The Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) sparks much controversy about whether developing countries will suffer more than they will gain. South American business and individuals are now transferring hundreds of billions of dollars of economic resources to North America each year in terms of trade losses, debt servicing and profit outflows. In the South, multinationals are seen as routinely bribing politicians to gain a competitive edge over local rivals via changes to protective legislation, while imposing added costs through the requirements that cash strapped, high interest borrowers in the local economy to follow expensive developed nation standards in environmental stewardship. (responsibilities -action—activity-protections)
It is important however for all sides to understand and agree to the primary aspect (attitude-feeling-necessity) that the FTAA has its merits. The new trade provisions will aid corporate success by removing governmental regulations and closing legal loopholes. Success in this area means the stimulation of economic growth through capital investment and entrepreneurial communities. There is an audible public cry for better education, health care, and social services which can be addressed more expediently if the international community has a stake in the welfare of the local population. “Big business’ will move into Central and South America. The question is not when, it is how.
Attempting to superimpose North American managerial practices onto local Latin American organizations can be frustrating to the uninitiated manager if the ideas are not adapted to local cultural norm. This was the case when recently I built, partnered, and managed Tantra, named by American Airlines’s in-flight magazine as ‘The Best Nightspot in Santiago.” The training, team-building, structure and strategy employed at this highly successful restaurant and nightclub have their roots in a North American style formal business model. Yet, it the only way to utilize these ideas was by taking into consideration the employees local cultural aspects (personalities, expectations- work habits) and adapt these models to fit.
Foreign corporations planning to move operations to Latin America will face many similar challenges. The successful blending of business practices is going to require a bit of grease on the wheels in the form of specialized negotiators who understand both entities and all their particularities. It is my goal to position myself at the forefront of the global transition, to facilitate business between North and South America, while keeping true to the globalization credo of ‘transparency and accountability.’ If responsible business practices are employed, free trade measures will prove to be very beneficial for developing countries as well.
Practicing law in both Latin America and the United States, I have gained experience in the negotiation tactics of both cultures. My law background and my entrepreneurial experience have taught me the obstacles and issues involved in initiating and maintaining successful business. An MBA at this point in my career, would serve to round out my knowledge, giving me the tools I will need to achieve my goals.
The MBA program at Anderson provides the precise blend of coursework I will require. The many electives offered in Latin American economy and development will be a necessary adjunct to the study of organizational theory and macro economics that I’d like to undertake. I am especially interested in studying under Sebastian Edwards. A fellow Chilean, and sensitive to the complexities of emerging economies, he has earned a strong reputation as an innovator in modern economic thought. I also look forward to interchanging ideas and forming relationships with the highly qualified group of students Anderson attracts.
The world is changing at a rapid pace. Fortunately we are clear on its direction and the type of leadership it will require to reach its destination successfully. An MBA from Anderson would shape me into that leader, to initiate far reaching, beneficial changes and to be properly positioned at the forefront of this global transition.