Country, you visited – Brazil
College name – Escola de Administração da Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-EAESP)
Number of students in the GNAM batch – 23
Visa: No visa for Filipinos
Airfare: PHP 77000
Lodging: PHP 11000
Food: PHP 5000 (we had free lunch and snacks from the school)
Sao Paulo, Brazil was my first long-haul flight, 27.5 hours. I chose Brazil as one of my 3 options for GNAM because it is one of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries and the topic was very interesting, Development of a Global Mindset: The Challenges of an Emerging Market.
Brazil, despite being on the other side of the world, is very close to the Philippines in terms of climate, love for food, agricultural produce, hospitality, bureaucracy, unemployment and it was also previously colonized. Unlike the Philippines, not many Brazilians speak English, only 4%. In South America, Brazil is the only country who speaks Portuguese. On our way to the school we tried to speak with the locals, and we were surprised with their willingness to help despite the language barrier.
Jeitinho is the magic word to obtain favors or to get an advantage. It is an expression for the way of doing things by circumventing rules and social conventions. My experience at Sao Paulo, Brazil allowed me to relate my learnings in the MBA with the ease of doing business in Brazil and to think global. Undeniably, it is challenging to start and sustain a business in Brazil. Laws and regulations are stringent, bureaucracy is extensive, corruption is at all levels, and inflation is volatile. These dilemmas are not unique to Brazil; other countries like our very own Philippines share the same burden but at different timeline or the impact to the economy is relative to the other parts of the globe.
Words and Photos by Wheng Bongo, MBA 2017