High-Impact Entrepreneurship

MBA students, on working with Endeavor company Aguamarina

A recent post introduced the MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Project) program at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. The program connects teams of first-year MBA students to businesses around the world, giving them a seven-week hands-on experience inside a company. This year, Endeavor partnered with the MAP program, offering Ross students the opportunity to work with three Endeavor-supported companies. The last post spotlighted students who worked with Top Systems in Uruguay. This one features the students who traveled to Chile to work with Aguamarina.

Led by Endeavor Entrepreneur Pamela Chavez-Crooker, Aguamarina is a Chilean biotech research and development company. The firm offers laboratory services to local copper mines and develops prototypes for environmentally-responsible products that increase the efficiency of copper extraction.

While millions heard about the Chilean copper mine collapse last year, few know that the copper industry comprises 45% of Chile’s exports—making it a key sector of the economy.

“When we set off for Chile, we had a basic understanding the scale of the mining operations,” says Kyle Schmidt, one of the MAP project team members, “but when we got there we realized it’s bigger than you could possibly imagine.”

While the team spent some time in the field, most of their time was spent working in the office or the lab. “We gained exposure to what the company does and how it works and we were even able to arrange meetings with a couple of Pamela’s big clients, which was fascinating,” Kyle says.

Fellow team member Jonathan Sabatini emphasized the applicability of his team’s combined business knowledge: “Working with Aguamarina was an incredible opportunity to tackle real business challenges faced by entrepreneurial companies, using the skills learned in the MBA program at the University of Michigan.” His team, whose backgrounds ranged from brand management to finance to management consulting, was able to provide both learned skills and proactive guidance to Aguamarina.

Despite their limited knowledge of the copper mining industry going into the project, the team was not deterred from diving in. In fact, they feel their outsider perspective was likely an asset to the company, which, as participant Cory Padesky said, “was getting ready to scale up.” He adds, “We realized that they didn’t have anybody to sit down and think about what they should do next. They were just trying to keep the company going. We were helping to come up with their future solutions.”

Encouraged by their work with the company, the group also appreciated the larger network that Endeavor provided to them and Aguamarina. “I got a sense that Endeavor really helps its companies throughout the process from start up to scaling,” says Cory. “I’m glad I could be a small part of that.”

When they weren’t working, the team had a blast exploring the beautiful surroundings and engaging in the local culture and festivities. Check out some of their great photos on Facebook!

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