Brazil: an excellent learning platform for MBA students from Maastricht University24 juli 2012
Rapid economic growth attracts investors
Maastricht – By Jacqueline Munnichs – Developing a targeted long-term goal, drawing inspiration from diversity, and embracing change: these were the key ingredients Brazil needed to become the sixth largest economy in the world; a feat they accomplished last year when they surpassed the UK in terms of economic strength. Maastricht University School of Business and Economics examined the underlying aspects that contributed to this development.
The economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have undergone significant growth over the last ten years, despite the myriad problems that have plagued the global economy since 2008. Last year, Brazil managed to surpass the UK as the world’s sixth largest economy. It therefore comes as no surprise that investors prefer to capitalise on these up-and-coming economies. “We view Brazil as an excellent learning platform for our MBA students,” says Sonja Zaar, director MBA Programmes & International Projects at Maastricht University. “By visiting the country they can experience what it’s like in everyday practice. As Geert Hofstede’s research reveals, Brazil is an excellent example of how cultural differences on the deepest level – the value level – make all the difference. These can best be identified in practice, where the values are more tangible.”
In Sao Paulo, MBA students from the Maastricht University School of Business and Economics followed classes at a local university, visited local and international companies, went to museums, and contributed to a social development project. “Mind-blowing,” says MBA student Harm de Laat. “Everything was so different from what I expected. The unbelievable drive these people have to get ahead. They are ambitious, enthusiastic, and set the bar high. They are always looking to the future and embracing change with a positive attitude. And changes seem to happen naturally here; a huge contrast with our own world. We tend to live in the present while they live for tomorrow. Despite the huge rift between rich and poor, this positive attitude infiltrates all levels of society: from modern business centres to the favelas, where the majority of the people are illiterate.”
Brazil aims to tackle a mountain of work in the years to come. “They will host the football world championships in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016,” Zaar explains. “Both events will be held across dozens of major cities on the east coast; cities that each boast millions of people. But there’s a serious lack of infrastructure between these big cities. And infrastructure is essential asguests will flock to the stadiums in the different cities. Everyone is pitching in however they can to connect these cities by rail, road and water. The Brazilian government has made infrastructure one of its top priorities in the years to come, but they are also looking beyond this by adding education and healthcare as other key points on the agenda.”
As director of Kabisa, a Weert-based software development company, De Laat views the trip to Brazil as more than just a personal enrichment. “A fast-growing market like this is an excellent opportunity to develop an app for the Olympics or world championships. The trip also made me realise that we tend to get stuck in fixed patterns of thinking. It’s not always easy to let go of these. I realise that I now notice different things and see things differently. The trip to Brazil has expanded my frame of reference. I think that might be the most valuable of all.”
June 2012, Limburg Onderneemt