World Business Dialogue

I had the chance to attend the World Business Dialogue in March 2015 in Cologne, Germany as a delegate. The dialogue took place on March 8th – 13th at the University of Cologne. It was a GREAT experience. I was the only person from Venezuela at the event.

During the first three days, I had the chance to take some classes on how to better myself, network with students from all over the world, and make long lasting friendships. I also had the chance to go visit the city of Cologne, Bonn, and Dortmund. In case you are wondering, I did visit the Haribo store and BVB Borussia Dortmund stadium.

Thursday and Friday was the main conference. The conference included panels, talks, and discussions from well-known speakers from the corporate world, as well as Politics and science. The best thing about the last two days, was that we could interact with the speakers. It also amazed me the kind of conversations I was able to have with other delegates after the talks.

The highlight of this conference was the like-minded people that attended and meeting the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende. I recommend this conference to any student interested in broadening their business acumen. It is also a great place and environment to increase your network with the best students from around the world. Overall it was a GREAT experience.


Research abroad in India

In the fall semester of 2012 Professor Yelkur, Sam, Ellen and I agreed to collaborate on an India research project.

We applied for a university grant and our request was approved over similar research proposals which made our trip to India possible.

Our project was called: A Study of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) of U.S. Multinationals in India and the objectives were to:
– Study the characteristics of suppliers engaged in BPO in India
– Study the human resource implications in the host country (India)
– Study the socio-cultural implications of BPO in the host country (India)

To accomplish the objectives we followed a plan:
– Literature review of BPO industry
– Survey – we administered two surveys (employer and employee) to BPO firms in India. The surveys were IRB approved.
– Personal Interviews – we conducted personal interviews with employees and managers of BPO firms in India. The interviews were IRB approved.
– Observation – we documented personal observation of BPO firms, working conditions, size of the work floor, technology available, employee attitudes, and other characteristics of the firms.
– Analysis – the data was analyzed and compiled by Professor Yelkur, Sam and Ellen using SPSS software and qualitative data analysis tools such as AtlasTi.

Note: I had since graduated and couldn’t participate in the analysis portion.

The results:
– Employees of outsourcing companies have noticed changes in their personal development and lifestyle through interaction with US-based clients.
– Purchasing power and spending behavior of BPO employees has increased
– Working hours have placed constraints on work/life balance and normal personal routines. Routines have changed to cater to working hours.
– Work-Family Flexibility Willingness has a significant positive impact on Turnover Intentions of employees.

Note: 58 unique interviews were conducted on-site in Bangalore, India. Interviews took place at three different firms engaged either primarily or entirely in Business Process Outsourcing. All company names and employee identities have been kept confidential.

During my stay in India, I was really surprised about their fast-pace growing economy and language diversity. India was a unique experience and the highlights of the trip were the IT companies visited, Taj Mahal, and rumali roti (flatbread). This was a great opportunity to get to know IT businesses and how they are conducted there. I cannot name the companies that I visited because of the research but they were global and big national companies. To have that opportunity of visiting their campuses, speaking with the employees, discovering what they are working on and what kind of technologies they are using was pretty exciting. I was really surprised by the number of women working in the technology sector, especially given their culture. That said I understand now that younger people think and act really different as their parents do. Overall, I totally recommend to visit India and their ever growing technology corporations if you have the opportunity.

If you still are interested in this collaborative research please read our presentation.


Studying abroad in China

During the summer of 2012 I participated in the China study abroad program offered by the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. The program consisted of a two-week introduction to the business culture of China at Jinan University, Zhuhai Campus. The main portion of the program was hosted by Jinan University Zhuhai located on the southern coast of the Guangdong Province. I stayed a total of ten days in Zhuhai which allowed for weekend excursions. During the first weekend we visited Guangzhou and Shenzhen the second weekend we departed to Hong Kong to visit business and historical sites.

Some of the classes taken during my China stayed were:
– Oral Chinese: International business etiquette by Professor Jane Liquin
– Chinese Culture (Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen) by Professor Jane Liquin
– International Transportation and Distribution by Professor Gang YiQian (Frank)
– International Trade: Global Production Networks by Professor Bu Guoqin
– International Investment by Professor Zhaobin Fan and the Hengqin Executive Finance Director Dr. Yan Wu
– Financial Investments by Dr. Shangguo Huang (Jacky)
– International Production and Management by Professor Dr. Ting Fang Yang

The companies I visited were:
– Gree Electric Appliances (Zhuhai)
– Print-Rite (Zhuhai)- Reminda (Zhuhai)
– W.S.M Fashion Co., Ltd. (Zhuhai)
– H&T International Transportation (Shenzhen)
– Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong)
– Hong Kong Trade Development Council (Hong Kong)

I felt that the Chinese manufacturing and Hong Kong service companies were a major highlight of the trip! This was a great opportunity to learn how companies conduct business in another country. The most amazing part of visiting the companies was how seeing how Chinese manufacturing works and how they treat their employees. The treatment of the employees is not the best compared to the US culture, the manufacturing workers work for an extended amount of hours (around 60 – 80 hours a week, most of the time not by choice) and with little to no benefits. Also, their job is highly monotonous and the possibilities to advance their careers are extremely limited. But these workers have no choice but to abide by these Chinese manufacturing standards because the demand for any job is so high, that companies aren’t concerned about finding a replacement for any employee.

The value of the study abroad experience for me is immeasurable as I learned a lot of information about China that I probably wouldn’t have discovered if I had not traveled to the country. I also had the experience of visiting in a corporate environment and learning new things every day without being in a traditional classroom. I believe that this trip has helped me value the Chinese culture and what I have at home. Ultimately, I enjoyed the Chinese culture, traditions, food, people, and language.

If you still are interested in learning more about my China experience please read my reflection paper.


Research abroad in Venezuela

Summer 2010, I went home (Venezuela) for summer break and to research for my independent study 1 credit class. I decided to conduct my study on the Effects of the Labor Immobility Law (Job Security Law) on the Economic Development of the Private Sector in Venezuela. This research was later presented at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Foreign Language Symposium, the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire 19th Annual Student Research day, the University of Wisconsin – System Symposium, and the North Central Council of Latin Americanist.

Job security means the employee has a secure job that is under the jurisdiction of the courts. To achieve this, a labor immobility law was enacted in Venezuela in 2002 by former President Hugo Chavez and it has been extended without any interruption for socioeconomic reasons. Since the implementation of the law, the government has shown constant economic growth figures. This apparent positive effect of the law is paradoxical given that the government has subsequently also put into practice other drastic measures to preserve employment. Nevertheless, economist and financial advisers say that these numbers are not 100% reliable, because inside this rate of employment are all people that are enrolled in the government missions (social programs) and people that work in the informal sector. The presidential labor immobility decree is a measure established by the government to protect all the workers that earn less than three minimum wages.

Further investigation alludes that the immobility decree to avoid unemployment has become an excuse to those employees that do not feel any stimulus to improve production, or responsibilities in their tasks, because they are protected by the decree. This decree has created limitations to the businessmen in their autonomy to program his/her industry and be more efficient.

After the extensive research and interviews conducted in Venezuela in laymen terms the employers in Venezuela tend to evade its content producing a contrary desire effect. In other words, a bigger structural unemployment. This is because it is not allowed for the personnel to be working in some industries longer than 3 months. What industries do is rotate personnel and for this reason, these employees are not protected from the immobility decree. But this has its direct consequences too which is an increment in the cost for the industry to select and training of new employees.

Through this investigation I concluded that the immobility decree to avoid unemployment has become leeway to those employees that don’t feel any stimulus to improve production or responsibilities in their tasks, because they know that whatever they do, they cannot be laid-off, in case that the employer needs to fire the employee. The employee will negotiate a large amount of money with the employer in order for him/her to resign and this employee would still receive unpaid wages through this process.

If you wish to learn more please read my research poster or contact me via the about page.


Studying abroad in Germany

After my High School graduation (July 2007) I decided to study abroad in Germany. I chose Germany due to opportunity learn a new language, reflect on their history, and explore the culture.

I traveled abroad through the EF (Education First) organization and was placed in downtown Berlin. This was just 5 minute walk to Alexanderplatz which is popular location in the inner city. I had an awesome host family who were extremely welcoming and supportive throughout my entire stay. I attended Johan – Gottfried Herder Gymnasium (the name of the High School) and I also had German language classes in the Volkshochschule (an institute to learn German). During my stay in Germany I was able to travel to various countries in Europe and had the opportunity to visit Morocco in Africa and Turkey in Asia.

Studying abroad opened my eyes to see the world in a different manner and made me realize that I wanted to keep studying abroad and traveling. The experience helped me decided to pursue my bachelor degree at University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, USA.