Team salaUno is comprised of Thomas Chuang, Stephanie Lai, Aarti Shetty, and Shailendra Srivastava. salaUno is a high-volume eye clinic in Mexico City exemplifying the Haas defining principle, beyond yourself. Co-founded by Haas alum Carlos Orellana (MBA/MPH 2010), salaUno is a for-profit social enterprise that seeks to eliminate needless blindness by providing low-cost cataract surgeries. We are developing salaUno’s value proposition for ophthalmologists.
After a red-eye flight, we arrived in Mexico at 5:30 am, astonished that we could transport ourselves in merely four hours to a foreign country completely different from the U.S.
Alvaro Peon Sanchez (EWMBA 2014) graciously invited us to stay at his parents’ house in Cuernacava, a beautiful city in the outskirts of Mexico City. When we reached the Sanchez home, a traditional Mexican breakfast of chilaquiles was waiting for us! It was such a dreamy morning with the rain pitter-pattering on their gorgeous lawn. After breakfast, we then moved to the living room where our resident musician Stephanie played the piano, as Alvaro’s father sang Broadway show tunes. We then went to the Cuernacava market, where we bought silver jewelry, which is popular in Mexico.
Alvaro’s mother, Beatriz, took us to the Robert Brady museum, which houses an eclectic collection of religious, folk, and ethnic art, including oil paintings by Frida Kahlo.
After visiting the local grocery store to buy ingredients to cook dinner for our generous hosts, Aarti, a 2-Michelin star chef, led the charge in the kitchen.
After a great home stay at the Sanchez home, we traveled to Mexico City, salaUno’s headquarters. Our first day at salaUno began with an all-hands Monday meeting. Everyone took turns to introduce themselves, and very soon we realized that we were the only non-Spanish speaking people there! We began our work with four back-to-back interviews with salaUno doctors. It was great putting faces to many e-mail interactions that we’ve had in the last few weeks. We validated some of our initial hypotheses, and some new ideas also surfaced. Carlos later took us for a tour of salaUno’s three buildings, where we witnessed the patient flow through the busy hospital: http://youtu.be/Csy9xFFc7rU
At 2 pm, which is normal lunch time in Mexico, we went out to lunch with Carlos to an Argentinian cafe, where we ate hunks of meat! Lunch apparently is the big meal of the day here. Carlos, who embodies confidence without attitude, encouraged us to question the status quo at salaUno. After lunch, we re-convened and analyzed our interview takeaways using Post-It notes. Thank you PFPS! We are now ready for our Round 2 of interviews tomorrow.
Our experience in Mexico has been exciting and fun so far! The only glitch is our inability to communicate in Spanish for the most basic life necessities! As students always, we’d love to learn from you. What are some Spanish phrases that will help us get around these next two weeks?!