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AMBA · Nicholas Shalagan

Accelerated MBA Study Trip 2023

Dec 12, 2023

Image 1 People

And just like that, the Accelerated MBA study trip is half-way through…

The Accelerated MBA study trip is a mandatory course for those in the program and provides an opportunity to test key learnings in the real world. The trip is also an excellent crash course in several different aspects of international business from understanding the importance of cultural nuances, to adapting risk analysis strategies within a global context.

The past several days have felt like a dream. It seems like just yesterday that I was on three different airplanes (Toronto to New York, New York to São Paulo, São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro). Travel experiences are funny, though, because although I feel like time has flown by, it also seems like an eternity since I landed last Saturday. Here’s a list of reasons why.

#1 reason: The people

As many of you already know, my job at Ivey Business School involves working with individuals who are considering an MBA option that will allow them to continue to work while positioning themselves for their next promotion to a more senior-level managerial position.

There are 52 students here in Rio de Janeiro. I have known some of the individuals that comprise this Accelerated MBA cohort for almost four years and others for at least 18 months!

For me, these students can only be described as INSPIRATIONAL. They have all spent the past 14 months taking on a workload of 20-30 hours a week in preparation for in-person classes that happen once a month in Toronto.

Lucas Monzani is on the study trip – he is the faculty member responsible for the curriculum and coordination of the trip.

Melissa Marcelissen is the Relationship Manager for the program, and has joined us, too.

And Adam Fremeth is here as well – he is the Program Director.

#2 reason: Activities + curriculum

The past four days have gone by so quickly because we are doing a lot. Most of the students went on a Jeep tour of Tijuca National Park on Sunday morning. After an orientation session, the cohort was off to Christ the Redeemer followed by a welcome dinner at Bota Restaurant!

Monday had a series of very interesting presentations and talks that provided insight into the complexities of identity in Brazil. Topics included energy transition and sustainability, and a very interactive presentation about digital retail and influencers.

Tuesday’s activities were a lot of fun. We checked out the Rio Operations Center, one of the legacies of the 2014 world cup; toured Granado cosmetics; and took in the sunset at Sugarloaf Mountain.

And now today … a two-hour, 45-minute bus trip is long, but the end destination was the Cachaça Magnifica plant to tour the facility and gain insight into plant operations. Cachaça is the sugar cane alcohol that is used to make Brazil’s national cocktail – Caipirinha.

#3 reason: The food

It is impossible to travel the world and not get excited about trying new food. But more than anything else, the meals we have shared brought the group closer together.

There are only two days of planned activities left, and they are going to be just as jam-packed as the first three. I Can’t Wait!

Nick (From Rio De Janeiro)