TCU International Study Trips: Chile Part I

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The Neeley School of Business’ international study trips allow students to see business through a global lens.  With Neeley’s connections to senior executives around the world, students gain an insider look at what drives global business decisions. These trips provide behind-the-scenes access, giving students a firsthand understanding of international marketing, manufacturing, distribution and more.

Full-time MBA students have the opportunity to travel to Italy, China, Chile, South Africa or Panama. In this two-part series, we’ll talk with Ray Serzanin (MBA candidate, 2015), David Kole (MBA candidate, 2016) and Daniel Geer (MBA candidate, 2015) about their recent international study trip to Chile.

What motivated you to participate in the Chile trip as opposed to one of the other international study opportunities offered?  

“Part of it was timing, and another part was that I’ve never had a lot of chances to travel internationally,” says Geer, who grew up in South Florida and went to University of Florida for his undergraduate degree. “[The Chile trip] looked like it would be a lot of fun in addition to the cultural and educational benefits."  

Kole, who has a background in biological sciences, but hopes to transition to supply chain management, says he’d always had an interest in traveling to South America, but didn’t have a particular country in mind. “When I heard about all the things we would be doing in Chile, it was almost too good to pass up,” he says. “I also love to be in the mountains, and we got the opportunity to whitewater raft in the Andes.”

Serzanin, who comes to TCU from the U.S. Navy, joked that choosing Chile was to keep peace in the family. Since his wife was not joining him on the trip, he chose a  destination in which she had less interest. “If I was going on an abroad trip, I wouldn’t get in as much trouble for [going to Chile] as I would going to Italy,” he says, laughing. Serzanin left for South America before the other TCU students and visited Peru with a friend prior to meeting his classmates in Santiago.

How is business conducted differently in Chile compared to the United States?

Students first visited Deloitte Consulting, where they spoke to both a native Chilean and a native North American living in Chile about the differences between Chile and North America.

People in Chile are more engaged with each other, says Serzanin. “It’s not ‘go, go, go’ like in America. It was a lot more relaxed and laid-back. Not so schedule-driven, as we are here.”

Kole made similar observations. “Business seemed more personal. No matter the time crunch or importance of a meeting, they always had time to ask about each other’s families and things going on in each other’s lives,” he says.

Geer found it interesting the way retailers marketed their in-house brands. In Chile, store brands are developed as premium brands, unlike in the United States, where store brands are considered generics, he explains.

Don't miss TCU International Study Trips: Chile Part II on the TCU VOICES blog!

Interested in global study? Learn more about TCU’s global advantage and request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now.
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