{ Board Rooms and Beaches } – Chazen Brazil Summer Study Trip 2017

Hello. This is your correspondent reporting from Leblon beach in sunny Rio de Jienero. Our Chazen crew has been doing our best to live like Rio locals, soaking up both the beach culture and flare for life that Cariocas are known for. While we do that, here’s a quick recap of all the exciting things we’ve been doing in Brazil:

On Tuesday the 22nd, we had our marquis company visit at Embraer, the region’s largest aircraft manufacturing firm. We headed out to their manufacturing facilities outside Sao Paulo and began the visit with breakfast (cheesebread of course) and a tour of their museum. Following that, we were privileged to hear from the group CEO, the head of innovation, as well as the heads of each of their three main business units: commercial aviation, executive jets, and defense & security. Aviation is an incredibly complex business that touches nearly every area across the business world, and everyone was able to take something valuable away from those talks.

Our tour in the afternoon took us to the production lines for both commercial and executive aircraft, and a state-of-the-art paint center that uses robotics technology. In addition, we saw new warehousing tech on display alongside a service center that works 24/7 monitoring planes around the world. The visit ended with a tour of the prototype aircraft for Embraer’s new line of commercial jets. While no photos were allowed on the tour, we certainly left with a lot of mental pictures! Few understood how planes fly before our visit, but by the time we left we came a lot closer. Flying will never be the same again.

The following day, our last in Sau Paulo, we visited Itau, the country’s largest bank and one of its most respected financial institutions. We had a presentation about company culture, which Itau took an incredibly unique approach to. We also had an insightful conversation with the former CEO of 20+ years about how the bank grew to dominate the market. We also saw the sun for the first time on the trip in the afternoon.

Our lunch at Fogo de Chao, which started in Brazil before becoming ubiquitous in wealthy US areas, was one to remember. The unlimited meats in the rodizio restaurant saw many different eating strategies employed by students, but none escaped without the inevitable meat sweats. Recovery occurred over the course of a typically delayed flight to Rio, where we were going to check out its beautiful scenery, beaches, and people. First, of course, we needed to get our business game on in board rooms!

On the morning of Thursday the 24th, we boarded the bus and drove to the headquarters of Grupo Globo, the biggest media company here. We started with an in-depth presentation on their television business, which had the best-produced corporate videos we’ve seen all week. They are a force to be reckoned with in Brazil, having the vast majority of the country as their audience. Following that, we had a studio tour where we saw how the telenovelas that Globo is famous for get made! Student Bani Bahari was star struck when she learned that her teen idols Hanson were in the building filming one of Globo’s shows.

The iconic and famous Christ the Redeemer statue was next. We all did our best Jesus impressions and snapped those postcard-perfect photos that Rio is known for. Dinner, drinks, and dancing were on the menu in the evening.

On Friday, our last full day in country, we went to meet with BR Malls, the largest shopping center company in Latin America. They spoke about the opportunities and challenges in the real estate industry in Brazil. The new CEO came in the room to give his insights into the company and personal management style. Student Murali Krishnan was especially inspired by this talk.

We wound down our ‘ChAMAZEN’ trip with a lunch at Rio’s Jockey Club, our second horse club related meal of the week. With pristine weather and lovely scenery, each student shared their insights gathered in Brazil and said what they took away from the trip. A common theme was that everyone was thankful to the organizers, who worked tirelessly to ensure a seamless, productive Chazen Study Tour. We all are leaving better educated on and prepared to do business in Brazil – what more can you ask for?

It’s sad the trip is over, but before we leave, there is time for beach, beach, and beach. In fact, your correspondent needs to get out there as well to work on his tan. In just a few days it’s back to NYC, where you can expect a trip recap! Talk to you soon!

{ Cheese Bread & Business } – Chazen Brazil Summer Study Trip 2017

Reporting live from the Intercontinental Sao Paulo, this is your Brazil Summer Study Tour 2017 correspondent. It’s 4 days into the trip and we have hit peak Chazen.

The crew arrived in Sao Paulo on Thursday the 17th. Despite the cold and rainy weather, spirits were high as everyone got together the first night to kick off at the beautiful rooftop SKYE. Dinner and drinks were served at one of Sao Paulo’s best venues, with an outdoor pool and amazing view of the city. We even got to celebrate the birthday of our leader Adriana Silva! Rob Abelson manned the gin and tonic bar and served up some delicious bevvies. A fun night out at Casa Bar followed, where we danced and admired interesting cat-centric art.

On Friday the 18th, despite a small elevator mishap in the morning at the hotel, we boarded the bus for our first company visit: BRF. This vertically integrated food company were excellent hosts as they walked us through their core businesses of poultry and pork products. In the meeting, we learned about all kinds of business issues through the lens of the company, including supply chain management, M&A, company culture, and building a global business. We have three students in the chicken industry in our group, who all loved the visit, especially Matt Rosen who enjoyed the sandwiches on offer.

Lunch at a Brazilian restaurant was followed by rest at the hotel. In the evening, the hotel rewarded us for their elevator misdeeds with a free happy hour (our learnings from managerial negotiations class helped arrange this one). A wonderful dinner at the Jockey Club capped off the first full day, at that meal, like all meals, cheese bread was served.

On Saturday, we went to CCR to learn about highways and the infrastructure business at another one of Brazil’s largest companies. A hands-on tour of the control center saw the entire city welcome us on a road sign, and yours truly got to work with a world-leading paramedics team. It was quite a fascinating visit that we were fortunate to have on a weekend and once again we saw many universally applicable business problems being solved by this Brazilian firm.

In the afternoon, we were warmly welcomed at the Silva home for Feijoada (a traditional Brazilian stew) and dancing. Internationally-renowned DJ Schaff came all the way from New York to perform.

As we enjoyed our free day on Sunday, we were prepping for the upcoming week’s company visits with eager anticipation. That and of course getting together to watch the awesome Game of Thrones episode. Zombie dragon OMG!

Leading finally to today’s excellent meetings with Vinci Partners, the country’s leading PE/Asset Management firm, and Monashees, the leading VC shop. At Vinci, two partners spoke to us about the PE environment here and some of the challenges and opportunities they’ve faced during Brazil’s volatile macro environment the past several years. One interesting deal they highlighted was their acquisition of the master franchise rights to Burger King in Brazil and how they’ve created value in ways unique to the market.

At Monashees, two senior executives spoke at length about the tech sector, and how the firm has leveraged their market-leading position to connect with other VC’s abroad in Silicon Valley and China. One of their portfolio companies, Magnetis, gave an excellent presentation on how they’ve become a leading player in the fintech space as a robo-advisor.

A key takeaway thus far from looking at a diverse range of companies and industries is that the Brazilian economy is truly starting to emerge from a deep recession. For those in the right position, that is leading to many opportunities in the 9th largest economy in the world. We are looking forward to better weather for the rest of the trip, and have some very exciting visits planned for the remainder of the week.

This is your correspondent signing off for now. Until next time Chazen fans!

Pre-Trip Post: Chazen Brazil Summer Study Tour 2017

brazil flag

As summer comes to a close, the J Term is saying goodbye to their first year and Fall Term internships are ending. Accordingly, Morningside Heights is buzzing, with “what are you doing on break?” the most heard question in halls from Uris to Warren. For 22 lucky students from the class of 2018, our answer is: Brazil.

Later this week we will be saying “bom dia” to the colorful cities of São Paulo and Rio as part of the Chazen Brazil Summer Study Tour 2017. We will be learning about Brazilian business and culture in the most hands-on manner possible.

On August 2, students and faculty met to prepare for the trip. This pre-Chazen ritual was led by our wonderful leaders, Adriana Silva and Matheus Penido, who talked about what to expect in Brazil. We have a great balance of cultural excursions and business meetings that span several industries.

Faculty leader Nachum Sicherman is a Chazen veteran, having run trips for many years. There is no one better suited than this economics legend to facilitate our learning process.

Accordingly, everyone is preparing with final administrative preparations and reading up on the companies we will be visiting. Our diverse crowd of Cluster Y members and other students are even doing some last-minute bikini shopping.

Student Rob Abelson had this to say: “Although I’m on a PE track and therefore eager to hear about Vinci’s business [Vinci Partners], I’m most excited about the visit to Globo, the home of my favorite soap operas.”

Some especially enthusiastic students Arturo Melo and Adam Spencer-Laitt will be arriving in country early to conduct their own agricultural company visits.

So, the next steps are to pack our bags and arrive in São Paulo! Looking forward to seeing everyone there!