EWMBA IBD “São Paulo” is Archana Prasad, Sanat Kamal Bahl, Sireesh Potireddy, and Eileen Treanor. The group was paired with a public Brazilian Software Company to help with an M&A project. We were based in São Paulo for the two weeks.
Bon gia, Bon gia! First there were four, then there were three and at the last-minute due to the unfortunate events at SFO there were nearly two. The Team lost Archana to unfortunate Visa issues, meaning she wasn’t able to travel to Brazil and Sanat was delayed with the events at SFO, but thankfully made it in time for Team São Paulo’s first day and presentation to the CFO and direct reports.
The presentation went well even when the CFO asked us to do additional analysis and provide an updated presentation within 30 mins. It was interesting exploring the office, work environment, and culture. They work long hours here, and there are banks of coffee machines to keep everybody going. Our client didn’t have a cafeteria so everyday we got to sample a different flavor of local Brazilian cuisine. What was surprising was the availability of Japanese Cuisine in São Paulo, apparently the largest Japanese community outside of Japan is based here, which explained the availability of really high quality Japanese food.
That evening we took a walk along the famed Paulista Avenue, it feels like the center of São Paulo, a lively Avenue bristling with shops, restaurants, high-rise office buildings, and locals. One high-rise building was completely covered in a neon version of the Brazilian Flag.
Our second day in São Paulo coincided with the city’s national holiday, July 9th, the anniversary of the Constitutionalist Revolution, where there was a large parade of military and police vehicles in the main park in the city that went on for a couple of hours, it was really exciting to see and catch a glimpse of the locals relaxing and enjoying themselves.
We also got to see another side of Brazilian life when a union protest was scheduled in downtown São Paulo during our first week. Recent protests had turned violent so our client recommended we work from our hotel, we caught a glimpse of the protests, which had an almost parade like atmosphere, and thankfully the biggest disruption was to rush hour traffic.
The middle weekend we took a well earned break and the team split up into two groups, Eileen went to Iguazu Falls while the others headed to Rio de Janeiro for the weekend. Iguazu was truly amazing and a recommended stop for anyone visiting Brazil. It is truly one of the natural wonders of the world. Rio was stunningly beautiful with phenomenal views from the top of the Corocovado and the Sugar Loaf.
After our weekend of adventuring it was back to São Paulo for our last week, we had our big final presentation to the CFO on Friday and it was time to start putting everything together, although there were some late nights we took a break to catch a local soccer derby match where the winners would be crowned Copa Sudamerica, even the atmosphere on the way to the stadium was electric as these two titans of Latin American soccer prepared to face each other. The famed Pacembu was the venue for the game, it was truly an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable experience. We had never seen such loyal and enthusiastic support and when Corinthians won in their home ground the stadium erupted in a blaze of fireworks.
Back to work, and with only two days left the team was burning the midnight oil to get the presentation ready for the CFO on Friday afternoon.
Nothing could rattle this Berkeley team, even when the client asked us to start the presentation early, we were ready. Job done, and our IBD experience is almost over, such a fun and unique experience. Time to get back to reality.