Zooming to the End: A Goodbye to Plus3 Global Projects

Welcome to my fourth and final blog post of my Plus3 Global Projects journey! These past three and a half weeks have been a blast. From educational to transformative, there are an unlimited number of words that I could use to describe this project. 

I am sad today that this will be the last list of favorite moments that I highlight for this study abroad experience:

  • Peru Company Talk: Melanie Cornejo, the Chief Medical Innovation Officer of Auna, showcased how the company started as an oncology company and how it has expanded to serving thousands of people with its in-class hospital network. I found it amazing that Auna began in 2011, but has already collected 32% of the private market share; it does not seem that Auna’s business is slowing down any time soon.
  • Argentina Company Talk: BioMarin had two representatives come and speak with us. Their presentation was slightly different, with less of an emphasis on their business, and more discussion of Argentina as a whole. What I found most interesting about the company is that it has no competitors; that is extremely hard to come by nowadays.
  • Brazilian Capoeira Workshop: The instructor began with explaining Capoeira music and the instruments involved. I have never heard music like this before, so it was definitely a cultural experience. As we began to dance, I really enjoyed moving in the morning! The moves all flowed with each other, making the dance not too difficult to learn. Also, watching his students do such an acrobatic act was amazing. 
  • Scavenger Hunt: It was great to meet other students outside of my team. Luckily for me, it was easy to find all the objects because I was in my room, but I was impressed by other students who were not at home that managed to find so many objects. It was also great to learn about other students’ favorite foods and something that represented their home city. 

Throughout this experience, I have come to truly understand the concept of having faith in my teammates. As you have seen in my previous blog posts, it has been challenging to establish a strong foundation of trust among my team with being virtual and busy with other life activities. Given that there was not as much trust as there could have been, I had to have faith in my team members to do their respective work.

As with any group, I did not know what was happening in every one of my team member’s lives. At the beginning of the project, it was difficult to have faith in my team members because we were not quite in sync. Even if my team members did not show up or participate in meetings, I had to believe that they were doing their respective work outside of class. This realization came as time went on because I knew the members who showed up to the meeting were understanding the task at hand. Having faith proved to be an important lesson that I will take with me throughout the rest of my college and life experience.

Faith, which will be part of my forever business culture, is important in any workplace setting. Various elements of business culture impacted my work on the project; two elements in particular were communication and relationship-building. As highlighted in my second blog post, communication had a huge impact on my work on the project. Consulting is not something I have experience with, especially for a real company. With Marcia’s first language not being English, it was sometimes difficult to understand exactly what she wanted from my team. It took extra clarification between my team and the managers of Plus3 to really comprehend what we needed to present for Marcia.

Additionally, communication among team members was more difficult in our breakout rooms than it would have been in person. Sometimes we would speak over one another, which would slow us down and create some confusion. Since three of my team members’ native language was not English, it also generated some confusion when they were attempting to tell us something that they did not know the English word for. 

Another aspect of business culture that impacted my project was relationship-building. Similar to my realization in my previous blog posts, task-based trust is less helpful when trying to create relationships. I did want to become friends with my teammates, but that was difficult to do when our time together was so limited. Meeting outside of class was challenging because we have academics and work to attend to. However, despite the lack of relationship-building, I am satisfied with the relationships I managed to build with my four other teammates. 

Besides learning key lessons and reflecting on business culture’s impact on my project, I have also developed various transferable skills that I can apply to my current and future professional life. In the context of not being able to meet my client, the transferable skill that I found extremely important and necessary was adaptability. My team and I initially believed this consulting project to be a full breakdown of her company to suggest novel ways to improve her business structure from various business perspectives. As time went on, we were not receiving the information necessary to do such an in-depth analysis of Senior Concierge, which signaled to me that my team was doing something wrong. 

That is when I asked for clarification about the project, which involves communication skills. Here is where the adaptability kicked in. My team was viewing this global project from a different and incorrect perspective that we should not have been doing. Being that this program was only a short three and a half weeks, we had no time to spare. I immediately explained to my team that we had to quickly navigate this change in our project to suit what Marcia was looking for. 

Luckily for me, my team adapted speedily and we were on track with new task assignments within an hour. This demonstrated to me that adaptability is a key element in consulting. Although I may not be a consultant in the future, it is still an important transferable skill that I can apply to any job I have. Especially since I wish to be in the digital marketing industry, the adaptability and flexibility in that industry is large; this helps me prepare for that.

Along with the transferable skills I developed, I also have an amazing talking point for any professional interview. To explain this project, I would say the following: “Plus3 Global Projects was my first hands-on consulting experience during my college career. Of course I wished this experience was in person, but I wanted to take any opportunity I could get to be involved with Pitt Business and study abroad. From meeting new students to learning about Latin American culture, I was extremely happy with this experience.” 

Moreover, I would showcase that I was able to blog about my short three week experience. These blogs have allowed me to process and understand what I have been learning throughout the global project. Having a place full of my thoughts and writings to look back at is a great way to see how I have grown. It also provides me with a way to share my great experience with peers and possible coworkers. 

If I were given the chance in an interview to elaborate much further, I would speak of how right before this experience, I took Fundamentals of Business Communication. In this course, my group was a consulting company for Hilton Hotels, but the client was not real, thus rendering this consulting experience not real as well. The thought process and concepts used to complete the business proposal, report, and presentation were very similar to this Plus3 experience. 

However, it was also very different. Marcia explained what her company was, her motivations behind it, and what she wanted from us. Being given such a specific direction of what to accomplish and what deliverables she wanted is a completely different experience than my course. Seeing that Plus3 Global Projects was meant to provide hands-on experience with consulting, I would say I did in fact gain lots of real world experience.

All in all, I would love to thank the Pitt Business Study Abroad team and Campus B for providing me and other students with such a great experience. Meeting new students from around the world and professors with different perspectives have provided me with the best way to end my freshman year. I cannot wait to join Pitt Business in future study abroad experiences. Thank you for reading my final blog post – I hope to write again soon!

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