Business Argentina 2024

Guest Post By: Griffin Terry, a Senior studying Human Resources Management, CISB, and Global and Regional Studies. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and he studied abroad through Business Argentina during Winter Quarter 2024.

During Seattle’s cold and dreary Winter Quarter, I, along with 18 other Foster Students traveled to experience the southern hemisphere’s Summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We stayed in a beautiful 45 story building known as the “Bellini Esmeralda Tower”. Whenever we would ask someone was in their apartment, we would never ask, “are you home?”, but rather we would always ask “are you at Bellini?”. From our different apartments within Bellini, we had some of the most amazing views of the city of Buenos Aires. Some rooms had incredible views of the Río de la Plata, the widest river in the world, which separates Argentina from Uruguay, and others had spectacular views of the inland city, which would stretch out as far as the eye can see. 

We were accompanied by Professors Ou, Matthews, and Mamani from Foster, who all ensured that we would not have a lazy time school wise in Buenos Aires. Along with taking core Foster classes, we also visited local Argentine companies. We visited one of the largest energy providers in Argentina, called Pampa Energía. From them, they presented to us about their company and how they incorporated Argentina’s extremely volatile economic environment into their long-term strategic plans. In fact, while we were in Argentina, it overtook Venezuela and became the country with the highest inflation rate in the entire world. While the US inflation rate peaked at around nine percent, which caused widespread social anger here, the Argentine inflation rate has reached up to 275%, depending on who is reporting it. I started checking their inflation rate when I first committed to the project last Spring, and back then it was only around 112%, so this is an ever-worsening crisis. Their new, controversial president, Javier Milei, was a topic of conversation everywhere we went, and hopefully he will be able to solve Argentina’s inflation crisis. 

Another company that we visited while there was Nestlé Argentina. The marketing team for the Dolce Gusto instant coffee machine. While most countries can be separated into coffee and tea countries, Argentina, along with its neighbor, Uruguay, and regions of its other neighbors, Paraguay and Brazil, are firmly within the Yerba Mate category. In fact, it is arguably the most noticeable aspect that visitors will witness when visiting Argentina. Almost everyone, whether on the street, on the bus, or relaxing in the park, will be carrying a large thermos of water, a cup made out of a gourd, and a metal straw with a filter on the bottom protruding from their gourd. The consumption of Yerba Mate started with the indigenous Guaraní people, and now is almost completely universal in Argentina today. The Dolce Gusto marketing team cited the near total complete market dominance of Yerba Mate as one of their greatest obstacles. That being said, all of us tried Yerba Mate our first night in the city, and few had anything good to say about its flavor. While we were warned that it would be bitter, the strength and astringency of its taste was definitely something that required getting used to.