São Paulo: September 2012


Sáo Paulo Global Immersion Weekend

Recap of the MBA@UNC Global Immersion held in Sáo Paulo, Brazil, September 13-16, 2012

MBA@UNC students, faculty and staff gathered for the fourth MBA@UNC Global Immersion in São Paulo, Brazil, in September 2012. This elective course focused on leading and managing in a high-growth environment.

The immersion featured sessions with industry leaders such as Tarek Farahat, president, Procter & Gamble, Brazil; Regio Martins of BOVESPA; Professor Renata Brito of Imbec Business School; Leandro Humberto, HR director, Dell Brazil; and UNC Kenan-Flagler alum Thiago Penido (MBA '09), strategic planning director, Grupo Serveng. In addition, UNC Kenan-Flagler professor Paul Friga taught students consulting frameworks and led them in a case study competition.

The immersion kicked off with a welcome reception. The MBA@UNC leadership team, including UNC Kenan-Flagler Dean Jim Dean, addressed the students, who traveled to Sáo Paulo from cities all over the world. UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni in São Paulo also attended the event, giving MBA@UNC students an opportunity to catch up with each another and make new connections and relationships.


The academic sessions started with BOVESPA’s Regio Martins leading a class that offered a look into Brazil’s past, present and future economic growth, including drivers and overall impact on the country’s economic and corporate environment.

Dell’s Leandro Humberto then discussed the complexities and opportunities presented by unions in Brazil and effective ways for managing talent in the country. Friga, director of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Consulting Concentrations, led a session on frameworks students can use to solve business challenges, which prepared them for Saturday's case competition.

The day concluded with a dinner during which students were broken up into case competition teams so they could begin strategizing for the following day.


On Saturday, the student teams participated in a case competition using a Procter & Gamble case study that focused on understanding and applying analytical frameworks for strategic problems in developing markets. Specifically, each team advised whether Procter & Gamble should launch a new dish detergent product in Brazil and provided research and key business insights to justify their recommendations. They presented their findings and recommendations to Farahat, Friga and Shannon McKeen, UNC Kenan-Flagler’s executive director of global corporate relations.



After deliberating, the judges selected Team Stealth-Bombers as the case-competition winner. (Congratulations to Ana-Laura Diaz, Abhishek Sanghavi, Josh Schachter, Dave Hetzel, Phil Facciolo and Sean Farrell on a job well done!) Farahat then presented the challenges and advantages in pursuing growth and innovation in Brazil.



Following a rigorous academic schedule, students, faculty and staff explored the city. Many took a trip to Ibirapuera Park, Brazil's "Central Park," and toured local museums before dinner at a Brazilian churrascaria (steakhouse).


On Sunday morning, Professor Renata Brito taught a session on sustainability in a high-growth market. She provided an overview and discussion of the ways in which Brazilian companies weigh and address sustainability and environmental issues.

Thiago Penido of Groupo Serveng led the last academic session on the options and challenges for family businesses. In a UNC Kenan-Flagler video, Penido discussed how leading his racing team by example on the track has translated into leadership in the boardroom.

To bring the immersion weekend to a close, Susan Cates and Doug Shackelford led a town hall meeting where students shared their experiences and provided feedback to MBA@UNC leadership in an open forum.


The São Paulo immersion was a great success, and we are looking forward to bringing MBA@UNC students to Chapel Hill for the final immersion of 2012. The Chapel Hill immersion will focus on personal leadership development and leading through complexity.


If you have any questions about Global Immersions or MBA@UNC, contact us on Twitter at @MBAatUNC, or email us.