This blog was written prior to the Cross Continent MBA program merger with the Global Executive MBA program

Way back when I was applying to the Cross Continent MBA (CCMBA) program, I remember thinking, “Fuqua is in Europe, India, Russia, China and the Middle East, but what about Latin America?”

In fact, as someone living and working in the region, I asked that question during my admissions interview and was told that Fuqua was aware of the growing economic potential of the region and was working on expanding its footprint into Latin America. When I was admitted to the program, our residency destinations other than Durham were scheduled to be in Shanghai, New Delhi, St. Petersburg and Dubai—so it was quite a surprise when they announced a change that meant we’d be traveling to Santiago, Chile, for our third term.

With more than 80 grads in Chile and 8 students in my current class working in Latin America, Fuqua students and alumni are playing an important role in the business development of the region. Thanks to their hard work and with a glass of Carmenere in hand, I can say with certainty that Fuqua’s official entrance into the Latin American region was a smashing success!

Celebrating a successful residency on our last night in Santiago
Celebrating a successful residency on our last night in Santiago

During our 9-day residency, our Global Financial Management and Corporate Strategy classes were complemented with experiences full of local flavor. We heard from the former Mayor of Santiago and former presidential candidate, Joaquín Lavín, who shared with us his views on the political climate in Chile. Likewise a Fuqua grad and ex-pat who has been living in Chile to work in the copper mining industry shared his regional insights. One day after a long morning of classes, we were able to visit the Veramonte Winery in Casablanca, Chile, about an hour from Santiago where we toured their vineyards and wine-making facilities, tasted their premier wines and learned about their global marketing strategy.

To further enrich our Santiago experience, we heard from an American entrepreneur, Peter Murphy, who moved to Chile and began La Bicicleta Verde, an award-winning company in the tourism industry that sells culturally-oriented bike tours. Peter and his colleagues showed us around Santiago in style.

For those that hadn’t already fallen in love with this breathtaking Andean city, when our bike guides told us that the million stray dogs that follow us on the streets, called quiltros, are fed, loved and even have sweaters knitted for them in the winter by the people of Santiago, it was all over. The vibrant culture, caring people and distinguished geography of this beautiful country created a perfect home for my CCMBA class during our residency.