Embrace the warmth during winter break: The Babson Miami Trek
By Ivan Apkiewicz, MBA’20
While on winter break, I participated in the Miami Trek sponsored by the Graduate Center for Career Development. This year’s Miami Trek agenda included 4 company visits, all of which have operations both in USA and Latin America with a LatAm operations hub in Miami. In addition, the group of 27 Babson MBAs had a Design Thinking Challenge with the city of Miami and alumni followed by a Networking event. This event took place over the course of two days and was an amazing experience.
Being a member of the Latin American community, I know the importance of Miami as a global business especially focused on the southern part of the continent. The attractiveness of this city is manifold including the fact that it is very different from many other American cities for its weather, culture, and even languages spoken – all things that me and my Latin American friends can relate to. Miami not only offers the friendliness of a known mix of cultures, but also an extensive offering of established possibilities and new ones for any person who wants to strive within the LatAm Market. Let me tell you more about this year’s Miami agenda, day by day.
Early in the morning we gathered at DIAGEO in Coral Gables. For those who don’t know what DIAGEO does, let me name you some of its infamous brands: Johnny Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness, and Baileys among others. Members of the DIAGEO team allowed us to sneak peak the work they do and the service they provide from their office to the rest of Latin America. As a personal consumer of the brand, let me say that it was an incredible experience.
After the session, we were invited to the bar in the office for a lunch; thankfully they delighted us with some of their most desirable products along with some unedited new launches as well.
The day continued with a break that allowed all of us to build upon our networking and strengthen the relationship of the entire group. Being out of the academic environment and spending some free time with your peers in a city like Miami, trust me, is an experience worth trying.
In the afternoon we gathered again at Babson’s Miami Campus, amid one of the most incredible neighborhoods in the city (Brickell) for the Design Thinking Challenge. To complete the scene and put a cherry on our dessert, Michael Sarasti, CIO of the City of Miami and Giovanni Castro, Deputy Chief of Staff for City of Miami Mayor, accompanied us during the whole event. Having the opportunity to present new ideas to improve entrepreneurship penetration to the CIO and Deputy Chief of Staff of Miami is one of those things that you’ll never forget. After the challenge a cocktail was served and we took the space to talk further about life in Miami, possibilities and benefits of the city.
After a long and incredible day spent we embarked on the second day. Starting with Apple. Almost everybody would love to go to Apple offices and be received like their most wanted guests. We did so. And it was un-be-lie-va-ble! We wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity if it weren’t because of this trek so the day started with a big win.
We rushed towards OnPoint Global. OnPoint is a company that, in its own words, assists, enables and empowers people to accomplish tasks and achieve goals. It’s success and growth is at sight: A beautiful office in the heart of the brand new tech hub in Miami, Little Haiti. In the precise moment that you step into the office you understand their working-culture: Open spaces, multiple small reunion rooms, incredible atmosphere and full of people working around everywhere and on everything. One thing that caught my attention from the start was how incredibly designed it was that despite being in an open space, it wasn’t loud.
The OnPoint team provided us with a great breakfast and then gave us the introduction to the company along with a tour and an explanation on what they do.
I’ve got the chance to make a follow up interview with Nicole Franco, Human Resources Coordinator, who gave me incredibly insightful answers and Burton Katz, CEO, and Sarai Jaimes, HR Manager who also were amazingly kind to answer some of my questions:
- Based on your mission and who you are, it seems like the main purpose of OnPoint Global is collecting data from owned website traffic and using that data in helping and empowering people. How do you accomplish that?
At OnPoint Global our mission is something that resonates in everything that we do. The goal of our websites is to drive consumers to certain products or services we provide. By collecting signal data through the traffic on our owned websites, we then have a better understanding about what consumers need or are looking for, and we have a better ability to serve them. We want our consumers to achieve tasks and goals that they have set up for themselves, and OnPoint to be right there to lend a helping hand. We offer products and services across a variety of sectors such as travel, government benefits, automotive, financial services, health/wellness, and more. Based on the current needs of consumers, we can provide them with solutions through the products and services we provide. In addition, we can use existing data to predict future needs that consumers may encounter and how we can be right there to help them achieve these tasks. By providing consumers with the help or guidance that they need, we are helping and empowering them to succeed.
- What value do you think that a team comprised with people from more than 10 different nationalities adds to OnPoint operations?
At OnPoint Global, we take pride in truly being a global company. Starting off with our locations, we have offices in Miami, Los Angeles, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. Our employees come from a variety of nationalities, and each bring in a fresh perspective and passion for everything that we do. By having a team that is unique and truly global, we can have global insight into the needs of consumers from all locations. Through this global perspective, we can understand how our diversity impacts our office environment where we are more inclusive, take into consideration the needs of others and use their costumes and traditions to bring them all together through different events and things we do in the office which ultimately helps us to be a more cohesive group and work better as a group.
- What do you think is the key for OnPoint success and growth?
The key for OnPoint success and growth starts with its people. Our employees are our main asset and they bring talent, hard work, and new perspectives into our day to day operations. They are the core of everything we do and why we do it and as we assist, enable, and empower people/consumers, we do the same within the organization to ensure professional growth and development of our employees to ultimately support the needs of our scaling business. Additionally, the ability to be innovative and move with urgency no matter the situation, is key for OnPoint’s growth and success. Being aspirational so that we never settle but rather growth, is paramount to us, making sure we spend time on what matters and brings more value to our consumers and the Company.
- What does OnPoint expect from its team?
OnPoint expects first, to have teams that understand the importance to be a product driven business where consumers receive maximum value. This makes us focus on the customer experience and journey where we measure all stages with daily action plans to increase value at every consumer touch point. We also expect employees to demonstrate candor and not to say something critical about a coworker, supervisor or subordinate without directly communicating the same to that individual. Additionally, we expect employees and teams to move and act with urgency to solve business problems through a daily focus on what it is important and relevant to our jobs and the Company. We also expect our teams to be bold and think large to know how their jobs can be done better and their goals can be optimally surpassed. The Company expects as well to have team members that focus on quantitative impact, take ownership and are accountable for it. Lastly, OnPoint expects everyone to not be afraid to pick up and take out the garbage. This refers to always keeping a humble attitude and doing what it takes to reach goals, whether or not we feel like it.
- What does OnPoint look for in people when interviewing new team members/prospective employees?
Our employees pride themselves in being passionate about both career and personal development. Because of this, we empower our employees to act and hustle like owners and serve as authors of our story. When interviewing candidates, we are looking for those that are problem solvers and have an entrepreneurial mindset. We are looking for new employees that are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work, be creative, be driven by data, and have fun doing what they love. Not only do we assist, enable, and empower consumers, we also assist, enable, and empower our employees to accomplish and expand their professional objectives.
Our agenda concluded with a final trek to VISA. The first impression when entering their offices is very different from what you’d expect. A modern office, with plenty of natural light and futuristic decoration gives you the impression that you are entering a true tech innovation lab. Ramiro Leon, Payment Innovator, received us in the innovation center where we had the opportunity to talk about what VISA does, how they envision their future towards tech and innovation and what are the respective strategies to accomplish their goals. During this discussion, they pointed out their efforts towards investing, accelerating, and help growing entrepreneurs disrupting the payment ecosystem; After a mind-blowing explanation of how their incubator program works, we were introduced to a panel, with Babson Alumni, who described how their day to day work impacts the entire VISA business
Overall, the Miami Trek is an experience designed for Latins but enjoyed by everyone. People from Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, USA, and Taiwan among others comprised our group, so there’s no single person who would not take advantage of this opportunity.
I highly recommend everyone who is interested in getting to know how some of the greatest companies develop their business to an entire region as well as enjoy the beautiful city of Miami to join the Trek for the upcoming years and experience it for themselves.