Planning a study tour

After nearly a year of preparing and planning for the Peru Study Tour, things are finally starting to come together.  As I look back it seems that this trip has come together better than even I could have imagined.

When Alonso, my study tour leader partner, asked me to help him plan this trip I really had no idea what the process would entail. We began by submitting a 25 page tour proposal that was evaluated by the Global Business Center (GBC) last May.  We knew we were up against some other great teams and that the GBC would only select a handful of us to lead tours.  After the GBC review process, we were invited to interview with the GBC.  We diligently prepared for this step of the process by meeting with past tour leaders and reviewing anticipated interview questions. Within just a few short weeks we discovered our tour had been selected and we were on our way to Peru!

However, as with most things in life, there were a few hurdles we still had to cross. First, we had to do some marketing in order to ensure students knew about our tour.  We attended several events including TGs, formal GBC events, and informal MBAA events to get the word out.  But, when the deadline for student enrollment rolled around we were still short students and needed to sign up more students or risk cancelling the tour.  We decided to focus our efforts on 1st Year Full-Time MBA students and reached them by visiting classes and meeting with them one-on-one.  Within a couple of weeks we had enough students to continue on with our trip.

Another obstacle we still had to overcome was delivering on the great tour we had sold to the GBC and the students.  It was much easier to write down great ideas than implement them.  Between different time zones, languages and cultures we had our hands full.  But, we were persistent and diligent with our efforts to reach companies we wanted to visit. We also worked with a travel agency to help us plan historical, educational, and recreational tours.  They also helped us plan the logistics including transportation and hotels.  Most importantly, Alonso and I worked together to balance the workload and stay positive when the outcome was uncertain.

As I look back over the last nine months I think of all we have accomplished…and, what is still to come.  We leave for Peru on March 12th and I know that this leaves us little time to solidify plans. With mid-terms, spring registration, work, family, and finals all happening between now and then I must admit the task seems insurmountable.  Then I think about the Peruvian beaches we will visit near Ica, the tour of the historical district in Lima, going out to dinner on the colorful streets of Barranco, and visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu with old friends and new friends….and I realize that it will all be worth it and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

  • Guest Blogger, Maria Olagunju, EMBA 2012