By Jacob Ritvo
Working in another language is hard. Basic skills that are second nature in English become taxing in Spanish—reading takes longer, listening demands greater concentration, and writing and speaking require considerable thought just to form a cogent sentence. Plus, there is the challenge of learning colloquialisms (por favor becomes porfa) and growing my business vocabulary (it turns out EBITDA is also EBITDA in Spanish). And yet, my first two weeks as an eMBA with Cinemagic in Puebla, Mexico, have been nothing short of wonderful.My first assignment was to prepare a series of presentations on Cinemagic’s business model and CSR programs—two for a pair of case discussions on Cinemagic with international students at IPADE Business School, plus one for a session on disruptive technologies and products that Roberto Quintero, the founder, will participate in at the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. Researching and assembling the presentations proved to be a great vehicle for better understanding our business model, customers, and industry. Although I still don’t know Cinemagic inside and out, I know it well enough to now set my sights on tackling some of the challenges we face with regard to competitive, financial, and customer strategies.
Roberto and his co-founder Pepe Irigoyen have been gracious about including me in top-level meetings, seeking my opinions as a consultant and introducing me to the way business is done in Mexico. I’ve joined them at a pitch to investors, negotiations between Cinemagic, a real estate developer, and the mayor of a city where we want to build a cinema, a conference on social responsibility with business leaders from across Mexico, and the aforementioned sessions with IPADE students.
Roberto, Pepe, and my other coworkers have also been extremely welcoming and hospitable, taking me on tours of Puebla and neighboring Cholula, inviting me to break bread with their families, and introducing me to local culture. Tonight, we’re off to las luchas (Mexican wrestling) as an office, and there is much more interesting work and fun activities in store.