When compared to the culture and energy of Rio or the romantic atmosphere of Paris, Washington D.C. just does not seem quite as exciting. I generally had low or no expectations for this trip, except a bit of interest in our meeting at The World Bank, an organization I have followed quite closely for the last decade and the Brazilian Embassy. Perhaps, though, it was exactly this lack of expectation that made our trip to Washington D.C. so stellar! As we walked through Capital Hill I found myself truly humbled and a bit overwhelmed by the immense amount of global forces housed in a relatively small amount of land. These streets literally rule the world. We met with representatives of The World Bank, UPS, the Senate Finance Committee, the Brazilian Embassy and the law firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge.
All of our meetings were informative and taught me a lot. Even the World Bank gave me new information about global issues and about the organizations revamped tactics to reach its goals. I may differ on certain issues personally, but professionally these interactions are priceless. The Minority Counsel on Trade at the Senate Finance Committee gave insight into the world of international trade and negotiation. He demonstrated the need for multidisciplinary strategies to succeed in trade, which pushed me to research a career in trade negotation (and new product development) further.
The relationship between government and business became evermore apparent for me with each visit. UPS uses a considerable amount of its resources to create and maintain positive relationships with decision-makers in government. If UPS needs a road to deliver a package to a remote location, for example, the company can lobby representatives to push for the road. Then, like magic, a road is built. This is a very simplified description of the process but the amount of influence a company can have on international and local politics is astounding. Another issue of particular importance to many firms is the idea of “green business”. MLA has earned certifications and awards for its “green” offices and UPS has worked hard to be documented as a leader in green practices for its industry. Still it seems that a further shift is needed to focus on green business for its ecological and ethical efforts instead of as a means to efficiency and lower costs of production.
The Brazilian Embassy piqued particular interest because of our upcoming visit to Rio in January! The trade counselor addressed tough questions about Brazil’s environmental, educational and economic interests. I am pleased to see that although the system is far from perfect, the country has made and is making great strides in many areas. Science Without Borders, for example, gives scholarships to Brazilians to study at a university abroad for up to a year, then return to Brazil to complete their program. Programs such as this will only add to Brazil’s continued development and success in the future. I can’t wait to go to Brazil!
For our first trip together, D.C. was a success…and this is just the tip of te iceberg! Thanks to our professor Dr. David Bruce and Ms. Charlene Jefferson for arranging everything and accompanying us to D.C. We got out of town just before Sandy hit, thank goodness. My heart and prayers go out to everyone affected by Sandy’s terror. GPMBA Class of 2013 got to know each other a little better and bonded over our excitement, lack of sleep, and impending doom of 2 midterms and 2 projects due this week! Never a dull moment in GPMBA…and I love it!