I’ll start with the basics. Our team of 4 MIT Sloan 2nd year MBA students were in Brazil as a part of MIT Sloan’s famous G-Lab (Global Entrepreneurship class). It’s a class where we (usually) work with a entrepreneur and start-up company somewhere in the developing world. There’s a dual purpose – one to extend MIT Sloan’s mission to the world – “To develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice” and two, to follow in MIT’s motto – “Mens et Manus” or Mind and Hand; to take what we’ve learned throughout business school and apply it to something real and relevant.
The company we chose, and also chose us, was a company in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Located in the state capital, Belo Horizonte, it was a growing company, Samba Tech, who has worked with G-Lab in the past.
To be honest, I was not very familiar with Belo Horizonte (trans: Beautiful Horizon), I just knew it wasn’t Rio de Janerio or Sao Paulo. And Minas Gerais, according to my lonely planet book, was mentioned to have some of the nicest people in all of Brazil…which was very comforting. Further, I had never been to Brazil before, couldn’t speak one word of Portugese, and had no idea of how Brazilians did business.
With all this uncertainty…I knew it was going to fun =).