|DONOR IMPACT: BUILDING A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE|
THE DANIEL HAIME GUTT ENDOWMENT HELPS STUDENTS ADD INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE TO THEIR EDUCATION
Six school of Business MBA students put their growing business knowledge to real use last year through a project that found them consulting on-site with a midsize company in Lima, Peru. Their efforts — including performing business, operational and technical analysis — helped the owner manage his inventory of marble, granite and other building materials more efficiently. And, according to Mario Russo (AB ’07, BS ’07, MBA ’10), one of the student consultants, they provided at least one suggestion that the owner was able to implement even before they left the country.
Having majored in computer science as an undergraduate, Russo quickly zeroed in on the company’s technology needs, finding free, open-source software that would enable its owner to manage company data online. “He could see the sales reports and operational reports without physically having to be in the store,” Russo explains.
“Normally, he would have to ask for a report and then wait a couple weeks. With this tool, he could just log on to a website. That blew his mind. It was instant information, right away.” The consulting project was one of several business and cultural experiences included on the trip, which was made possible with support from the Daniel Haime Gutt Endowment, a recent gift from businessman Daniel Haime Gutt, a longtime friend and supporter of the University, and his wife, Kathy Haime (AB ’83). The endowment helps provide international experiences for MBA students.
“The endowment supports our global initiatives,” says Anuj Mehrotra, the School’s vice dean for graduate business programs and faculty affairs and a professor of management science. “Its focus is international. It supports the learning and enrichment experiences that make our students more competitive in the global arena, exposing them to different cultures, different ways of doing business and individuals who could be important to them as their careers progress. These experiences help our students appreciate the nuances of business issues in various parts of the world — a critical skill to develop in today’s economy.”
Daniel Haime Gutt is CEO of the Grasco Group, an international industrial, agro-industrial and real estate conglomerate headquartered in Bogotá, Colombia. Haime says he actively supports the School’s global perspective — particularly when it comes to preparing students for doing business with, and in, Latin America.
In 2009, he initiated an internship program at the Grasco Group for MBA students at the School. It has hosted four students to date. “I believe that the University of Miami’s School of Business is in an impeccable position to develop strong, well-rounded professionals who will bridge the cultural gap between North and South,” Haime says. “As it becomes more and more evident that the United States’ best trade partner is Latin America, we’ll see University of Miami MBAs occupying leadership positions both in U.S. companies doing business in Latin America and in Latin American countries doing business in the States.”
Last year’s trip to Peru was the first program the endowment sponsored. It was organized in collaboration with the Centrum Católica in Lima, one of several institutions around the world that have partnered with the School on educational initiatives. The students learned about cultural and business practices through activities such as academic lectures and seminars at the Centrum, site visits with corporate leaders in Lima, dinners and dance performances. They even made a trip to the famed Nazca lines in northern Peru — a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring a series of designs shallowly carved into the Nazca desert.
“The trip was really well balanced between the academic and cultural sides of things,” says Russo, who adds that the key insights he took away from the trip centered on business. “It was interesting to learn that the things affecting Peru are similar to the things affecting the United States, even from a corporate point of view.” Almira Akimbayeva, an MBA student from Kazakhstan, agrees. “This trip was a great opportunity to practice my skills in international business, especially taking into consideration how completely different Latin America is from my part of the world,” she says.
For Japanese-born student Yasuyuki Ueha, the motivation to join the Peru trip was partly historical. “Although a lot of Japanese emigrated to Peru in the 19th century, there is no substantive economic relationship between Peru and Japan right now,” he says. “I wanted to know how Peruvians live and do business.” Mehrotra says hands-on projects like the students’ consulting wo rk are precisely the experiences that he expects Haime Endowment programs to provide. “When you’re sitting here in the U.S. being taught about these topics, it’s one thing,” he says. “But when you see it in action, you connect what’s being taught in the classroom with what actually happens in the workplace. And that connection is invaluable.”
He points out that the global enrichment experiences the Haime Endowment offers are important whether students ultimately work in their home countries or elsewhere. “Working for multinational corporations in Miami or South Florida, students have a much better understanding of their counterparts in other parts of the world, and an appreciation of the business environments that their colleagues abroad are working in,” he adds.
The Haime Endowment will support a wide breadth of activities, including student trips, exchange programs and conferences with international leaders, with an eye toward both current and future opportunities. “As our needs change, we have the flexibility to use the endowment funds in the ways that work best,” Mehrotra says.
This year, for instance, the endowment will help full-time MBA students partake in the WHU European MBA Summer Institute, “The Changing Environment for International Business in Europe,” at the Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany. It will also help those who wish to attend “Doing Business in Israel” at Tel Aviv University.
“The University of Miami business school is very creative in placing its students in different work and learning Environments,” Haime says. “To be able to help make some of those programs happen is very positive.” While he feels his effort is a modest one, Haime nonetheless adds, “it’s the effort that’s within my reach, and it’s been not only a pleasure to do so, but very gratifying.”
Kathy Haime and husband Daniel Haime Gutt support both the School and the University.
In the business world, do you think men or women are more competitive?