Follow Notre Dame MBA students as they tour some of the most innovative and philanthropic businesses in Santiago, Chile March 5-10, 2018
Thursday, March 8
Students visit Wenco’s new plan in Paine, one of Chile’s largest plastics manufacturers and exporters that offers solutions for the industry and home. The visit began with presentations from several employees from different areas of specialty in the company. Then our group suited up in protective gear -- a hard hat, bright vest and steel-toe covers for our shoes, before being escorted through the entire facility. Photos weren’t allowed inside, but I did capture many members of the group in the safety apparel. The trip was highly educational as Wenco has grown and adapted as the demand and need for their plastic products continues to shift over the years. They use very sophisticated methods of producing their plastic products in an environmentally conscious manner.
It was an exciting journey for the group to take the funicular to the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception on San Cristóbal Hill. This is one of the principal places of worship for the Catholic Church of Chile, holding an outdoor Mass on Sunday afternoons. The statue is an icon of Santiago, Chile. It is notable in particular for a large statue of the Immaculate Conception, which is located at the summit of San Cristóbal Hill, some 863 meters above sea level. Everyone enjoyed the experience--from the visit to the statue, to the view from high atop the mountains over Santiago, to the visit to the Catholic Church, which is built into the mountain, and the funicular ride up and down the mountain. A+ for this experience!
Wednesday, March 7
This morning we visited a Chilean fruit producer, Vista Hermosa, in the Central Zone of Chile (Melipilla). Our visit consisted of a tour of both the farm and the packing plant to better understand the production and fruit export process. Vista Hermosa’s mission is to produce good quality fruit and have control of it from its harvest until it is shipped to different markets. It has given special emphasis to the care of the environment, protecting the native flora and fauna, as well as the efficient use of fertilizers and agrochemicals. There is a small church on the farm grounds available for the employees who live on the farm. We were treated to fresh pears and cherries, the latter of which is one of the farms biggest exports.
Perhaps one of the most popular visits on the Chile portion of the South American Immersion, the visit to the Undurraga Winery was outstanding. Located on some of the most beautiful grounds in Talagante, Región Metropolitana, students attended a brief presentation at the winery headquarters before getting a thorough tour of the facility, its vineyards, its grounds, and its wine barrels. After the tour, the group was treated to a wine tasting of some of Undurraga’s finest wines, which were also served at a magnificent luncheon outside on the grounds of the winery. We were treated to grilled lamb, fish, chicken and steak, along with our choice of vegetables, and of course, wine. The experience was definitely a crowd pleaser, and almost all of the students purchased some wine before departing. Undurraga has two state-of-the-art wineries and vineyards totaling over 1,100 hectares stretching across Chile allowing award winning winemaker Rafael Urrejola and his team to develop wines that express the character of each area perfectly. Undurraga is recognized worldwide for the quality of their wines which have received numerous national and international awards.
Tuesday, March 6
Morning Session 1
Established in 2008, Late! is a Chilean company that produces and markets bottled purified water. It is also the first company in Chile that implemented a model in which 100 percent of the profits are donated to nonprofit charitable foundations. As co-founder Pedro Traverso explained it, the business model for Late!--once all of the expenses necessary for the operation are covered--the resulting profit will be used entirely for specific social purposes. Between July 2009 and July 2017, Late! has donated $729,189,086 (more than $1.2 million in U.S. dollars) to nonprofits such as the San José Foundation, the Chilean Red Cross, SOS Children's Villages, Our Children Foundation, María Ayuda Foundation and Fútbol Más Foundation, among others.
Morning Session 2
Corfo is a government entity, and its Financing Deputy manager Rodrigo Frias discussed the investment climate and opportunities that exist for business entrepreneurs in Chile
The mission of Mi Parque is to improve life quality in Chilean neighborhoods in need by designing, building and activating public green areas, working along with the local community. Mi Parque has completed 289 building projects, created more than 478,216 square meters of green areas and has 31,500 volunteers. More than 471,000 people have benefited from Mi Parque’s efforts. MBA students were divided up into three groups, and each visited a successful project, which consisted of various parks in neighborhoods to the south of Santiago.
Monday, March 5
Morning Session 1
MBA students kick off their South American immersion with a presentation by Ariel Casarin, Ph.D., a professor at Adolfo Ibáñez University, one of the top rated business schools with one of the top MBA programs in the region. Casarin shared his insights about economics in Chile and geopolitical issues as Chile will swear in its new president, Sebastián Piñera, who will be serving his second term, this Sunday, March 11, 2018.
Morning Session 2
General Manager of Cumplo, Guillermo Acuña, presents on Cumplo’s innovative P2P lending model and provides an overview of Chile’s consumer lending industry. Cumplo is a Chilean crowdlending company that connects loan applicant companies with a network of investors through its online platform. Since its beginning in 2011, it has funded more than $180 million USD in loans. It is certified as a B corporation, meaning it received the private certification issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a global nonprofit organization with offices in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 2016, Cumplo started its expansion across Chile, opening offices in Puerto Montt, Rancagua, Viña del Mar and Concepción.
U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile. Visit and presentation by the U.S. Commercial Services
MBA students got special access to the U.S. Embassy in Chile where they were briefed by the Commercial Counselor, James McCarthy, about The Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, whose mission is to promote the export of U.S. goods and services to strengthen the U.S. economy and to maintain U.S. job security, and protect and advocate for U.S. businesses abroad. McCarthy shared his insights about how the Commercial Service recognizes that exporting is a critical part of ensuring a healthy future for the U.S. economy and U.S. jobs.
Before dinner, the group headed up to the Parque Metropolitano, atop Cerro San Cristóbal, to catch the best views over Santiago. It was the perfect opportunity for all kinds of photos: selfies, group shots, scenery and even frightening looking spiders.
San Cristobal, Chile
Another note about The Parque Metropolitano: it is also known for its stray dog population, which is very prominent in Chile. The dogs aren’t neglected, they are fed by locals and get regular medical care and even get clothing during winter months. Says one local “We believe dogs should be treated as they were hundreds of years ago...wild animals who aren’t caged or leashed. They simply roam the streets until they are hungry, then they come to eat wherever local residents have provided food for them.” The dogs are so in tune with Santiago, they obey stop signs ands do not bother pedestrians.
Como Agua Para Chocolate in San Cristobal, Chile. Details to Come
Dinner at Agua Para Chocolate was a delicious three-course feast of either seafood or steak and delicious Chilean wine. The atmosphere was congenial, lively and very much that of a family.