It is easy to feel spoiled as an IMBA student at Daniels. Not only do you get to take a break from general MBA compass classes to learn how to develop international markets and combat currency exchange, you also have the opportunity (or requirement… however you want to look at it) to travel abroad with fellow students for a 10-day cultural investigatory trip.

In an earlier post I spoke about my upcoming trip to Brazil with excitement and curiosity. Now that I have returned and presented my teams’ final findings to the client, I’m ready to rehash all the great details with you!

A few days after Thanksgiving, 30 Daniels students met in Sao Paulo, Brazil on a muggy day. All anxious and excited to begin our journeys, we did our best to hide the exhaustion in our eyes. Every one of us braved the 10+ hour flight just for a chance to “know” Brazil. What we didn’t realize is that the flight over would be the most rest we would get over the next ten days. Our wonderful program directors, Doug Allen and Leslie Carter, packed our days with meetings with Brazilian companies as well as cultural experiences and time to meet as groups. As you can imagine, describing our entire 10-day trip would take a short novel. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll focus on three main events from the trip.

Favela tour and Meninos do Morumbi, Sao Paulo.

Within our first few days in Brazil, we had the opportunity to experience the “real” Brazil and witness local culture first-hand through two unforgettable events. First, our on-the-ground program facilitators were able to arrange a tour of a large favela in Sao Paulo. For those of you that don’t know, a favela is the term used for a Brazilian slum. With over 11.4 million Brazilians living in favelas, it was quite the experience. This experience allowed us to see the roots of the Brazilian culture while helping us to understand the favela way of life.  After the favela tour, we visited a local non-profit, Meninos do Morumbi, where a band of adolescent dancers, singers, and musicians put on a samba show for us. Meninos is a Brazilian non-profit focused on keeping children from favelas off the street by encouraging them to engage in the arts founded by a passionate musician, Flavio Pimenta. Concluding the performance was a music lesson from the founder, where each one of us were given a drum and taught how to samba.


Sugarloaf Mountain and Ipanema Beach

While we spent most of our days visiting businesses, we had a chance to experience one of the most recognized tourist locations in Rio de Janeiro. As a class we took a trip up Sugarloaf Mountain where the views of the city and the beach were amazing and will stay with me for a lifetime. After this field-trip we had a free afternoon on Ipanema Beach. Noted as one of the most popular beaches in the world, the majority of the class spent the day soaking in the sun and enjoying the Rio beach culture.



Culture: The food, the people and the dancing

After our business days, we had the evenings to ourselves. With our free time we were able to get to know the culture on a more personal level – the food, people and dancing! One evening, we had the chance to meet up a fellow IMBA student not on our trip and his Brazilian fiancé for dinner and dancing. We dined at a traditional Brazilian restaurant where we enjoyed communal food and beer. From there, we ventured to a local hole-in-the-wall for live samba music and dancing. We remained there until the early morning dancing with locals, trying to sing along to the music, and enjoying local drinks. It was by far one of the most energizing cultural events of the trip.


As you can see from this post, the GO IMBA trips are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Being an IMBA student at Daniels allows you to expand your horizons and transform your life. I know I have.