High-Impact Entrepreneurship

eMBA Field Report: ‘Me Encanta Uruguay’

Abdullah Alshalabi is an MBA student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and was an eMBA at Todomedia in Uruguay.

I was lucky enough to do an internship with Endeavor and even luckier to do it with Todomedia in Uruguay. You may say that I’m exaggerating, but I swear I’m not. First, I’m from Kuwait and I don’t think any Kuwaiti has ever been in Uruguay. Secondly, Uruguay won Copa America while I was there, now this is a GREAT coincidence.

I did this internship along with one of my best friends, Rufino de La Rosa from Spain, and without him I would definitely have gotten lost in this Spanish world. The project was to assist the company with developing a new product and to build a business plan for this new product. We started our project with understanding the industry and understanding our clients through conducting many face-to-face interviews, phone interviews and surveys. After understanding our client’s needs, we developed our product and currently working in developing our marketing strategy and the financial model.

The work in Todomedia was interesting and fun at the same time. Uruguay was a big part of making this internship so exciting. One of Endeavor employees asked me to “Describe Uruguay in four words?” and I answered:

– Friendly people
– Football
– Meat
– Mate (A local drink)

Uruguayan people are SUPER friendly. People in Todomedia and Endeavor were extremely nice, and to me this makes all the difference. They made me feel like being at home when I was so far away from Kuwait. We exchanged a lot of culture experiences (as you can see below).

I have to say — football is a big thing over here. It was always fun watching the Uruguay national team playing in Copa America with our Uruguayan friends. The fact that they won the cup is just amazing. We had lots of fun celebrating the winning and had lots of good memories. Additionally, we were playing football almost every week, either with Todomedia or with Endeavor.

Furthermore, the best meat (beef) I ever tasted in my life was cooked by Todomedia CEO, Sebastian Lateulade. He cooked it for an event called Asado. What is Asado? A monthly barbecue social event in Uruguay. Seriously, the meat was so good that we were discussing opening a restaurant back in Kuwait.

Finally, let me tell you about something special about being Uruguayan. It’s called Mate. Mate is a local drink, non-alcoholic, that you can’t find any place to buy, but you will find everyone drinking it. You should prepare Mate yourself or if you are lucky enough someone will offer it to you. Uruguayan people enjoy spending their weekend afternoons drinking Mate in front of the sea, and I enjoyed doing that as well. I got addicted to Mata and hopefully I will be able to drink it in other parts of the World.

The eMBA internship in Uruguay was one of the best experiences I’ll ever come along and it showed me how a small country can have such ambition. Hopefully one day I’ll get to go back!

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