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Hands-on Learning Through INSEAD Field Trips

Professor Casanova talks about 'Field Trip to Brazil' one of the 75 elective courses at INSEAD

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Thu Mar 15 2012


BusinessBecause loves this INSEAD interview with Professor Casanova where she tells us more about the elective she teaches in Brazil:

Four months into the INSEAD MBA programme, students can start choosing from over 75 elective courses, ranging from “Negotiations” to “Private Equity”, “Brand Management” or “New Business Ventures”. One type of elective, popular amongst students, is a field trip led by faculty members. The field trips that are frequently offered include travel to China, India, Middle East, and the Silicon Valley. 

“Field Trip to Brazil” is taught by Professor Lourdes Casanova. Professor Casanova is a Fulbright Scholar with a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California and a PhD from the University of Barcelona. As well as being a lecturer in strategy at INSEAD, Professor Casanova also directs executive programs aimed at senior managers from global multinationals and serves as a consultant of companies operating in Latin America.

What is the objective of this elective? Why is this region so important?
“Over the last decade, Latin American firms have expanded aggressively on a global scale. In the course, we explore how some of these Latin American's leaders have been able to succeed internationally and how they are changing the competitive environment for multinationals from the developed world. From its membership in the BRICs to its leadership role in the exclusive club of G20 countries, Brazil has emerged as a pivotal player in global governance.

The goal of the elective is to learn more about this giant and the region. Moreover, the current buoyant Latin American economy has for many highlighted the stark contrast with the recession-struck economies of Europe and the US. For some, such contrasts indicate fundamental shifts in the global economy toward the 'Global South-East' and herald the future of the world order. “

How do the class-based elective and field trip to Brazil go together? How is the course taught?
“There is no better way to learn about the business environment of a region or a country than to interact with some of its executives and visit local companies. The five-day field trip to Brazil will complement the learning in the classroom.

The trip is a tremendous opportunity, to get to know the most important Brazilian business city, Sao Paulo, to be exposed to real life business cases, network with business leaders, including INSEAD alumni, and to make additional contacts for your future career. The elective is based on readings and classroom discussions as well as guest speakers and student presentations.”

Why do you think the course is of such interest to INSEAD students? What value do they derive?
This course is designed for MBA students who are interested in deepening their understanding about emerging multinationals from Brazil and Latin America. Specifically, it is very relevant to MBAs who have already been involved in or plan to be engaged in developing business activities in Brazil and neighbouring Latin American countries.

Awareness and a good understanding of the Brazilian environment (political, economic, and cultural) are indispensable for succeeding in business in Brazil and this course facilitates such an understanding.

You have been teaching at INSEAD for over 12 years now - why do you enjoy it?
“I really enjoy teaching at INSEAD as it is a great opportunity to interact with young diverse people and create new knowledge together”.

This story was originally published in the INSEAD newsletter. For more information on field trips or any other academic matters, please contact the INSEAD MBA team

More about students, alumni and programmes at INSEAD here