Aerospace & Defense MBA Students Benchmark Brazil in Int'l Immersion
Thirty students and faculty from the University of Tennessee’s Aerospace & Defense MBA (ADMBA) program recently concluded its week-long international immersion. They examined challenges and opportunities for aerospace and defense (A&D) organizations in Brazil, the sixth largest economy in the world.
“Our visit to Brazil was an unforgettable experience full of cultural, business, and educational learning,” said Jay Ferguson, project manager for EOD Technology (EODT). EODT, located in Lenoir City, Tennessee, provides security; munitions management, response, and range maintenance; expeditionary construction; tactical IT/communications; logistics and life support; and disaster response in austere and hostile environments. “This trip presented an education that couldn’t be gained in any classroom. We were in the middle of the action and exposed to an education beyond what any documentary, book, or online resource could provide.”
The Brazilian global learning experience occurred during ADMBA’s fourth, week-long residence period; ADMBA’s one-year, residence-based program is designed to educate and develop high-potential leaders from every sector of the A&D industry.
“Our international residence period is designed to open the eyes of students to the new global economy. We visited aerospace and defense organizations as well as leading organizations in key, enabling sectors such as finance and energy. We also highlighted the importance of understanding foreign cultures and respecting the diverse strengths and styles found in other nations,” said Andy White, EdD, program director.
The agenda included four days of study and development in Rio de Janeiro before the group traveled to Sao Jose des Campos and Sao Paulo for the remainder of the trip. Highlights of the trip included visiting:
- Religious, historical, and cultural sites
- The U.S. Consulate
- Deloitte Consulting
- BNDES, the Brazilian Development Bank
- Petrobras, one of the world’s largest energy exploration and production companies
- The Brazilian Space Agency
- The headquarters of Embraer aircraft manufacturing company
- Embraer suppliers, Aernnova and Thyssen Krupp Automata
- The Brazilian stock exchange
Prior to the trip, students studied theories in global supply chain management and economic theories and outcomes of global trade. They also analyzed Brazil’s macro-economic performance over the last two decades. A blog of their trip can be found at http://admba.utk.edu/brazil2012.
“One of the many great take-away lessons from the trip was the value of long-term strategic planning,” continued Ferguson. “U.S. companies have short and long-term strategic plans but tend to focus primarily on the short term. ThyssenKrupp, a German-headquartered company, described how it took the Brazilian tax structure head-on and dedicated five years to studying tax policies and lobbying with government officials. It partnered with other industrial companies to leverage its capabilities to develop mutually beneficial relationships. This long-term commitment ultimately changed some of the tax policies and opened up business partnerships that will end up paying out large dividends in the long run.”
Most of the students are sponsored by their employers, including the United States Air Force, various airlines, prime defense contractors, and small business suppliers.
For more information about the Aerospace & Defense MBA, please visit http://ADMBA.utk.edu.