I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity than the EMI Program here at the University of Externado. The program is carefully designed and scheduled in such a way that all the stakeholders – the local students, the international participants, the Externado faculty members and the local companies – come together in a win-win situation. As aspiring managers, it is imperative for us to know and gain exposure to the international business landscape and also the problems and issues faced by small and medium enterprises. And with no doubt, I can say that at the EMI program, these were facilitated by the set of projects in the diverse areas of BOP, CSR and TSB. Each project was challenging and unique in its own way and I can’t appreciate enough the kind of effort that has gone behind in shortlisting each of the company.
During our tenure in the program, the support provided by the program coordinators and the companies was immense. In each of our company visit, it was a unique experience, trying to understand and communicate the problems and solutions faced by them, cutting across the language and culture. I was touched by the warmth they all extended and the kind of hospitality they gave in having us at their facility. The local students played a crucial role in helping us in facilitating these meetings and visits. They were also helpful in making us understand the company and their problems with a comprehensive diagnosis of the same. The Senior Consultants allotted to each team provided us with excellent mentoring and guidance which helped us to shape up our proposal satisfying the expectations. And last but not least, the program director was our go-to person right from the moment we enrolled for this program until we head back home. He not only made the objectives of the program clear but also ensured our comfort and safety during our entire stay in Colombia.
I can’t thank enough for all the opportunities and experience I have got in such a short span of time. As I head back home, I carry a bunch of memories made with people and places within and outside the EMI program. I thank all the people who were part of this program and gave me an opportunity to be a part of the same.
Thanks and Best Regards,
I spent nearly 2 and a half weeks participating in the EMI Program of the Externado University of Bogota, thus completing the BOP and the CSR project. This appears to be a short time, but for me those two weeks have been some of the most interesting and inspiring of my entire life. First of all, the projects are real adventures. By facing cultural differences and – in parts – language difficulties, the international composition of the several groups is challenging and therefore helps to shape intercultural competencies that can be a true benefit for future team work and negotiations in a global context. In addition, the collaboration within the teams was a lot of fun and I really feel like it gave me friends for a life time, since working on the presentations often turned out as the starting point of joint activities in the evening, especially – of course – on the weekends. In general, I think that the balancing act between hard, committed work on theprojects in order to give beneficial advices to the companies and free time in order to explore the city of Bogota and Colombia as a whole, really works out well. It creates a holistic experience of challenges in terms of consulting and adventures during the time off.
Content-related I am still enthused by the combination of international structure, consulting work, conceptualizing of marketing and finance plans, as well as sustainability management. The EMI Project really has been the perfect step to test and intensify my knowledge of Marketing and Sustainability Management that I have acquired during my Bachelor and Master.
Besides the great content and organization of the project, me and my colleagues also obtained amazing support and supervision of the university, especially from Jose and Paula. The professors that were part of my BOP, as well as my CSR group, also showed true commitment and provided helpful assistance.
All in all, I am convinced that this project implicates a decisive benefit for my occupational development and that my personality will further grow because of this incomparable experience.
To the Externado University, to all responsible persons, to the local students that showed us the city and qualities of Colombian night life and last but not least to all new friends of mine: I just have two words left to say – Thank you!
My experience here has been nothing short of an experience of a lifetime. I came here with stories I had heard about the place but let me tell you, whatever you know of Colombia, once you get here you will be awestruck and fall in love with the place. The university was extremely accommodating with everything, helping us in the smallest of things and the lavish flavorful lunches that we had at the start and end of every project. I would like to especially thank Prof. Jose for always being there for us and arranging a program for which I fall short of world to describe. Getting to work with local students, other international students and companies gave me the chance to learn from the best professional practices around the world and the opportunity of an enriching cultural exchange.
Colombia as a country is extremely diverse and beautiful. A 1-hour flight can take you from one kind of terrain to a totally different type of terrain- and oh what a sight they are. Colombians are one of the sweetest, most helpful and kind people I have ever met. The language barrier does not stop them from interacting with others. I have to mention the food- which is so diverse and rich in taste.
However, these two paragraphs do not do justice to the experience of a lifetime I have had here.
The past four weeks of the EMI Challenge of the Externado University have been exiting, demanding but most of all amazing and a lot of fun. The project started with interesting and interactive workshops and continued with strategic work for the local companies. Each of the projects had its own characteristics. The best moment were the weekly final presentations on Saturday, being inspired and impressed by listening to the specific strategic and creative suggestions of the individual groups. To work in an international team is inspiring and very challenging at the same time. I am thankful for this opportunity, all the experiences I gained and the real-life input we could give. Thank you, Externado University, Jose and Paula for the great Organization.
This program was something that I did for the first time. One of my first international projects but a memorable one. The initiative gave us a very deep and broad insight about the living conditions and the market conditions and how we could use our knowledge and experience from different countries, societies, communities and horizons to improvise and ensure that our society is a better place to live.
The university in itself had a completely different environment and thus gave a very welcoming feel. The complete team specially you and Jose always ensured that we are covered on all aspects and never felt anything missing.
The training week and the kind of sessions with the teams was different and quite fun. The three projects with different teams and companies gave me an understanding from three different perspectives and also how useful or applicable our thought processes could be.
In all, my experience at the university with this initiative was brilliant and I would love to be a part of similar program in future.
Thanks again for making our time there in Colombia memorable!
Coming to Colombia was one of the best decisions of my life. The experience at the Universidad de Externado was amazing and totally a different one. Getting to work with students from different parts of the world and understanding their perspectives widened my horizons. The workshops in the beginning of he program set a really good base for what was yet to come. Moreover, the opportunity to understand and work with the MSME’s at Colombia helped me to get a fair understanding of business sense and opportunities in Colombia. The best part about EMI program was getting to visit the company’s offices, meet the CEO’s and understand their problems and finally give them some implementable solutions. Apart from the program, I also got to explore Colombia which is really a beautiful country with some really amazing people. The program has not only help me built some great networks but also gave me a few friends for lifetime. I am still in touch with my companies and hope to see them progress in near future.
Thanks for such a wonderful experience. The entire set up was very welcoming. This was my first ever international trip and it will always be special.
The workshops and the projects were relevant to the problems that the country faces. The projects helped us in implementing our theoretical knowledge in the practical world.
It was one of those experiences which I will cherish for a lifetime.
Special thanks for Paula for coordinating and managing the program.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of Emerging Market initiative. The program was designed really well with inputs from all the stakeholders to get different perspective – Local students and consultant, international students, the companies and professor. Also, the initial workshop in first week helped a lot. Looking forward for such partnership ahead in the future.
Colombia, as a country was truly hospitable. We learned a lot about the culture and how it differed from India. The major takeaway is the your lifestyle of early to bed, early to rise philosophy to work. I will try to apply it in India.
A suggestion would be to also include some tour about Colombia culture ( street of Bogota, and people’ lifestyle) in the initial week so people are aware of it and can be better informed about it, which would help them in understanding and appreciating differences during the project week.
My journey to Colombia could not have been better. We had heard several things about Colombia before arriving in the country, and even though we were always on our guard, what welcomed us in Colombia caught us off guard. Indians pride themselves in being good hosts, but I don’t think there is any place in the world which is as warm, welcoming and friendly as Colombia. You had mentioned on the first day that we would soon want to make Colombia our homes, and right after the first week, I realized how true your words were- I indeed wanted to make Colombia my home, and I especially loved the food (despite it not being so spicy).
My experience with the EMI program could not have been better, and I apologise for not sending in my thoughts earlier, as I had promised.
I had never imagined that I would get to meet and make friends with people from so many different countries and walks of life- Germany, Colombia, Panama- and that there was so much to learn from everyone!
The experience of interacting with the local entrepreneurs like Jorge Giraldo from Tree Clown and Oscar from Analdes SA were very rich- I never knew there was so much that humans could accomplish, and these were indeed very humbling experiences, and I hope I will be able to follow their progress.
I am also grateful to each of the students from my projects, Daniel and Maori, who not only helped us with the projects, but also helped us understand the Colombian way of life.
I especially miss the lunch-table conversations that I got to have with you and Tummas, for they were incredible stories of the Colombian life, which no newspaper or journal could have ever told me.
One of the best aspects of the EMI course was that it opened me to so many possibilities that I did not know existed. But the one thing that has stayed with me is the grit that Colombians have displayed to improve their country, at any cost. It has been several decades since India attained independence, but India is now riddled with problems, including corruption, poor infrastructure, poverty, and poor healthcare. Being an emerging market, Colombia has had to battle some of the same problems, but the positivity with which Colombians deal with their problems, hoping to change the country with education and their efforts was inspirational for me.
The takeaways from my time in Colombia will always stay with me, and I hope to visit the country again soon.
I look forward to seeing you again in December when you visit India! 🙂
Thank you and regards,