Last week I spent about half of my time grading exams repetitively and watching negotiation videos. Finally got a window to battle my laziness and write a bit.
Chile trip was so much fun! It was a much needed break from school in New Haven. I learned about South American economies, their pension systems and did cases on a few multi-national conglomerates. We even had time to visit Telephonica Chile. The better part of the trip was outside the classroom. I met so many interesting people from other global network schools – Mexico, Spain, France, Norway, Shanghai, Switzerland. I probably learned more from them than from the classroom. They are friendly, fun and intelligent. We went eat out a few times and chatted about how life’s like in different parts of the world. My conclusion is, people have similar goals and aspirations no matter where they live. They want to provide good care to their families, learn and grow, have good company.
Chile is a relaxing middle income country with 17 M people. It is quite isolated from the rest of the world. The economic framework of the country was established in the right way – signing trade agreements with neighbors, relying on exports of mining products or fishery and attracting tourists and European immigrants to the country. One thing I noticed is that although the economy of Chile was doing quite well compared to other South American countries, that did not necessarily transfer into more disposable income for the middle class or operational efficiency. We went to a McDonald’s in Chile and the efficiency was so low. 10 people behind the counter acted like ants on fire, but got nothing accomplished. To buy an ice cream, you cannot hand the person money directly, you have to go buy a ticket, pay, then use the ticket to get your ice cream. There might be significant lack of trust towards the employees from many store owners.
The trip also reminded me how spoiled I am – able to take two years full-time to study in one of the best institutions in the world. Many of my week-long classmates had to work while going to school. Some of them have very young kids and working wife/husband. Even that cannot stop them from learning. I have so much respect for these people. They also reminded me that in less than 7 months, this will all be over. Although I am dying to go back to work and make some money, I know I would never have an opportunity to absorb information and learn in classroom again.
New Haven is definitely getting into deep fall. Temperature dropped significantly after I came back from Chile. I am sad my trip to Japan and China cannot happen this year. Hopefully I could go next year. 😦