a fluid exchange of ideas and questions. Read the rest of this entry »