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Last Salsa In Frankfurt For EBS Business School MBA Vinod Jose

Vinod Jose spent a term on exchange in Rio de Janeiro; he talks about the contrast in German and Brazilian culture

By  Harriet Murdoch

Thu Oct 27 2011

Vinod Jose from India, graduated from EBS Business School earlier this year and his MBA year consisted of enjoying German wine and Brazilian dancing. He gives an account of his MBA and his ability to find a business opportunity.

Vinod Jose from Kerala, India graduated as a mechanical engineer from the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, India. The 28 year old worked for Accenture in Bangalore for four years before deciding to study for an MBA. Vinod was looking for a career change and he was “always interested in understanding how an economy functions and in starting a business. I had a couple of experiences at attempting to start new ventures through which I realized how much I did not know.”

Having initially had his sights set on US business schools such as UCLA, Vinod chose to study at EBS Business School. “EBS is well known in Germany and in Europe, has a strong Alumni network, presented an opportunity to learn a new language, has an interesting curriculum with an exchange semester and I want to be in a niche area and develop my skills for German companies that want to go to India and vice versa.”


The EBS Business School cohort looking much paler than their Brazilian counterparts!

Most EBS Business School students have an international outlook and 3-4 years of work experience, Vinod would recommend the school to “candidates interested in developing a business network in Germany and Europe who are interested in exploring the European culture.”

Vinod did an internship with DHL in Corporate Procurement and combined his Master Thesis with this internship. Vinod followed this internship with a small consulting firm based in Switzerland.

The first semester came as a shock to the system for Vinod but he says that the close interaction with his cohorts and the professors was helpful in gaining clarity on lots of the fundamentals. “But more to the point, I enjoyed the culture shocks, interacting with the bachelors on campus who constantly remind me that I’m getting old, drinking all the Riesling wine from Rheingau (EBS Business School is located by the Rhein in the wine growing belt) and teaching salsa to Europeans and Latin Americans in Germany!”

But the highlight of Vinod’s MBA was going on an exchange semester to COPPEAD Graduate School of Business in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The biggest difference was the pace of life, “usually when you travel abroad, time seems to fly, but when you are in Rio, it in fact comes to a grinding halt. Everything about this place screams laidback and relaxed and within days of arriving here, one quickly gets accustomed to the carioca way of living.”


A meal with friends at a trendy Rio de Janeiro restaurant

Vinod had been attracted by the EBS Business School MBA program because of its focus on emerging markets (BRIC) and since he is from India and wanted to experience a different culture, he chose Brazil “as it is quite an exotic country and a lot of exciting developments were taking place in its economy.”

With a flair for dancing, Vinod found that in Brazil he could really indulge his passion; “dance and music are very much a part of the Brazilian culture and Rio has plenty to offer... as an avid Salsa dancer, I frequented a spot at the Copa Hostel and learned some Forro as well. With a variety of things to do, you are overwhelmed with tough choices every night. Activities include going to Bossanova concerts, regular nightclubs and bars, funky and samba clubs, shopping in the night flea markets or chilling out at the beach side shacks.”

In Brazil there is still a large amount of cultural disparity and the favelas are a constant reminder of the different income levels in the city. “Your Brazilian classmates and friends will advise you against it, but if curiosity does get the better of you, visit these places with a guide or a trusted resident. I had the chance to go to Rocinha and Vidigal, two favelas quite close to Zona Sul. I saw men walking around carrying huge firearms and selling drugs openly, but what was more surprising was how the general population that was living in the favelas co-existed and led normal lives in what might otherwise be described as dangerous circumstances. The shock on the faces of my Brazilian friends when I told them about my visits indicated how these two worlds were so close yet so far.”

The world famous Rio Carnival attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists who drive up the price of apartments and hostels. Vinod’s lease on his apartment had ended and he was broke “with only R$50 left in my wallet and with the most expensive week of the year still to go.” When Vinod ended up in his real estate agent’s office to hand over keys he realized the agent was facing some problems with finding clients. Ever the businessman Vinod “saw an opportunity and got into an agreement with him to help him out. Leveraging on my previous experience in real estate in Bangalore, I was able to quickly close a deal for an apartment. Furthermore, I gave him some tips on improving his client prospecting process for which he gave me an apartment to stay free of charge in Copacabana which normally would have cost me a fortune!”

Vinod graduated earlier this year and he is now working with a rapidly growing online startup, Les Facettes, in Munich selling high end customised jewellery. The MBA helped him land the job as it gave him the required experience, understanding and maturity for the role.

Vinod looking deservedly pleased with himself on his EBS business school graduation day

If you had asked Vinod what his dream job would have been last year he would have said consulting but now believes his current job is pretty much perfect. “At Les Facettes, I am able to contribute meaningfully and have a direct impact on the business.”

And where does Vinod see himself in ten years? “Lying on a beach with six pack abs. Seriously!”