Babson in Chile!
Thanksgiving dinner was a little different this year for me as I spent it nearly 5,000 miles away from home with twenty other Babson students and two professors. The fall elective abroad, Contemporary Strategic Issues in Chile, brought us to Santiago, Chile for eight days where we learned about the Chilean business environment and culture.
Before our travel, we learned about the country with a series of pre-departure classes complete with guest speakers and group presentations. Once we were there, we visited a handful of companies ranging from small to large in order to learn about the unique challenges and enablers that they face in the South American country. During our visits, we heard from executives, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and scholars who helped give us a first-hand look into the great strides the developing Chilean economy has made as it builds on democracy after years of dictatorship.
In addition to our company visits, we also got to go horseback riding up the foothills of the Andes Mountains, try authentic empanadas, taste Chilean wine, and explore the city, all while being immersed in a new culture and environment.
Out of the entire trip, a few of my favorite highlights include a visit to Antofagasta, Chile’s largest copper mining firm. During this visit, we heard directly from the corporate finance team about challenges their firm faces and what their strategies are for sustaining growth in the future given current low commodity prices. Another highlight was our visit to Kingston Vineyards where we learned about the expanding Chilean wine business and got to sample a few of their top wines over a three course dinner prepared just for our group.