Much More than Coffee: Valuable Access
and Strategic Insights via EMTM Trip to Brazil
Luck favored the prepared in the case of Paul Lima EMTM’03, who recently accelerated his consulting firm’s
growth strategy, in part, due to EMTM’s recent trip to Brazil.
Lima, who helped plan EMTM’s first student-organized overseas outing to Germany in 2003, understands the value of
Global Experience Program like few others. “I knew we would be visiting with C-level people at the
most important organizations in Brazil,” says Lima, principal of Lima Consulting Group, a 13-person web analytics
firm based in Conshohocken, PA.
Unlike overseas trips through other post-graduate academic programs, currently-enrolled EMTM students select the destination
country each year and, in partnership with participating alumni, also identify and contact the companies they want to visit.
“There is a level of ownership and interest that dramatically changes the nature of the experience,” says Jeffrey
Babin, academic director of EMTM’s Global Experience Program.
“The opportunity is to really experience the culture of the companies that are playing a significant role in the global
economy,” says Babin, senior lecturer for the Penn Engineering Entrepreurship Program and managing director and founder
of strategic consulting firm Antiphony Partners, LLC. “Whether someone is still enrolled in the EMTM curriculum or is a
graduate, that experience is incredibly valuable for executives.”
In late March, when interviewed for InSITE days after returning from Brazil, Lima was finalizing new consulting agreements
with two Brazilian-based multinational corporations. After the official EMTM itinerary was over, Lima held 24 meetings in Brazil
with the country’s largest Internet retailers, banks and health care services firms. He also met privately with Danilo
Saicali, former CEO of SEMCO, one of the largest firms that helps commercialize other companies in Brazil. “He oriented
me as to how to take action on the many opportunities I discovered, and how best to proceed to avoid delays and pitfalls as I
‘tropicalized’ my business,” says Lima. “I never would have had the access to get his advice without
meeting him first through the Global Experience Program.”
While Lima’s experience may not be typical or easily replicable, it does point to the strategic value of the Global
Experience Program which is clearly a draw for EMTM alumni. Of the 30 trip participants this year, six were alumni.
Participants in EMTM’s for-credit two-term Global Experience Program obtain an immersion in strategic insights about
a particular country and its role in the global economy. They gain exposure to new business strategies or new business
sectors, and also get a chance to evaluate potential new business partners or perhaps strengthen connections with colleagues
stationed overseas. Some also pursue new business development opportunities in the days before or after the scheduled EMTM itinerary.
The official Global Experience Program itinerary for March 1st through 7th included 16 companies in São Paulo and Rio de
Janeiro in the following business sectors: mining, petrochemical and energy; bio/pharma and health care; finance; information
technology; manufacturing, aerospace and defense; and media and telecommunications.
Participants had been briefed in advance of the trip on Brazil’s history, culture, economy, politics and future prospects
by Luiz Felipe Monteiro, assistant professor of management at the Wharton School, who holds a Ph.D. in Strategic and International
Management at the London Business School, a JD- equivalent degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, plus an MBA
from COPPEAD/UFRJ, Brazil.
Tulio Albuquerque EMTM’11, project manager of institutional brokerage trading at Susquehanna International Group in
Bala Cynwyd, PA, says, “We learned you need to find a local partner who is reliable, has synergies with your company,
and understands both the local bureaucracy and what it means to do business with an American company.”
Albuquerque, who lived in Brazil until he was 18, vividly recalls how people would rush to the grocery store the same day
they got paid because prices increased daily, rising sometimes 40 to 80 percent a month. He joined the trip to gather
information about the financial system in Brazil and the challenges of operating private equity firms in that country.
His company has an interest in establishing a branch in Brazil and believes that this trip may create career opportunities
in the future. “The information technology sector in Brazil is well-known for being extremely proficient due to the
technical challenges associated with several decades of hyper inflation,” says Albuquerque, whose aptitude for
translating Portuguese, was a help to colleagues on the trip.
“The information technology sector in Brazil is well known for being extremely proficient due to the technical
challenges associated with several decades of hyperinflation,” says Albuquerque, whose aptitude for translating
Portuguese, Brazil’s primary language, was a help to colleagues on the trip.
An estimated 20 to 30 million people have left poverty in the last eight years in Brazil, a transformation attributed
partly to the country’s robust commodity exports and also to recent economic and political reforms. Albuquerque
recalls how 15 years ago there were no Brazilian multinationals in the world. With EMTM, he says, “we had great
access to the top leadership among Brazil’s multinationals such as Petrobras, Vale and CPM Braxis.”
After traveling to China with EMTM in 2008, Zina Raye EMTM’10, client partner, global solutions for Verizon Business,
went to Brazil “to gain a clearer understanding of the political, social and cultural dynamics that affect business
competition in this region of the world,” she says. “Being able to see and compare the realities of two major
global markets first-hand is valuable. It was also great to meet my colleagues at Verizon Business Brazil in person.”
Insights gained from the Global Experience Program are often directly applicable stateside. “The companies we spoke
with in Brazil consistently said that foreign companies doing business there need to have a local presence,” says Lima.
“Having a local presence likewise makes sense for our new U.S. clients. Our technical staff will now perform more work
onsite with new clients during installations instead of working virtually. Having strong relationships at many levels between
clients and my staff accelerates technical integration, increases quality and shortens the time it takes to work effectively
within our clients’ organizations. Relationships are the goose that laid the golden egg in my business.”
EMTM Global Experience Program
Participants in EMTM’s Global Experience Program obtain an immersion in strategic insights about
a particular country and its role in the global economy.
The official Global Experience Program itinerary included 16 corporate and cultural organizations in São Paulo and Rio de
The Coimex Group
Janssen-Cilag Farmacêutica Ltda. (J&J)
Net Serviços de Comunicação S.A.
São Paulo Alumni Group
SOFTEX/Fundação Instituto de Administração
Instituto Butantã (Snakes’ Institute), São Paulo
Capoeira, Galpão das Artes Urbanas
Corcovado, Parque Nacional da Tujica
“I discovered how best to proceed to avoid delays and pitfalls as I ‘tropicalized’ my business.”
Paul Lima, EMTM’03
Lima Consulting Group
“Being able to see and compare the realities of two major global markets first-hand is valuable.”
Zina Raye, EMTM’10
Client Partner, Global Solutions