Allan: A Truly Global Experience

This is my first blog for my trip to Mexico at Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) studying global business with 26 students from Auckland, Germany, Denmark, Australia and France! We’ve been here for just over 2 weeks now and currently residing at Leon, a city right in the heart of Mexico. In the first week, we were based in Sante Fe, a major business district within Mexico City, where many global companies are headquartered. In week two we were studying at the Queretaro campus, a city with some of the most amazing architecture. 

Many of my other friends on the trip will be talking about the Mexican experience so far and how preconceived notions of the country align to what it’s really like living in Mexico. So far I must say it has been a very positive experience. Make sure to check out the other blogs! 

I’ll be going over briefly on the business visits we’ve had so far. I think they have been some of the most valuable parts of our course so far, especially for an International Business student from Auckland where this trip has been truly unique. Monterrey’s education strategy has shifted quite recently to a competency-based model, with a focus on industry experience embedded into their curriculum. Participating in the iWinterMx Global Business program, there is indeed an emphasis on this model with multiple business visits along with standards classes. It has given us first-hand experience on Mexican Business culture and the inner workings of organisations in different industries. The opportunity to see differences in our home country and engage with industry professionals with their insights is truly something rare for a student from New Zealand. 

One of our first visits was to Pepsi-Co’s headquarters in Mexico City with their snack division. Learning about their human resource management, and Mexico’s employment laws have certainly opened my mind on the working hours, conditions and entitlements a normal Mexican employee has. This translates well to Pepsi’s initiatives in looking after their employees and promoting diversity within the company. For example their ‘Pink Manufacturing’ program, an all-women factory line that is now being spread to other Pepsi-Co headquarters and plants around the world.

As a Marketing student, it was cool to learn about their market segmentation strategies with their product line. It was interesting to learn that they produced marketing content for not just the Mexican market but also the United States and South America. Learning about their international marketing activity has given me a better grasp to understand cultures and how to formulate effective advertising campaigns. Overall, a great visit and stoked with all the snacks we received!

KidZania was another multinational enterprise (MNE) we visited during our week in Mexico City. It was an interesting concept and something many of us have not heard of back home. Essentially it is a mock city with real brand shops, vehicles and streets where kids get to act like adults and develop their skills. This could include writing a newspaper, being a police officer or a DHL delivery person. With over 29 locations around the world, all of us were surprised not to have heard of this family entertainment center before!

A purpose built workshop for kids
Kids playing at the mock Ford dealership

Lastly, I would like to brush on a conference we attended with Thomas Meller and Frederic Bron who are part of the German Chamber of Commerce and French Chamber of Commerce in Queretaro. With experience in engineering and tourism, they brought a wealth of experience into the conversation. I was particularly excited to learn about the automotive industry and why Mexico is an attractive manufacturing location- tax incentives, infrastructure location, shipping routes and workforce. Being able to relate classroom studies with industry visits, especially with MNEs and industries not present in New Zealand is an exciting experience.

I have to say the experiences so far have been exceptional to my personal development and understanding of international markets. I strongly encourage university students of all backgrounds to take advantage of the opportunities available to branch out of New Zealand in becoming global citizens. 

Allan Chan

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