Here’s a candid of Associate Dean Paul Jensen, Ph.D., and Assistant Dean Brian Ellis captured during one of many sincere, open discussions about serving our undergraduate student population.
You can catch genuine moments like this with our faculty, students and staff five days a week on the third floor of Gerri C. LeBow Hall.
The Best Lecture I Ever Heard
While in Buenos Aires, we had the pleasure of attending an amazing lecture at Universidad Austral’s IAE Business School about Argentina’s economic growth and populist tradition.
Ariel Casarin, Ph.D., who directs the school’s Business, Society and Economics programs, delivered a dynamic account of the country’s economic decline, set against the backdrop of political chaos, social revolution and increasing competition from other South American countries. He told the personal story of his family’s emigration from Italy — and how the Perón era completely changed not only the sociopolitical landscape of Argentina, but also how those changes have been passed down to future generations through an expectation of government subsidy — even to the detriment of economic growth. A paradox indeed.
At the beginning of the lecture, Dr. Casarin posed the question: “Would you do business here?” He was met with silence. At the end of the lecture, he asked the same question. Again, the silence was palpable.
Heard among Drexel LeBow’s MBA students in attendance as they walked aboard their buses:
- “That was the best lecture I ever heard.”
- “I had no idea. Even after all the research.”
- “I wish we could have asked the guy questions for another hour.”
Eva Perón’s tomb in Recoleta Cemetery, Bueonos Aires.
Eva Perón’s body [was] safely buried in the Duarte family tomb under three plates of steel in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. The tomb was said to be secure enough to withstand a nuclear attack or a restless corpse.
Read more about Evita’s restless corpse here.
(Photographs by Joseph Master)
Last week, a group of LeBow MBA students from all walks of life spent over a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The experience was eye opening. No matter how thoroughly you research a place — no matter how many hours you spend reading a book or a spreadsheet — nothing can prepare you to see the flesh and blood behind the numbers. Below is just a glimmer of what we learned …
There are 1.1 million square miles in Argentina, in which around 40 million people live and work. About 40 percent of the country’s population lives in Buenos Aires Provence. The literacy rate is over 97 percent. The people are kind. Welcoming. Proud. The buildings look Parisian. The palm trees are regal. The soil is some of the most fertile in the world. The nation’s oil reserves are plenty. A century ago, Argentina was a world leader. Only seven countries boasted more economic prosperity. Yet, since the age of Evita, crisis has been a marquee headline for Argentines.
Don’t expect the headline to change any time soon.
Today, inflation is nearing 30 percent — yet Argentina’s government has not devalued its currency. The exchange rate is uncertain. The dollar has been blocked. The deficit is growing; the nation’s infrastructure has deteriorated. Its ports are inefficient — falling apart. The ghosts of Juan and Eva Perón walk the streets. To this day, the government can be called many names that harken back to Perón’s approach to economics: populist; nationalist; statist. Today, the government, run by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is not trusted. People take to the streets in protest nearly every day. The walls of old buildings, statues and street signs — the hallmarks of a city once called the “Paris of South America” — are peppered with graffiti.
This is what we saw. We will never forget it.
(Photographs by Subha Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., MBA).
Until Next Time, Salone!
My roommate thinks I’m insane.It’s not like I don’t understand why. After all, Sierra Leone consistently ranks as one of the least livable countries in the world and Kono is certainly the least developed of the countries impoverished districts.Burning garbage, open sewers, and mud huts constantly remind me that I am living in the third world. Bombed out houses, young people with no hands and a noticeable military presence remind me that I am living in what use to be a warzone. What’s worse is that Kono District had the potential to be one of the most vibrant and profitable regions in all of West Africa.
Before the war, a shovel, free afternoon and a bit of luck were all that were needed to find diamonds in this area. Before the war. With such a rich supply of natural treasure ripe for the picking, rebels fought hard to take the town and its surrounding mines. The people of Kono then had their land robbed and decimated as the rebels took the districts central city, Koidu, to fund their crusade of anarchy. Diamond mining now takes millions in foreign investments, harsh working conditions and, obviously, substantially more planning than walking down to the closest stream. So what’s it like living and working in a region of the world that is still recovering from a civil war and learning to move past diamonds, the only thing that gets some people out of bed here?
Well, the words different in every conceivable way come to mind, yet do not seem to fully capture the extent. It may be cliché to say you just need to experience but there are somethings I would not even know how to describe to people. Obviously, it’s hot, the food is spicy and I stand out from the typical African. Children have had every reaction from screams of joy as they try to jump into my arms to the most sincere fear I have ever seen accompanied by hysterical crying (12 in total — yes, I was keeping count). The staple food here is rice, which I have eaten nearly every day at least once, but sometimes for every meal. Electricity for lights, water for drinking and gas for cooking are all luxuries that the large majority of people here do not have in their homes. But these are all the things that I knew before I left the states and not terribly interesting. Some of the more interesting (and less curricular) experiences I have had on coop include:
- Learning to speak a bit of the tribal language of Kono and the national language of Krio, a sort of English dialect
- Spending a weekend climbing the tallest mountain in west Africa after a 5 hour motor bike ride there
- Running in a half marathon in Makeni and seeing the president
- Watching the Champions league final in a shed no larger than a Ucross apartment with over 300 people screaming at ever action (the temperature falls under the “need to experience” category)
- Drinking palm wine and sharing kola nuts with rural palm farmers
- Aided in killing, skinning, and cleaning a goat for a pepper soup feast
With my flight back to the states tomorrow, I look back on my time here in a very positive way. The three months here went by both quickly and slowly. There were difficult days that seemed like they would never end, as with most jobs. Yet it seems like just last week I ran to catch the last ferry of the night into Freetown, a city so chaotic it makes New York seem quaint.
I am confident that I have had the most unique coop experience of any student at Drexel and will cherish the valuable lessons I have learned here for the rest of my career.
Drexel LeBow’s 1st ever #VineApp tweet!
“There is no such thing as a free lunch”
I learned this quote in one of my first economics classes at Drexel. In context, Milton Friedman uses this to explain how nothing is free in life and everything is earned by sacrificing something else. I have come to learn this rule bends a bit when a country endures a 10-year civil war. After the war, literally hundreds of NGO’s from around the world came here to Sierra Leone, specifically to ravaged mining district of Kono, and poured money into a variety of aid programs. Though these various NGO’s meant well in selflessly giving to the people of Sierra Leone, I feel many have only set the country back and further instilled the mentality that created problems in the first place.
That is a very bold statement I just made. Most people would ask me how giving clean drinking water to AIDS victims, homes to those with limbs amputated by rebels, or a square meal a day to school children could be detrimental. The problem is not in helping the people of Sierra Leone have a decent life (that is one of the main reasons I am here). I believe that handouts only create a reliance on others rather than fostering a spirit of independence and revival. Very little is learned or changed in receiving free help because the sacrifice to receive the aid is minimal. In short, the problem is that it is a free lunch.
NGO handouts only last until the money runs out and the aid workers go home. But what if you could give the people a fishing pole and teach them how to fish? (Figuratively of course since Kono is landlocked) The project I am working with here, Palm 2 Palm, aims to do exactly that. Rather than handing out money and walking away, a grant was used to set up a palm oil factory that buys fruit from local farmers to sell in the market place of Koidu town. All the money stays right here in the district, distributed fairly between the farmers and our factory workers. The project will create economic growth for years to come rather than just a short period of handouts. Palm 2 Palm is in the early stages but I am confident that it will ultimately make life a bit easier for a large group of people in Kono.
Though I have yet to have a “typical day” in Sierra Leone, I can describe some activities I have done regularly. On production days at the factory, I help manage the palm oil production, mentor the workers how to keep the books, and make some financial projections for when the production is finished. Other days, I ride a motorcycle into the bush to visit rural palm farmers and discuss the project with them. Palm 2 Palm has been exciting and the problems we have faced made me think harder than even the most difficult of my business exams. Everyday is a new challenge. Managing a factory that has the capacity to process thousands of kilograms of fruit a week and negotiating prices with farmers that live completely off the grid through a translator certainly is not easy. But hey, I can’t complain too much. After all, I am confident I am one of the few Co-ops that wears shorts and sandals to work. And I am nearly certain that I am the only riding a motorbike through the bush on a daily basis.
International Business and Economics
Sustainable Business Research Co-op in Sierra Leone
WebNet Hosting Collaboration with Drexel University
WebNet Hosting’s marketing forces were recently boosted with fresh focus from select students at Drexel University. With great thought, members of the New Media Marketing Class evaluated and contributed to WebNet Hosting’s social media platforms and website interface.
Boney Pandya (Drexel alum and Marketing Manager at WebNet Hosting) worked in collaboration with Professor Duke Lawrence’s students in order to develop a website usability analysis as well as an advanced social media campaign. The two-part project was met with productive results.
The site usability analysis of WebNet Hosting’s dedicated server pages involved comparing screen shots of WebNet’s newly designed pages with that of their competitors. Thanks to the students’ input, the new designs — slated to be launched in June 2013 — will now be altered to include the suggestions of the class regarding the inclusion of an “Ideal For” section for each server.
The second part of the project involved research into WebNet Hosting’s social media efforts related to marketing for dedicated servers along with the comparison of their competitors’ social media activity dealing with the same product. The objective was to determine how others in the industry promote dedicated servers for the purpose of creating a thoughtful social media marketing plan for WebNet Hosting to employ in the future.
Overall, the project collaboration with Drexel was a success. The representatives from WebNet Hosting were impressed by the students’ presentations and feedback regarding social media analysis and marketing efforts. The suggestions and evaluations by the New Media Marketing class will be very helpful for the the future of WebNet Hosting’s social media techniques.
In addition to helpful feedback involving social media efforts, students contributed solid suggestions for better website usability on WebNet’s dedicated server pages. As mentioned above, WebNet plans to incorporate the students’ feedback in their new design. The two-part collaboration was beneficial to WebNet Hosting’s future marketing efforts, and the company looks forward to collaborating on more projects with Drexel University in the future.
Boney Pandya ‘12
Marketing Manager at WebNet Hosting, LLC
Working on finalizing our presentation for the inaugural PR/Marketing Case Competition. We love using the MediaScape in Hagerty Library! #techsavvy
Ryan Williams and the Business Casual team were granted all-stadium access at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark to celebrate the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday and watch the Phillies prepare to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Featuring special cameos by some of your favorite Phillies players.
Watch the video here!
Special thanks to:
Tom Burgoyne (The Phanatic’s best friend)
The Phillie Phanatic
The entire Philadelphia Phillies organization
Hello from Kono
"Co-op is what you make of it."
I heard these words over and over as I began my time at Drexel. As an International Business and Economics student knowing very little about my field other than I find it interesting, I knew I wanted something more than the “typical co-op.”
I define a “typical co-op” (warning: oversimplifications and personal opinions follow) as sitting at a cubicle, pecking away at Excel or entering information into an online database with some funny sounding name that is probably an acronym for something. Though I did not know exactly what I was looking for in my first business co-op, I was pretty sure I wasn’t ready for the cubicle just yet. So I decided to come to West Africa, try to figure this whole “business” thing out for myself, and see “what I could make of it.”
Here I am just outside of Koidu Town, Kono District, Sierra Leone. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, that’s exactly where I am.
Kono is one of the most diamond-rich areas in the world, where people around here use to just pick these precious gems out of the ground; no tools needed. Because of this, Kono was ravaged by the civil war just a few years ago and the effects are still present today. In fact, just this afternoon, I met the father of one of the men I work with. I stuck out my right hand out to shake his only to have it clasped by his left. The rebels amputated his right hand during the war. It was a powerful moment as I looked into his eyes and wondered what it must be like to greet people like this everyday. His eyes spoke to me more than words possibly could.
But on to less morbid topics and why I endured 36 total hours of travel to get here. I am working in a palm oil factory just outside of Koidu town doing what could be labeled as operations management, with a bit of accounting, finance, and economics for good measure. To sum the project up in one sentence would be difficult but I will give it my best shot. We aim to improve Kono by working with local farmers, buying their fruit, processing it into oil and soap, and then selling that in the market to make just enough profit to continue to operate. Unlike most businesses, the objective is not to make as much money as possible but to help as many farmers and people as possible.
The project, backed by some generous individuals in Spain and America, along with a fantastic non-profit over here called the Wellbody Alliance, is still in its early stages — which makes my job both exciting and challenging. Each day is different than the last and there are always things to look forward to. My next post (not sure when exactly that will be since I only have electricity when we turn the generator on, and don’t even ask about how slow the dial up internet is) will be a little more specific about exactly what it is that I do each day at work and what it’s like living in a culture far different than the typical college campus.
This is definitely not Philly.
International Business and Economics
Sustainable Business Research Co-op in Sierra Leone
The Phillie Phanatic made his Phillies debut on April 25th, 1978 — and he has been rooting for the home team ever since with his signature brand of belly-roll jesting.
Check out this sneak peak of our next edition of Business Casual, in which host Ryan Williams personally delivers the Phanatic a special birthday surprise on behalf of Drexel LeBow and snags an exclusive interview to boot. Featuring: Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins and a few other familiar faces.
For more about the Phanatic, visit Phanatic Central: http://ow.ly/ks5nP
Click here to view past episodes of Business Casual: http://ow.ly/ks5sZ
Just a glimpse of one of Drexel LeBow’s MBA international residencies. Who knows where we’ll go next year. Will you be in the next cohort?
Click here for more information about our international residencies: http://ow.ly/k0dKC
AAHANA: Opportunity. Hope. Love.
We help deaf and disabled children in the Gujarat region of India.
For more information reach out to us through firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at www.aahanaindia.org
Business Administration; Marketing and Legal Studies ‘16