My flight from Lima, Peru back to the US was delayed. As I was sitting at the airport in a half-sleepy state, I reflected upon everything that happened during the two weeks I spent in Peru. As part of the optional Wisconsin MBA Global Learning Experience 2019, I had the opportunity to travel there for a week with classmates and faculty/staff members.
I reached Peru a week before the course began and travelled solo across the Cusco region, including the famous Machu Picchu. Being in Cusco alone was an opportunity for reflection. I met a lot of wonderful people from different parts of the world. As we hiked, we had conversations about our cultures and ways of living, which made me realize that not everyone gets freedom to live life the way they want to. This reminded me how fortunate I was to study abroad, and have the liberty to live on my terms. Who imagined that a woman who wasn’t allowed to leave home after 6 pm for safety concerns would travel all the way from India to the US and then to South America?!
After spending a week in Cusco, I travelled to Miraflores, Lima and met my classmates. We stayed at the Hilton hotel that served amazing breakfast and had a rooftop pool with an incredible view of the ocean shore. In the next few days, we visited multiple companies including P&G, Caterpillar Inc., Accenture, GE Healthcare, and a local brewery.
The companies represented different industries and each visit offered unique insights. While Accenture visit gave me an idea about IT consulting in Peru, the Caterpillar Inc. visit enlightened me about the operational effectiveness in their workshops, strategies to maximize production while minimizing risk, and ensuring safety. It was interesting to learn that though the Ferreyros workshop did not have labor unions, they’ve established a good communication system between the workers and their supervisors.
P&G presented a business problem to us so that we could help them receive more accurate data with regard to sales. We teamed up with their employees to discuss issues concerning “bodegas” (small local grocery stores) and suggested possible solutions. I thoroughly enjoyed this interaction and the 20-course meal of Peruvian fusion food that they sponsored. The food was so delicious that we ended up eating there a second time, after our visit to GE Healthcare.
At GE, we were briefed about their business in Peru, the team structures, and their work culture. Then our assigned teams met with GE team members to focus on topics dedicated to each team. Through the course of that meeting, I learned about problems that the political scene in Peru is posing to healthcare industry. One problem was financing healthcare for lower- to middle-class Peruvians who generally kept cash and did not buy health insurance. I saw similar issues back home in India, too, and shared a few possible solutions. GE was genuinely concerned about the people in Peru and was making efforts to reach more people; the company was not looking simply to expand its market.
The companies we visited shared commonalities–they had a set of values, they cared about people, and they aligned everything with the Peruvian culture. These are some incredibly valuable things that I experienced in a span of just two weeks. I am grateful to have been a part of the MBA Global Learning Experience, and I know that there are many more life-changing times in my future.