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An Experience of a Lifetime in an Immersive Learning Experience in Chile

A large group of students pose together holding up 2 Michigan Ross blue flags as they stand in front of an old stone building with metal-railing balconies.

Michigan Ross Weekend MBA students now have the option to attend Online MBA international residencies to personalize their learning experience. Through these in-person residencies, students get an inside look at global environments, and have the opportunity to apply what they're learning in class to deepen their understanding of global business strategy. Weekend MBA student Terence Hui shares his experience in Chile learning about global economies, and connecting with his WMBA and OMBA peers. 

The Ask: Why Chile? The Answer: Why NOT Chile?


Day 1: La Moneda Palace and Welcome Dinner


Group photo of Michigan Ross Online MBA students in Chile.

First day of the trip kicked off with a bang! We got the chance to meet Marco [lower right], from the University of Chile, who would be our Chilean expert for the week. One of our first stops was La Moneda Palace (The Presidential Palace) where Marko gave us a brief insight into the history of Chile and the coup d’etat of 1973 that really went on to shape the Chilean economy to what it is today.

Photo of three Michigan Ross Online MBA students standing with Chilean tour guide.

To wrap up a day of touring around the city and learning about Chilean history, we were invited to a welcome dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Santiago. Here, the WMBAs and the OMBAs got the chance to mingle and get to know each other, which would set the tone for the rest of the trip. 

Day 2: A Day of Learning / Chile Open

On the second day, we had the honor of listening to Professor Patricio Meller, an extremely well-respected economist/engineer as he gave us in-depth information on how the Chilean economy has changed over time. Having lived through the coup d’etat and several government reforms, he had unprecedented insight into the Chilean state of mind at each important juncture.

Photo of OMBA students in a classroom learning from a professor.

After a day of lectures and group work, a few of us attended the Chile Open - grabbing some fantastic seats for an extremely fair price thanks to the favorable exchange rate!

Photo of Michigan Ross OMBA students at the Chilean Open.

Day 3: Santa Ema Winery

On day 3, we were whisked away to Santa Ema in the Maipo Valley where we got to sample one of Chile’s biggest exports…wine! Our guide, Sophia, educated us on not only the history of Santa Ema but also some of the unique varietals that are only found in Chile. 

Photo of OMBA students in front of the Santa Ema winery in Chile.

But, it wasn’t just a day of fun - understanding one of Chile’s main exports allowed us to gain insight into the Chilean economy and understand the import/export trends that dominate this geographically unique country.

Photo of a group of OMBA students sitting in the grass outside a winery in Chile.

Day 4: More Learning and a Mixer with University of British Columbia

Day four started off with another day of learning where we got to hear from a number of speakers, including Professor Robert Funk discuss Chile within the current global geopolitical/economic context, Mr. Hugo Ovando on the Chilean business environment, and Mr. Rafael Marin Kohan on his take on Chilean foreign affairs. They provided valuable insight into considerations required when analyzing Chile as a business environment, which proved to be critical for our final projects.

Photo of OMBA students in a classroom learning from a professor.

To wrap up day four, we were invited to a mix and mingle with the University of British Columbia MBAs. This held a special place in my heart because UBC is actually my alma mater where I studied Mechanical Engineering! It was fantastic to see like-minded people make connections and network, as that is often the most valuable part of an MBA program.

Photo of a group of Michigan Ross OMBA students and students from the University of British Columbia outside a restaurant in Chile.

Day 5: Valparaíso,  Viña Del Mar, Farewell Dinner

Day five was another fantastic one with a bus ride to the town of Valparaiso where we got to tour Pablo Neruda’s home. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the home, but being there in person, one can understand how he got inspiration for his collection of work. The view overlooking the Pacific Ocean is majestic and undoubtedly got the creative juices flowing for Pablo. After the tour, we were led through the streets of Valparaiso and got to take in some amazing art on the side of buildings. We were fortunate to be able to explore some of the hidden parts of Valparaiso under the guidance of Marko.

Photo of a Michigan Ross OMBA student standing in a marketplace in Chile. Photo of a colorful building in Chile that is painted with mermaids.

Nearby Valparaiso is the town of Viña del Mar, which is situated right by the ocean. After a quick group lunch, we were given the opportunity to explore the beach and frolic in the sand.

Photo of a group of six OMBA students having fun on the beach in Chile.

The end of day five was also the evening for our farewell dinner. It was a bittersweet moment as it marked the end of the trip. The dinner was tucked in a private outdoor area that was fit for a wedding venue. We were treated to some Chilean BBQ and traditional Chilean dishes. Ultimately though, this was about coming back together as a group to reflect on the trip. The gratitude expressed by everyone emphasized the impact that the international residency had on all of us- and the immense opportunity we experienced was not lost on anyone.  

Photo of Michigan Ross OMBA students and faculty outside of a restaurant in Chile.

Day 6: Final Presentations and Farewell

Of course, we couldn’t leave Chile without presenting our projects. Here, we got to explore each group’s ‘Why Not Chile?’ for their company. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to link everything we had experienced in Chile into a final project that looked at why we thought it was such a great opportunity for so many North American-based companies.

Photo of OMBA students giving a presentation in front of their class in Chile.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t take one final group picture. 

Group photo of Michigan Ross Online MBA students and faculty holding a maize and blue Michigan Ross flag.

To me, Chile was more than just another excursion to the southern hemisphere. While I was there, I developed friendships that I hope to keep forever and learned more about a country than I thought I ever would. The experience of Chile was enhanced by my peers and it would not have been the same without them. 

For the WMBA and OMBA Chile crews who read this, thank you!

Documents & Links
Learn more about International Residencies