KSU students learn business strategies from Chilean and Argentinian companies

By The Mercury

A group of 14 students from the College of Business Administration at Kansas State University recently spent 13 days in South America to find out about the growing markets of Argentina and Chile.

The trip, part of the three-credit class Emerging Markets, was led by Swinder Janda, professor of marketing and Paul Edgerley chair in global business. Also accompanying the group were Chad Jackson, management instructor, and Bente Janda, academic adviser in the college.

“It’s exciting to see an increasing number of K-State students interested in broadening their horizons via study abroad. Such experiences are an integral part of educating our students in today’s world,” Swinder Janda said. “As emerging economies gain relevance, it is particularly important for business students to get exposed to such economies and understand how to succeed in such environments. To this end, this trip was a huge success.”

On the first day of the trip the group was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Stops included a visit to the U.S. Embassy to gain knowledge of Argentina’s economy and its trade relations with the United States.

Students got the chance to visit Ball Company’s Argentina plant, learn about the wine industry in Mendoza, the fifth largest wine producing region on the world, and visit Concha y Toro wineries in Chile. They visited the stock market in Santiago and went on a tour of the Estadio Alberto J. Armando in Buenos Aires, home of the Club Atletico Boca Juniors.

The students spoke with Santiago Pinto, marketing director for the Boca Juniors, who implemented strategies that have turned a 123 percent increase in revenue in three years. The strategies focused on increasing the value of the Boca Juniors brand, creating co-branding opportunities and multiple new revenue lines.

Students were also able to conduct a consumer business field study by dividing into teams and going to distinct shopping areas in the city. They made observations on the differences in consumer brands at grocery stores, shopping malls and street fairs.

“This was a great experience for students to test out their language skills and interact directly with merchants to learn more about the small businesses and culture of the Mendoza region,” Jackson said.

In Chile, the students visited Dole Chile, the largest exporter of fruit in the country. Chief financial officer, John Rojas, discussed Dole’s strategy including plans of expanding further into markets in the United States. He also shared personal experiences from his career in international business including the challenges of raising a family in a foreign country, career advancement opportunities and the value of having a network.

“We learned that in order to be successful, a company needs to take the time to get to know the culture it is going to be operating in or else they are unlikely to succeed,” said Jacqueline Spahn, a senior in accounting from Wichita.

The finance sector in Chile was a point of emphasis on the trip.

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