From January 8th to 17th, 2023, a group of 15 MBA students from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business had the opportunity to immerse themselves in a 10-day course titled “Sustainable Business Course in Ecuador.” The course is one of many Doing Business In Programs (DBI) offered by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and administered by their MBA Global Programs Office. These short, immersive courses provide students an opportunity to study abroad, explore another culture, and better understand how international businesses operate.
These students learned that to succeed in an increasingly global business climate, it is important to operate effectively in an international context. Understanding cultural sensitivities, working on international teams, and understanding international markets is key to their future success, and there is no better way to develop this critical competency than to practice it in a real-world setting.
“This Exchange Program (DBI) was challenging, exciting, eye-opening, and fulfilling. I would do it over and over again. Ecuador has my heart. Being able to experience the beautiful people and sites of Ecuador/Galapagos! Also, knowing that our project will help improve life on the Islands.”
Jenny Skedros, MBA class of 2023
Throughout the week, students immersed themselves in Quito followed by the biodiversity hotspot of the Galapagos Islands, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to learn how to build a culture of sustainability and develop a sustainable business model. Students were taught about financial, environmental, and social sustainability practices through company visits, interactive workshops, and lectures by leading Ecuadorian professors and entrepreneurs.
Students had the opportunity to visit the Galapagos Science Center (GSC), the only university science facility of its kind in Galapagos, to witness first-hand how University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Universidad San Francisco de Quito are not only conducting groundbreaking research, but using their findings to help influence policy decisions in the region.
Andrés Pazmiño, GSC Operations Director, gave a lecture highlighting the importance of technology and scientific date to inform decision making in Galapagos. “By highlighting the ongoing research that the GSC is conducting in areas such as climate change, invasive plants, water quality and food security, students had an interactive dialogue to better understand how real-time data is informing decision making in the future,” said Pazmiño.
While in Galapagos, the students also visited a solar power plant to better understand the challenges and opportunities with alternative energy on a small island and had the opportunity to of course immerse themselves with the wildlife – by taking a snorkeling trip to the iconic Kicker Rock to swim with hammerheads and other endangered wildlife.
Fantastic DBI in Ecuador! The most learning happened in the Galapagos, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I will highly recommend this for the future candidates!
Vishwanath Arvind Kadiyala, MBA class of 2023
Thanks to UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Global Programs Office and the Office of International Programs of USFQ, for making “Sustainable Business Course in Ecuador” possible.
Written by Kelly Weaver, Director of External Affairs & Communications at UNC Center for Galapagos Studies.