Executive MBA’s Study Tour: Deeper Dive into Mexico's Economy and Culture - Lessons from IPADE Business School

Alexandra Valyshkova | EMBA Participant 2021-2023, Head of ITAM team @ SWIFT 30/03/2023 Executive MBA

Today I would like to share with you my recent experience of attending the international week at IPADE Business school in Mexico City alongside 214 international students from 24 Business schools all over the world, representing 22 different nationalities.


The general objective of this international week was to analyse the business opportunities that Mexico has to offer as an emerging economy but also have greater awareness of global Mexico economic, political and social context and different features that compromise and permeate the countries culture. The main four pillars of the seminar were defined as next:

  • Understanding Mexico’s culture and context, internal and external factors, and challenges.
  • In addition, through multiple activities, to gain better understanding of Mexican psychology.
  • How to create social value in Mexico and what the most important topics for Mexican society are.
  • How to compete in Mexico and what the main advantages of the Mexican markets are .
  • What it means to be entrepreneur in Mexico, challenges, and opportunities to consolidate a business model in the context of emerging economy.


To achieve the goals and objectives, throughout the week we emerged in the Mexico’s rich history and culture through a series of conferences with COE representing various sectors, by visiting successful Mexican companies and of course via insightful discussion time with local and international students over teamwork, lunch and after seminar activities. Each day, each objective was composed of different activities like case discussions in groups and class, academic sessions or plenary sessions with guest speakers, various companies’ visits and cultural guided tours.


During the week, we participated in the 6 business academic sessions delivered by IPADE professors on a general understanding of Mexico's economic, political, and social context. All those sessions were enriched by captivating case studies inspired by local companies’ stories and surprise visits of the actors during the classes - 6 business leaders joined us during the week to share their experiences, challenges and shared inspiring stories.

I will forever remember the CEO of Volaris - Enrique J. Beltarena M., who put a strong accent on the constantly changing world we live in during his talk on “Advancing in a turbulent world: Volaris pandemic story”. Interesting question his address on how to manage a company in crisis, what the most important priorities are and what it means to “be clever before smart” - as well as how to restart after a crisis by preserving the most important resources that will help you to rebound and succeed.

One other case surprised me a lot - guest speaker Juana Ramirez, CEO of Sohin, who guided us through a very inspiring story on how the an entrepreneur's vision generates value for society. She reaffirmed to us that real business cases could and should successfully bring value to society and, at the same time, find multiple other ways to be profitable. This is possible not only via foundations and donations, but also by having a real business model behind it.

Another opportunity to deep-dive into the Mexican business was visiting 3 local Mexican companies, Reintegra, Toks and KidZania. Kidzania is a great place for kids to explore real-life challenges in a safe context. Kidzania is a small, real city with streets, shops, an airport, and a bus and vehicle station. The children in KidZania should work to earn money which they can spend after it is doing fun activities. The most interesting fact, is that KidZania was imagined, created, and developed by the Mexican entrepreneur Xavier Lopez Ancona in Mexico. Today Kidzania is a well-known brand with franchised centres in more than 30 locations worldwide, receiving more than 9 million visitors a year and big plans for expansion. They are still not present in Europe, so we were thinking: why not take this opportunity after finishing our EMBA studies? They are proud to call “KidZania is the safest city in the world for kids”.


And to increase our awareness about the culture of Mexico and history, we were proposed to join two guided tours:  to the archaeological site of Teotihuacan and the historical centre of Mexico City with degustation of local products and food with local music and dance. 

During this amazing week full of educational activities, we’ve learned a lot, had a lot of fun and made new friends all over the world!

Even if I don’t have any plans, at the moment, to do business in Mexico, it was very insightful to see another perspective and challenges Mexico and its population face from economic, political, and cultural perspectives. All we’ve learned during this week is highly relevant to any other industry on day-to-day matters - we continue to navigate in a highly complex economic and political context, changing times and landscapes, and we constantly have various challenges and problems to solve most efficiently.


Saying all this, I firmly believe this week will help me in my future to position my business initiatives better towards success. 

So, if you are the student and have doubts about joining the study trip, I could only recommend doing so and enjoy this inspiring international experience!

I'd like to thank all professors, organizers, and guest speakers for making this week such a successful experience for everybody and, of course, Solvay Lifelong Learning and the EMBA programme for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it!

More info on the programme : Executive MBA

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