Twelve students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business ventured to the South American nation of Chile for the global immersion program, Chile: Business Hub of Latin America, May 14-June 4. They gained exposure to Chilean culture and its business environment through language lessons at Universidad de Chile in Santiago, guest speakers and visits to startups, multinational businesses and more.
The program was one of three global immersion experiences hosted by the college this summer that shared a common theme of examining both Nebraska and international wineries and their business practices. Students gained insight by touring James Arthur Vineyards in Raymond, Nebraska, and they met with Ben Gordon, the managing director for Bodega Volcanes de Chile, a high-end brand of wine at Viña Undurraga, which was the first Chilean winery to export to the U.S. and now exports worldwide.
“Ben provided us with a well-rounded picture of the winery’s business model and its marketing practices, as well as gave us a great example of the intricacies of exporting. Students enjoyed touring the vineyard and asking him questions for several hours about how they have continued to innovate, expand and maintain quality since 1885,” said Rob Simon, associate professor of practice in marketing.
Students made recommendations of how Viña Undurraga could further expand their exports to the U.S. in a case study as part of their coursework. They also met with government entities and startups such as American Chamber of Commerce Chile; ProChile, a government agency promoting exports; Codelco, the state-owned copper mining company; La Bicicleta Verde (The Green Bicycle), a sustainable tourism startup; and Startup Chile, a small business incubator.
Ann Pogrebitskiy, a sophomore actuarial science and finance major from Denver, Colorado, said she and her classmates found learning how Chile’s culture and history have influenced its economy as one of the most interesting topics of the experience.
“We learned about how the military-led dictatorship of Chile, which began by a military coup supported by the U.S. in 1973, implemented free trade agreements and boosted the country’s economy. While this led to great economic growth, the regime is also known for its unprecedented persecution and human rights violations. This has impacted Chileans in numerous, grave ways and can even be seen in how they prefer to do business,” she said.
She felt the global immersion experience positively impacted her business education.
“I appreciate gaining the exposure to the Latin American business community. It is applicable no matter where you are as it provides context on how business is conducted differently worldwide,” she said.
The students who traveled to Chile included:
Nathan Clark, junior finance major, Owatonna, Minnesota
William Gadd, sophomore finance major, Crystal Lake, Illinois
Isabella Hunt, senior finance and political science major, Omaha, Nebraska
Helmuth Krische, senior business administration major, Grand Island, Nebraska
Andrew Mitchell, junior actuarial science and economics major, Maple Valley, Washington
Hannah Paxton, senior marketing and advertising and public relations major, Wakefield, Nebraska
Samuel Pearson, junior accounting and agribusiness major, Cambridge, Nebraska
Ann Pogrebitskiy, junior actuarial science and finance major, Englewood, Colorado
Michaela Schneider, senior accounting major, Springfield, Missouri
Paul Vagts, sophomore actuarial science major, Lincoln, Nebraska
Rucao Wang, senior marketing major, Suzhou, China
Kyle Young, sophomore business administration major, Council Bluffs, Iowa