What would you think of 70 HBS and MIT-Sloan 1st and 2nd year students flying to Miami on February 15th-18th weekend? Well, although they came with brand-new tans and unbearable hangovers from the last Tequila shots of the weekend, they were actually part of the first HBS-Sloan Miami Trek. The Trek, organized jointly by the HBS Club Iberoamericano, and the MIT-Sloan High Tech and Latino Clubs, allowed the students to meet chief executives of some of the most important companies doing business in Latin America.
For two days the students met with key players of Latin America’s Technology, Telecommunications, Banking, and Media Sectors. The list of speakers included CEOs of AT&T Latin America and Media industry leader, Grupo Cisneros (Univisi¢n, DirecTV, Venevisi¢n, AOL Latin America, among others); and chief executives of Visa International, Motorola Ventures, Lexmark, Lucent Technologies, AOL Latin America, and Goldman Sachs Latin American Group. It was also an opportunity to learn from the experiences of young entrepreneurs survivors from the dot-com era; like the founders of Quaxar IT Consulting, Despegar.com (travel), and DoUwantit.com (B2C fulfillment).
In the midst of this bear market, Miami was not an exception. Some of the companies were very cautious in not to create high expectations in terms of recruiting. However, other companies openly encouraged the students to contact their recruiting people and explore career opportunities with them.
The trekkers also met with the local MIT-Sloan and HBS alumni clubs in a cocktail event at the Mandarin Hotel’s bar in front of Biscayne Bay. However, we cannot sincerely describe this as a business-type meeting. Inspired by Miami’s fantastic atmosphere, students and alumni quickly dropped the formal manners, and between drinks, started their own party. It was very tempting to listen to the alumni’s comments about the lifestyles they have in Miami. It is difficult not to dream about this life after graduation, leaving behind two years of hundreds of cases, exams, and late night study.
It should be highlighted that one of the key success factors of the Miami Trek was partnering with our fellow MIT students. This “strategic alliance” came out earlier in the school year when students from both schools decided to join efforts to organize their first Miami Trek. It was an idea that allowed the organizers to leverage on the networks and alumni databases of both schools, and to build a critical mass of trekkers. It was also a great opportunity to make new friends and tear down stereotypes that students from both schools have formed about each other.
The HBS Miami Trek team comprised: Chair Augusto Moronta (OD), Julian Rizo (NH) and Courtney Stanton (NG). Signing for the Trek was initially opened only to members of the Iberoamericano Club, and originally was supposed to be opened to other students a few days later. However, the 40 slots available for HBS students were quickly sold-out, and the Trek never opened to the rest of HBS – this was the reason why most of HBS did not know about Miami Trek.
Looking to the future,Club Iberoamericano plans to build on the experience of this first Trek and come up with an even better event for 2003. Once again the Club is planning to partner with our MIT-Sloan friends given the excellent results we had this year. Hopefully next year the Trek can be scaled up in order to give opportunity to students outside of Club Iberoamericano. However, if you are very interested in a career in Latin America and want to join the Miami Trek next year, your best bet is to join Club Iberoamericano.