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K-State Today Student Edition

February 7, 2012



Emerging markets: Business students travel to South America to learn from successful corporations

By Andy Ptacek

Swinder Janda at Walmart Argentina

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.

"One of my favorite business visits was to the Dole Fruit Company," Spahn said. "Dole implements a unique and timed strategy in order to be profitable all year around within all of the areas of the world in which they operate."

The Chilean finance sector was a point of emphasis on the trip. In Santiago, the group visited the Chilean stock market, Bolsa de Comercio. Andre Bergoeing Reid of Banco Santander Chile, the largest bank in Chile, gave a special presentation to the group on their visit. Reid, the head of strategic planning, delivered the investment pitch made just months before -- a pitch that raised $4 billion in a second offering.

All students were required to read a book related to emerging markets and articles about how to succeed in these countries and write a reflective paper. The graduate students in the class also had to work on two Harvard Business Cases related to Concha y Toro and Boca Juniors.

"The readings created a context for class discussions and for students to reflect on the observations while in Argentina and Chile," Swinder Janda said.

Students joining Spahn on the trip included:

Natalie Leiszler, master's student in business administration, Clay Center; Heather Stos, senior in marketing, Great Bend; Alyssa Badders, senior in accounting, and Alison Manthei, senior in marketing, both from Manhattan; Dane Forsberg, senior in accounting, Overland Park; Adam Setter, master's student in business administration Reading; Trista Brown, master's student in business administration, and Christopher Burrows, master's student in business administration, both from Satanta; Lauren Elder, senior in accounting, Sharon Springs; Allison Goodpasture, senior in marketing, psychology and Spanish, Stilwell; and Benjamin Robinson, master's student in business administration, Wichita.

From out of state: Carol Beck, master's student in business administration Decatur, Texas.

From out of country: Yanfei Gu, junior in marketing, Nanjing, China.

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