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Experiencing Business in Chile Firsthand

June 22, 2009



UAlbany MBA students went to Budapest, Hungary, last year.

UAlbany graduate students in the School of Business went to Budapest, Hungary, on a previous trip and kept a blog.

When traveling to Chile on business, do you:

1. Address new business associates by their first names, in an attempt to be friendly?

2. Tell a few jokes to break the ice, or remain businesslike?

3. Talk about feelings when discussing a possible business proposal, or stick to the facts?

4. Look away during a conversation with the CEOs of a company out of deference to their rank, or meet their eyes steadily to signify sincerity?

More than 30 UAlbany School of Business students in the Weekend and Evening MBA programs are studying these questions as they prepare to embark on a business and cultural immersion trip to Santiago, Chile, from July 10th to 18th.

Led by Weekend MBA Program Director Don Purdy, the trip gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Chilean business and culture. Santiago, the capital of Chile, has enjoyed roughly 20 years of steady economic development, making it a financial leader among Latin American cities.

The UAlbany contingent will be packing warm jackets, since it will be winter in Chile when they arrive.

"This trip has really been a crown jewel of the program," said Purdy. "It enables the students to acquire hands-on experience while becoming exposed to the business environment and culture of the country they're visiting in a very intimate fashion."

The UAlbany group includes international students from Haiti, Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan, and China. For many students in the UAlbany group, this will be their first trip to South America.

Purdy and Director of Campus MBA Programs Melissa Palmucci have incorporated a trip into the course each year since 2006. The class went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2006, Dublin, Ireland, in 2007, and Budapest, Hungary, in 2008. This year's students will write about their experiences on a School of Business blog

UAlbany students toured businesses in Budapest last summer.

UAlbany students toured businesses in Budapest, Hungary, last summer and will do the same in Chile.

"International study trips are an excellent way for students to learn about other cultures and understand how the business practices vary from the U.S.,” said Sanjay Putrevu, chair of the Marketing Department. “This is a unique opportunity to combine what students learn in the classroom with immersing themselves in the Chilean business experience," Putrevu said.

Steve Roudebush, a sales manager for BMI Supply in Queensbury, will be among the students headed to Chile. "This trip is a tremendous opportunity to place our first-year core MBA studies in a global context, and serves as a unique bridge to our final year of study," said Roudebush.

During the day, the UAlbany group will visit Chilean firms to learn the latest developments in the investment climate, international trade, and modern technology. Three times during the week, they will also attend evening classes taught by Putrevu.

Last year's venture to Budapest included visits to IBM, Albany Molecular Research Inc. Hungary, and Suzuki.

(Answers: 1. Do not address a Chilean by his or her first name unless invited to do so. 2. While a sense of humor is appreciated, in general, serious, businesslike behavior is expected. 3. In Chile, feelings are more important in negotiating a position than facts. 4. Maintaining eye contact is necessary to show interest and sincerity. Do not pull away from a person who is speaking quite close to you, even if it makes you uncomfortable, as this may be taken as a personal affront.) 

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