Applying Business Practices Internationally
McCoy College of Business Administration works on semester-long case studies with real companies before traveling to South America for some on-the-ground learning.
This year’s partners were Austin-based company Moesel, which produces children’s clothing in Peru, and Financiera Efectiva, a Peruvian micro-loan firm. During their spring classes in San Marcos, students worked on developing solutions for issues that the companies had specified. Moesel wanted to know how they could scale up their business sustainably while still paying their workers a fair, livable wage. Meanwhile, Financiera Efectiva wanted evaluations of their new digital platform for processing client credit requests.
“In Peru, they do not have the equivalent of credit reports like in the U.S., so they use other methods for evaluating a potential client,” explains Dr. Bill Chittenden, the McCoy College’s associate dean for graduate programs. “For example, if the potential client says they own their home, Efectiva may ask them how long they have been there and what color is the house. They will then look up the house on Google Earth to see if the color matches what the potential client said.”
After spending time in the classroom coming up with ideas and strategies, the MBA cohort took their work to the stakeholders in Peru. Student Katie Lawrence shares her reflections of their time in Lima:
"With our Moesel field project, we were helping them determine issues with scalability when it came to the home-based workers in Lima. It was so interesting to see the impact Moesel had on these women’s lives, and how our field project could really benefit women. We spoke to them about different obstacles faced when creating the project and explained a few ideas we had to help. Many of our ideas they had already tried, so it was great to see their opinion of the process. When we were leaving the homes of the women, they stopped to thank us because what we were doing was providing work and an income for their families.
On our trip we also visited companies like Goodyear Tire, the American embassy, and Hunt Oil. We learned about what they do and got to see the process of how products are made. Being able to see how successful companies operate is very valuable. We got to see the security and quality measures that were in place at Goodyear, and listening to the chocolate factory owner speak about his trials and errors gave good insight into how entrepreneurship truly is.
Many of the businesses we visited opened my eyes to how modern the country of Peru was and the deep sense of pride all of these workers had for their country. We were able to see the impacts of colonization that we learned about in our course and how it has evolved into modern-day Lima. The Goodyear Tire factory was facing issues such as driving prices down to compete with foreign markets, a concept that is also seen in the United States.
I think that when anyone travels it introduces a person to new ideas, thoughts and ways of life. I would encourage anyone to push their limits of comfort and explore new places. Many people think of Peru as a third-world country but that simply is not true. In order to combat these stereotypes of other countries I would encourage a person to travel and see for yourself."