Academics, Executive MBA

Brazil Global Residency – A Retrospective!

By Brett Twitty-

Members of our Executive MBA Class of 2020 recently traveled to Brazil for a week-long global residency, and we caught up a few of the travelers to learn more about the week’s activities. Check out their responses below (and the students’ photos in the gallery!). Looking for some additional globally-inspired reading? Review our coverage of our 2019s recent global residency in India

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: Global residencies are week-long global trips that are offered every three to four months in the first sixteen months of our 21-month Executive MBA Program. Executive MBA (EMBA) format students participate in one (and up to two – space permitting) of the four trips, while Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) format students participate in all four trips. For our Class of 2020, the global residency locations are Brazil (Q2), China (Q4), Western Europe (Q6) and India (Q8).  

The Brazil global residency takes place in Quarter 2 (November-December), in the first year of the program. Q2 core classes are Accounting and Leading Organizations and all global residency participants also take Global Leadership Explorations (GLE) (non-travelers take Explorations in Enterprise Leadership (EEL)).

What is the focus of the Brazil Residency?

Ladi Carr, Director, Center for Global Initiatives: During the residency, students take core classes (Accounting and Leading Organizations), and we also have activities outside of the classroom. Over the course of the week, we did a lot of team building, and we also focused on a bunch of different company profiles – from General Motors to Embraer to AES to a Brazilian football club, Corinthians. The week also featured a number of cultural activities (Corcovado, Sambadrome, Old Rio, etc.).

How did the residency enhance your overall program experience?

Brian Larsen, ’20: The residency was packed with the perfect combination of intense and rewarding cases, interesting company visits, cultural experiences, and opportunities to network and deepen friendships with fellow students. By far the most interesting an exciting component was working through a case about a real business problem faced by a Brazilian company and then immediately (literally that same day) going and visiting the actual company represented in the case. Totally surreal and incredible.

The entire program has provided countless opportunities for me to learn about real-world business and leadership issues and to be able to immediately apply them to my own business, but there is nothing that can replicate the deep immersion of a global residency. I can’t wait for the next three trips.

Audrey Hartland, ’20: I definitely learned a lot about accounting, leadership and doing business abroad, but I think I learned the most about myself. I now have a better sense of how I can handle all sorts of situations, under a variety of conditions. I was consistently impressed by my classmates’ enthusiasm and dynamism, and each meal or journey was an opportunity to build a new relationship. The residency challenged me in so many ways, and it was truly a transformational learning experience.

Geoff Kenawell, ’20: For me, the residency in Brazil elevated the Q2 subjects of Accounting and Leading Organizations to a whole new level. The material was taught with Brazil and the Brazilian economy in mind, and we were able to directly engage with the companies featured in the cases we studied. I had never been to Brazil before, and through the week’s activities, I gained an intimate understanding of the country’s business environment, and how it contrasts with the United States’. As a GEMBA format student, I can hardly believe I’ll have this opportunity three more times in three completely different locations. It’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Jimena Mateo, ’20: It was invaluable to be able to go inside several companies and learn how different businesses and industries operate in Brazil. Even though the world today is flatter and more globalized, company culture and business practices often vary, and it is important to recognize this lumpiness. The access we had to high-level managers and leaders in the manufacturing and energy industries really helped the lessons from class come to life.

Interested in learning more about global opportunities for executive format students at Darden? Listen to our recent podcast interview with Ladi Carr!