Meeghan Sheppard, Chris Nguyen, Christina Passerell and Chris Wise listen and ask questions of a factory manager at Reborn Electric Motors in Rancagua, Chile.
MBA students learn to evaluate business operations in Santiago excursions

At the Reborn Electric Motors factory in Rancagua, Chile—about 55 miles south of Santiago—the students from Team 14 huddled around the rear end of a blue and green bus gutted of its diesel components.

Team 14—Christina Passerell, Meeghan Sheppard, Chris Nguyen and Chris Wise strategize for their excursion after class time in Santiago, Chile.
Team 14—Christina Passerell, Meeghan Sheppard, Chris Nguyen and Chris Wise—strategize for their excursion after class time in Santiago, Chile.

Chris Nguyen, Christina Passerell, Meeghan Sheppard and Chris Wise peppered the factory floor manager with questions about supply chains, the accessibility of tools and the drafting of standard operating procedures.

The group of first-year WashU MBA students joined their 85 classmates on the afternoon of August 12 in a selection of company excursions during the fourth and final stop on Olin’s 38-day global immersion.

The program plunges the students into the principles of global business at the very start of their MBA education. After leaving St. Louis July 9, the cohort traveled to Washington, DC, and the Brookings Institution, Barcelona and Paris before arriving August 10 and 11 in Santiago. This excursion was part of their field research for a class in process analysis.

Meeghan Sheppard examines a box of components for supply chain clues at Reborn Electric Motors in Rancagua, Chile.
Meeghan Sheppard examines a box of components for supply chain clues at Reborn Electric Motors in Rancagua, Chile.

In the morning, the students divided into two sections as supply chain and operations professors Lingxiu Dong and Fuqiang Zhang provided context and operational foundations for the afternoon visits. They outlined the process vocabulary the first-year students—only weeks into their programs—would be using to evaluate how the businesses created value.

Then, the students split into three groups, each assigned to a different company: Reborn Electric Motors, a 2-year-old startup that refits diesel buses with electric motors; Market People, a platform for selling curated, second-hand luxury garments; and Ignisterra, a manufacturer of wooden components such as doors with a global customer base.

Dong advised her students to consider concepts such as production capacity and production bottlenecks to evaluate the firms—and even to investigate what metrics the companies themselves tracked. “Are the companies collecting data on these dimensions?” she asked. “Are they tracking flow rate or throughout? This has a direct relationship on how quickly you can make money.”

At Reborn, Team 14 joined with several other Olin MBA teams, rotating around areas inside the airy factory where the guts of nine buses were in various states of transformation, with some buses elevated on lifts.

Doubles ping-pong as Qasim Hayat and Jorge Concha Tagle challenge two workers at Reborn Electric Motors in Rancagua, Chile.
Doubles ping-pong as Qasim Hayat and Jorge Concha Tagle challenge two workers at Reborn Electric Motors in Rancagua, Chile.

Then, before boarding buses for the return to Santiago, the students noticed a ping-pong table nestled near the factory wall behind a bus. It was game on as students Kwaku Nuamah and Qasim Hayat challenged some factory workers to a game or two … or three.

In Global
Tag ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Solve the equation: *