Swimming with sea lions while learning about harvesting bird droppings for use as natural fertilizer for organic agriculture — sounds too good to be true, right? For 15 QU MBA students, this was Spring Break 2016. On the nine-day trip to Peru, QU students explored Peru, the ancient seat of the Inca Empire and currently the fastest-growing economy in South America.
Accompanied by Professor Elahee and Professor Luoma, students visited Banco de la Nación, the largest commercial bank in Peru, met an entrepreneur who started a multi million- dollar snacks business from scratch, shared ideas with a French-U.S. consultant who helps set up businesses in Peru, visited a state-owned electric utility and met the CFO of the largest Peruvian firm dealing with foreign exchange.
“Peru opened our eyes to many things beyond new food and new sights,” said Kristen Padilla, a student in the MBA Health Care Management track. “We as MBA students were challenged intellectually to recognize the global challenges of business and the heavy influence of Peruvian culture throughout the different sectors.”
In addition to business visits, the students had opportunities to sightsee and experience the history and culture of Peru. According to Padilla, a highlight of the trip was visiting Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The students visited traditional Inca homes and stores, bought handicrafts and alpaca woolen sweaters, and visited the oldest cathedral in the New World, whose giant prayer hall is covered with gold from floor to ceiling. While swimming in the Pacific with sea lions, QU students saw first hand the ancient Peruvian technique of harvesting bird droppings for use as fertilizers.
“The students certainly got more than they bargained for,” said Elahee, Professor of International Business. “While on the trip the students had the opportunity to deepen their understanding about trade and investment beyond the border of the U.S. This action-packed study-abroad trip was certainly a life-transforming experience for the group.”