Guest entry – Real life, real learnings in Mexico

Today’s guest entry is by Denis Kuzmenko, from Kazakhstan, who was instrumental in organising the social activity that the MBAs completed in Mexico.

No day is the same in Mexico and our discovery trip to Monterrey was full of memorable events. We started with the legendary Lego manufacturing plant and Walmart Central American distribution center, where we discussed their future development plans and potential and learned about worlds’ best operational practices. We met outstanding people, like Ramon Alberto Garza, Luis Chapa, Juan Gonzalez Morales, Carolina Garza and many others who not only built their careers successfully, but also changed the way the business is done. It was a great learning, however we wanted to leave a footprint here as well.

The MBA 2016 class with the help of the MBA office initiated a series of social activities to give back to the communities around us. We thought our discovery of Mexico would not be complete without giving back to the local society that greeted us so well. Thus, our group has volunteered to contribute to the social initiative of Carolina Garza, founder of Dignificación en Acción, who helps people under the poverty line to make their houses more comfortable to live in. IMD supported the initiative and provided us with the necessary equipment. This is how our journey began.

On the way to Santa Catarina, one of the poorest districts of Monterrey, we were shocked to see the sharp difference between the districts we were passing by. A 15 minutes’ drive from the richest neighborhood gets you to a district with carton houses and total absence of fresh water and necessary facilities. Our mission was to improve the carton walls of the houses with tetra pack materials to make them more resistant to extreme weather changes, but what was more important – to give them hope, show them that they are not forgotten and that there are always people who care, think of them and want to help.

It took us 3 hours to complete the improvement of 2 houses. Working under 35C made us really feel how is it to be inside. Nevertheless, the tears of gratitude in the eyes of an old lady – owner of one of the houses were priceless. We hope that our participation will help Carolina attract more attention to the problem and make her city a better place to live for everyone.

santa catarina_crop

I am very happy we could make it. The contrast we saw was impressive and helped us learn about the other side of the successful and rich business city. However, another discovery for me was to see the importance of having a dream and goal in your life. Those people have almost nothing to lose but so many things to gain and I was glad to see our visit and short talks gave some of them new dreams to follow and lit their eyes up.

Denis

Denis Kuzmenko
IMD MBA 2016 Candidate Denis.kuzmenko@MBA2016.imd.ch