Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chile A Country A People

The experience in Chile was a once in life time event, complete with breath taking vistas, fantastic meals, unique and educating site visits and last but certainly not least outstanding Cohort Companionship. Although customer service culturally was not a strong point the people themselves had a warm and welcoming appeal that I was pleased to encounter. Santiago itself felt like a small town of just 6 million people whether it was the chants of Obama in the Mercado Central or the unsolicited directions on the way to Bella Vista to the Brief safety instructions by good Samaritans it was a place in which I always felt welcome and would be pleased to return. Selected are a few shots of the Chilean people living, working, playing and enjoying their great city.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crystal Lagoons

Our fourth company visit took us back to the Pacific Coast to a Chilean vacation destination called San Alfonso del mar, home of--as of this writing-- the largest swimming pool on Earth. The pool, or more accurately man-made lagoon, is the dream of biochemist turned real-estate developer Fernando Fischmann. Fischmann's dream was to transform property on the cold, turbulent, Penguin-inhabited Chilean coast into a vacation hot-spot by replicating a tropical landscape complete with crystal water, white sand and palm trees.

Fischmann's first stab failed; the massive lagoon held dark, murky water. Fischmann hired consultants from around the world but none could solve his problem. So Fischmann dusted off his old textbooks, and despite being told it couldn't be done, he went to work. Five years later yielded a breakthrough, followed by five more years of fine-tuning and perfecting. And now--somehow--Fischmann holds the secret... the intellectual property that can turn low-value land into prime real estate... the ability to turn sea, river or swamp water into water that's crystal clear, filling massive man-made lagoons.

The visit to Crystal Lagoons created great enthusiasm amongst our class, commencing with roughly half of us waiting to speak to Fischmann, the humble, admired founder and entrepreneur. Unlike other visited companies, Crystal Lagoons had the vibe of a business about to take off. Our class can appreciate the simple genius of Fischmann's franchise-like business concept, whereby revenue is generated as percentage-based fees from the sale of real-estate on properties featuring Fischmann's creation. Fischmann's company sits in infancy. It will be interesting to watch his current Dubai project come to fruition, and to see how his business concepts and plans evolve.

Fischmann admitted he is overwhelmed by the immediate success of his creation. Ironically, he's grateful for the global economic downturn, as he feels it will allow him to keep up with demand until he's better positioned for growth. Fischmann believes he must move central operations out of Chile, which he considers too remote a location to run his global business. He will need to bolster his small staff. Additionally, he mentioned taking on a CEO--perhaps himself--to manage growth and development, and turn his cash cow into a global star.

We were happy to meet an entrepreneur from Chile, an individual with raw ambition who commands the concept of added value, who seems to have found the optimum revenue generating strategy through franchising, and who brings to market a low-cost, first-mover concept and experience.

Trip to the Sewell mining town and the copper mine

Thursday a few of us went to the copper mine tour and to the old abandoned mining town of Sewell. The trip had a great start as we began driving up into the Andes mountains and eventually started to see the copper mine that was located deep in the mountains. It was amazing to see the copper mine and the infrastructure which was built and placed in such an inaccessable place in the world. All of the roads were carved right into the sides of the mountains with the sole purpose of accessing this huge copper mine.

The day began with a nice tour of the old mining town of Sewell and ended with a trip into the actual working copper mine. The entire trip gave me a deeper respect to the world's use of copper and how humans have gone to great lengths to providethe world's growing need for raw materials.

Got To Go... Got To Go Right Now

Bring your pesos with you and leave your credit cards at home.

Bargain Hunters

Our travel seekers exploring the City on their own for some last minute shopping stopped for a quick picture from the “Plaza De Armas” train station.

Dinning after a long day of shopping...

and still have time to see the "Arts"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

World's Best Bathroon

Yes....I did take a picture of a bathroom. A great addition to the Chilean folklore dance show we attended.

Concha y Toro

Friday we visited Concha y Toro winery and it was a great way to finish out the trip to Chile. It was exciting to see where the legend of Casillero del Diablo was born and learn how the brand has expanded and established itself as one of the world's top wine brands. I hope everyone got a taste of the Casillero del Diablo sparkling wine. Aways a great way to finish out a wine tasting!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

The Suny group was welcomed to the Plaza de Arms with a parade, complete with music and dancers representing distinct regions of the nation each provided a unique dance in celebration of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel.

Arts & Entertainment

Thursday in Santiago was educational as well as fun for the group that ventured out; Hai covered the Museum angle excellently for our group of ten which experienced a full day in Santiago. Attached are Sights of the city during our exploration on the feast of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel.

Concha y Toro Winery

Our last visit in Chile was definitely the most ... intoxicating!
We spend Friday at Concha y Toro, one of the world's largest wineries.

We took a guided tour of their facilities offered to the public, and got
to see their marketing plan in action. Their major focus in recent
years has been the global relaunch of their "Casillero del Diablo" brand
(which translates to "The Devil's Cellar"). The tour included a visit
to the Casillero del Diablo, and a sighting of the devil himself! They
shared the story of how the original owner was plagued by theft in his
wine cellar, so he started a rumor that the devil lived there -- thereby
deterring theft and creating a legacy that has stayed with the company
for over 120 years. After the tour, the group was given a presentation
focusing on the marketing efforts of the Casillero del Diablo brand
with focus on their global product relaunch that has been very

Then - we were treated to a wine tasting of a variety of wines, ranging
from a fruity, oaky chardonnay to a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. We
were also taught the proper way to taste wine, which is:

1. Look at the wine, focusing on color, clarity, and the tiers that it
leaves on the glass.
2. Smell the wine, trying to pick out the scents of oak, fruit, coffee,
3. Taste the wine. And then taste it some more. :)

All in all, it was a great visit to a very successful company where we
got to hear about their marketing plan, see it in action, and
"experience" their end product.

Team 8
Joe, Tiffany, Hai, Linda, David

Monday, July 20, 2009

Concha Y Toro Visit

Visiting Concha Y Toro on Friday and seeing their business operation was great. Seeing the pride they take in their product, and their top world rankings in various wine magazines was impressive. They obviously have a strong marketing plan and wide product line. The tasting wasn't that bad either.

One day in the Museum

Several of us spent Thursday in two museums. Let me try to show some pictures in a not so boring way...

Santiago is such a fun place but we were told that we had to take an exam in the hotel... We were ...

And our professor Sanjay was very tough on this topic ....

It seems like there is no other choice but to study...

and listen to Sanjay's lectures, even though sometimes we were tied and sleepy ...

But it turned out to be a not so difficult test, maybe we are all such good students~ O -Yeah...

So, let's dance and party, have fun...
Maybe Chilean invented the beer mug several thousands year ago :)... EEEEscudoooo!!!

Sometime, we almost overslept because dinner in Chile was really late...
Fortunately, breakfast at the hotel was good, (except for the juicy eggs...), plenty of milk, fruit, and sweetened juice...
Overall, we had such a GREAT time in Chile!~ :)

Real "market economy" in Valparaiso

Valparaiso is a major port city in Chile. It has a rich history. Before Panama canal was available, all American ships tranporting goods from east to west coast had to stop by here. We had a chance to visit this city on Sunday (7/12). These picture were taken from the street. This "flea" market is only allowed in the street in Sundays.

Museo de Pablo Neruda

I used one of the free days on the trip to visit one of Pablo Neruda's houses, turned into a museum, in Santiago. As he is one of my favorite poets, I could not pass up the opportunity.

He had 3 houses in Chile that have been turned into museums - in Santiago, Valparaiso, and Isla Negra. All of them are nautical-themed and designed to give the illusion that one is on a boat - low ceilings, round windows, wood-trimmed furniture. The architecture itself was fascinating, but the real charm was in the remnants of Neruda's extensive collections. He was a packrat, collecting odd-themed items, such as paintings of watermelons, colored glass, etc.

Also displayed in the house were gifts given to him by his many friends - including Picasso, Degas, etc.

It truly was an inspiring visit! Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed inside the house - but here are some links to read more about Pablo Neruda:



It was perfect weather and national holiday for Chileans, Our lady of Mount Carmel's birthday. Historically Our lady of Mt Carmel believed to be protecting and give strength to the Chilean Defences forces and protects the country. Americans contribution to mining industry and its inception can be easily noticed from the highway (PAN-AMERICAN HGWY) which connects Santiago to Swell mining, the museum, village and mining sight, from drilling tools to heavy Caterpillar industrial machinery's are at work till today, although today the mining are controlled by Chilean. The view of the mountain itself was breathtaking. It was our privilege to have lunch with the miners, the meal was fulfilling. Workers at Swell village lives free, gets free medical and their children receives free education, They have to pay for their foods and clothing's, they are also well paid. Miners works three 8 hours shift a day. Over all its a experience of lifetime, wearing miners gear and visiting the active mining operation in progress and to be etched in memory for many years to come. Only fear in my mind was if we get trapped accidentally. The history reveals only one big accident were 65 miners were trapped in 60's and lost their lives.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Skiing in the Andes

Seven of us ventured out on Thursday for the optional trip to ski at the Valle Nevado resort in the Andes. This was a view from near the top after taking several chair lifts up the mountain. It was amazingly beautiful and perfect skiing weather. We started our journey in Satiago in the morning and made our way up the mountain on a narrow road with 61 switchbacks. It was worth the winding road and severe elevation change (over 3000 meters) to take in this view.

Tasting at Concha y Toro...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Chilean Corporate Culture

The D & S visit allowed us to see firsthand corporate culture in action in Chile. After an extensive tour of the corporate head quarters directed by Francisco Ortuzar all of the students were given a surprising display of corporate and national culture merged into the working environments. Whether it was the reserved parking spots for expectant mothers, the on premise Chapel offering Mass on Fridays during working hours, the fully equipped Gymnasium or the Cafeteria featuring free meals to employees at which we enjoyed a delicious lunch complements of our hosts, we all were left with the impression this is decidedly different from your average American company. The perks as an Americans might see them are not without strategic business benefits however; Feeding the employees for free keeps shrinkage down, the Gymnasium encourages a healthy work force and the Chapel ties the religious values of an 80% Catholic nation to the working environment which often results in a more ethical employee / employer relationship.

How many MBA Students does it take to mine for copper?

Eight students and one SUNY Albany administrator toured the El Teniente Copper Mine and Sewell Village. It was an exciting day as we learned much about the process to extract copper from the rocks located high in the Andes mountains.

Our adventure started with a cab ride to a local mall, where we picked up the bus for the 1 hour drive south of Santiago to Rancagua. We traveled another 40 km to the east for a guided tour (in Spanish & English) of Sewell Village, (elevation: 7500ft) in the Andes.

We were then outfitted with the appropriate safety gear (hard hat, safety goggles, respirator, boots, jacket and headlight) for our journey into the mine. The tour was a fantastic experience, eating along side miners for lunch in Sewell and then meeting with one of the workers in the mine, operating the "crusher" machine, which was demonstrated for us while we all stood in amazement on a catwalk high above the crashing boulders, hoping not to drop our cameras or any MBA cohorts.

Click on the video link below to see some of the highlights of our day-long tour.  
Note:  The beginning of the video is in the dark, however there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

Mining at El Teniente is reported to have started as early as 1819. Kennecott Copper Corporation under a subsidiary company up until the Chilean nationalization of copper and the formation of the state owned copper mining company Codelco who currently operates the mine. It is reported as "the worlds biggest underground copper mine", and is the largest of Codelco's operations.

Nosotros "Quiermos" Chile

The Devil Made Us Do It

D & S A Chilean Company

The D & S business strategies where a flash back to marketing, utilizing demographics and segmentation D & S has been growing in the Chilean market by targeting specific income categories , an interesting accomplishment in light of our previous two site visits which both described retail as a mature market in Chile with little room for growth. Through use of differentiation, distinct store brands and offerings D & S is achieving this growth. As seen on the sign at corporate headquarters, D & S is really the corporate brand the key consumer brands and brand equity is in the individual stores and market strategies this was also reinforced by the speakers. The unique selling position is seen in the credit card system, a variety of styles of credit and incentives are used to drive loyalty purchasing and direct consumer behavior. With the Acquisition of D & S one in every two to three Chilean families have a D & S credit card that is accepted at a variety of other retail establishments.