Cape Town, First Impressions

March 6, 2017

Sunday, March 5

Everyone has arrived (well except Garry, John and Eugene, but that is a different story). You will never again have “first impressions” of Cape Town and South Africa. Some come early, others arrive late. Some get oriented quickly, others feel a bit lost.  Welcome to our global connections trip for 2017.  Please add a post with your first impressions.  What are the things that jumped out at you right away, knowing that you were in a new country and a new culture?  What let you know that you were in South Africa?


View of Table Mountain from Signal Hill


South Africa 2017

September 2, 2016

Here we go. Welcome to our blog for McCombs Global Connections 2017, with our trip to South Africa.  I’m Orlando Kelm and our GRA this year will be Funda Sarilar. The staff member to accompany us on the trip will be Rebecca Gavillet.

So let’s start with some decision.  Many of our visits are already scheduled, but others we wanted to wait to get your preferences.

First, we would like to take you on a winery tour, including visits with business content.  Here are two wineries that we are considering.  When we have our first meeting, we’d like to get your feedback on which one you prefer:

1. Spier ( is one of the bigger wineries and has a strong sustainability focus and community outreach program. They produce a sustainability report, engage community stakeholders and have an environmental tilt. They grow a wide variety, and have global distribution. 

2. Delheim ( the other hand is one of the few wineries that is still family owned and gives a taste (no pun intended), of the old vineyard culture transitioning for modern demand. It’s into the hills of Stellenbosch with great views. 

Second, we hope to take you on a visit that has a marketing/advertising focus.  Here are 4 options that we have been looking at.  We’d like to get your feedback on preferences:

  1.  Publicis Machine

2.  Red Bull Amaphiko

3.  Derrick Advertising

4.  GD Industries


Medellín, Day 9

March 15, 2016

IMG_4265Day 9, March 15

Could it possibly be that our program in Colombia has come to its last day?  Today’s last company visit was with Ruta N.  Many had follow up meetings with our start ups, and then free time for the three S’s: shopping, sight seeing, and souveniers.

We officially closed the program with a dinner at Carmen Medellín.

How does your impression of Medellín differ from that of the Zona Cafetera and Bogotá?  What were the take-aways from today’s activities?

Medellín, Day 8

March 14, 2016

IMG_4253.jpgDay 8, March 14

Given the different meet up times with our start up companies, today was one of the most flexible of the trip.  Some groups met with their Colombian partners for full presentations, others had initial meetings, and others scheduled visits for another day.

What we did enjoy together was a visit with Santiago at EPM and with Agostinho & Patricia at Promotora.

How did you day go and what did you learn for your experience this day?

Medellín, Day 7

March 14, 2016

IMG_4180Day 7, March 13

Yes, we really did fly back to Bogotá again today, and yes flights again were delayed.  No problem, upon arriving we were met by John and Adriana, and they helped us get settled into our hotel and then sent us on our city tour.

Botero square, gondola rides, and a visit to see the graffiti art and community spirit near the escalators.  What a tremendous introduction to Medellín.


Coffee Region, Day 6

March 14, 2016

IMG_4068Day 6, March 12

Who says that you can’t do it all in one day?!

Zip lining, check!  Coffee picking, check! Lunch in Salento, check!  Jeep Willies to Cocora Valley, check!  Walking among wax palms, check! Coffee roasting and tasting, check!  Shopping in Salento… well OK, lightening, a power outage, and pouring rain did affect that.  However, it was still a great evening for the hot tub at the La Esperanza Finca Hotel.

Tell us about the impressions of your day.

Coffee Region – Bogotá, Day 5

March 14, 2016

IMG_3986Day 5, March 11

It’s hard to pick coffee on a plantation in Armenia when a person is still in a hotel in Bogotá.  Sure enough, with 2 cancelled flights, and a 4:00am arrival at the hotel, this day included creative ways to decide how to best adjust our schedule with a full day of activities that would need to be rescheduled.  The decision: get to Armenia and try to fit it all in on the following day.  So, back to the airport in Bogotá, and yes, we did arrive in the coffee region.

The day was not completely lost because we did end the evening with a visit to El Solar restaurant (complete with the first celebration of Jessica’s birthday).

As to Colombia, what did you learn and appreciate better as a result of this day?


Bogotá, Day 4

March 14, 2016

IMG_3908Day 4, March 10

Nathalie relates to MBA students, and she also enjoys sharing her vision of the future of a family business.  Today we visited Totto, with a factory tour in the morning and a visit to the flagship store in the afternoon.

What did the visit to Totto teach you about business in Colombia?  What did you learn about Totto in general?

Our day also ended with a trip to the airport, and there may be some other details that we are leaving out.  However, if you want to add any comments about time spent at the airport, go for it!


Bogotá, Day 3

March 14, 2016

IMG_3870Day 3, March 9

We’ve got a plan, Corona administration visit. This to be followed up by a visit to the Home Center, and ending with a visit to the Sopó factory.

Wait a sec, we’ve got a change in plan.  Given that we sat in a bus that didn’t move for over an hour, lunch at Home Center was compressed, and the factory tour was cancelled.

Still, the information exchange from both Corona and Falabella were tremendous, and the innovation within Home Center was impressive.  A free evening was also appreciated.

What did your visit with Corona give you today?  What did you learn or appreciate better because of that visit?

Bogotá, Day 2

March 14, 2016

IMG_3774Day 2, March 8

Today we started our company visits with Camilo at La Gaitana.  Beautiful sites and smells, and a greater appreciation for the cultivation of flowers.

After lunch (including playing on the playscape) we headed to the American Embassy, also meeting with visitors from the American Women’s Club.  Indeed, one of our take-aways was the subtle meaning behind “qué pena.”

And we finished the day with the Alumni dinner, complete with flowers, cake, and nice exchanges with our visitors.

Talk about your observations, take-aways, and learning points for today.