High-Impact Entrepreneurship

eMBA field report: explosive IT growth, exuberant dancing and a steak that will make you cry in Bogotá

Manuel Alvarez Ortega is an MBA candidate at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  He is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur company Aranda Software through Endeavor’s eMBA Program

I’m already halfway through my internship in Bogotá and time is flying.  I came to Colombia from Hong Kong to work with Aranda, a local software company, on their expansion strategy in Mexico and Brazil.  I must say that the experience has been quite rewarding so far both personally and professionally.

Colombian people have shown themselves to be very warm and welcoming.  I arrived from Hong Kong at 10 p.m. and three of my co-workers were waiting for me at the airport.  They took me to a very nice apartment they had rented for me and filled with food for the next few days. After taking the next morning to recover from my trip and jetlag, I was taken to Aranda’s offices to meet the rest of my colleagues.

I’m lucky to have arrived just a few months after the company moved to their new offices, which are really nice.  They have wide open and well-lit spaces: an entertainment room with sofas, a TV and videogames where you can calmly have a cup of coffee and chat with co-workers during breaks, and a meeting room where they gather the last Friday of every month to celebrate all of the month’s birthdays with a cake and to introduce the recently hired personnel and talk about general issues.

Outside of the workplace, I’ve been able to enjoy visiting various tourist attractions, such as Monserrate mountain, the historical quarter of La Candelaria and even La Calera at the city outskirts for horseback riding. I’ve had the opportunity to rumbear (the local way to say “party”) at night to and try the wide variety of dances (which, I have to admit, I still can’t tell apart that well). The food has also been great. After one year in Hong Kong eating all sort of Asian food, which I love, I’ve enjoyed trying the different South American flavors. I almost cried when I ate my first good beef steak here.  It is not easy to find them in China.

Working with Aranda has been awesome. It is very rewarding to work with a relatively new company that is fighting against the market leaders in the region in such a competitive environment as the IT industry. I have also been amazed by the entrepreneurial spirit I have sensed in the region, not only within Aranda, but everywhere. It grabbed my attention that several people asked me about businesses I have seen in China but not in Colombia and the other way around when I said I came from Hong Kong. That has not often happened to me in other places.

To summarize, the experience of working with Endeavor and Aranda has been great and I would recommend it to anybody wiling to explore other regions and markets and who are passionate about entrepreneurship.

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