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Archive for October, 2014


Oct 10 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 3 (10/09/2014)- Spectacular Views and Nike Experience Store

by at 9:13 am

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By: Shannon McCarthy

photo 1Today was our third day in Rio and we went to what has to be the most gorgeous point in the whole city, Sugarloaf Mountain. There are two connecting cable cars that take you to two different mountains that are different heights from the ground. It is a short ride to each peak and there are places to walk around and take photos. When you get to the first peak it is truly incredible. You are able to see so much and so far out into the ocean, and so much of the city down below. There were some hiking trails, but we didn’t explore them; we only stuck to the photography program. After walking around for about 15 minutes we went to the next, higher mountain peak. I honestly, didn’t believe that it would get better, but it did. When you get off and walk out of the docking area for the cable car, you are immediately taken aback with the beauty. You can see Copacabana Beach, the bay, and even Christ the Redeemer. You feel like you are on top of the world and that you can see everything that is happening in Rio. It was also great because you can walk all the way around in a circle and get a 360 degree view of everything around you.

IMG_4230 (1)After the amazing views at Sugarloaf we went to the Centro downtown area of Rio, before heading to a Nike store in that part of the city. We met with the store manager Dawes Ramos, who gave us a tour of this extremely unique store. When you first walk in you would probably mistake it for any other typical Nike store you would find back in the states, however this one was built specifically for soccer. It opened back in April of 2014 before the World Cup and has been extremely successful. This store has three different levels with varying floor types to help simulate different surfaces that players may be on (wood, grass turf, and asphalt). The top floor is so unique in that it is actually a smaller, replica artificial-turf field with a regulation goal embedded on one of the walls outside. The premise of the store is to be an “Experience Store,” in that it allows customers to have a better feel for the shoes in a more real life setting to the field. They are anticipating more stores similar to this one to be built in the near future, most likely beginning with the United Kingdom.

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Oct 09 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 2 (10/08/2014)- Doing Business in Brazil

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By: Thomas Hsieh

Our jam-packed Day 2 continued with a trip to Centro, the downtown area and oldest part of Rio, to meet with the American Chamber of Commerce in Rio (“Amcham”).  Following a heated discussion on the legacies of Britney Spears vs. Beyoncé, we arrived in Centro with enough time to grab a quick bite to eat or explore.  A small group of us chose the latter, hoping to save our appetites for our feast at Porçau, and used our brief moment of freedom to visit Palácio Tiradentes, the home of the state legislature, and some incredibly beautiful churches.

Palacio Tiradentes

Palacio Tiradentes

Once we reconvened at Amcham’s building, we met with Rafael Lourenço, Amcham’s Executive Director, and Steven Bipes, one of Amcham’s board members and the U.S. Section of the Brazil-U.S. Business Council’s Chief Representative in Brazil.

Mr. Lourenço kicked off the meeting by giving a presentation on Amcham’s history and the services that Amcham provides to its members.  Amcham was founded in 1916, making it the oldest chamber in Latin America.  All types and sizes of businesses can be counted among Amcham’s membership of 300.  Amcham’s services revolve around its three pillars: (1) to help businesses network; (2) to advocate on their behalf; and (3) to foster bilateral commercial relationships between Brazil and the United States.  Although the bulk of Amcham’s work is done by its committees representing various industries, Amcham also provides other services such as hosting events and missions to help educate its members.

Following the presentation, we had a Q&A session with Mr. Lourenço and Mr. Bipes, which helped to flesh out the cultural issues that were raised in our meetings with NBA Brazil and Octagon Brazil and put those issues into context.  For anyone hoping to work in Brazil or do business in Brazil, this meeting addressed a number of pitfalls which one might encounter.

Meeting with Bipes and LourencoMr. Bipes commented on certain areas of Brazilian culture that tend to frustrate non-Brazilian entities looking to do business.  Most notably, the Brazilian tax system is very complex and unfriendly towards non-Brazilian companies, as they are heavily taxed on goods being exported to Brazil.  (A quick visit to the Nike Store in Ipanema revealed that a pair of Nike shoes can cost U.S. $400.)  Other issues included confusion about the purpose and function of Brazilian notaries public, the different structure of Brazil’s corporate system, and the lack of a bilateral economic partnership agreement between the U.S. and Brazil.

Despite the complicated tax system and rigid employee-friendly labor laws (all of which have been in place for 30 to 40 years), Brazil still presents a rewarding opportunity for companies hoping to enter this space.  Ever since Brazil resolved its hyperinflation issues, Brazil’s middle class has grown exponentially and continues to grow today, meaning that companies have a growing supply of potential consumers of their goods and services.

Mr. Bipes also offered advice to anyone hoping to do business in Brazil, noting that companies have to be willing to put in substantial time and effort on the front end in developing their business models.  “Brazil is Brazil,” Mr. Bipes noted, and he further explained how companies cannot expect to be successful if they only reuse models used in other countries.  Because Brazil has never had a true break from its roots as a monarchy and later a military government, it is still going through the process of decentralization and globalization that many countries went through long ago, thus leading to the unique cultural issues seen today.


In response to questions regarding the effect the World Cup and the Olympics have had on the number of companies seeking to do business in Brazil, Mr. Lourenço and Mr. Bipes noted that there has not been any substantial change, but that such inactivity is most likely due to 2014 being an election year.  Highlighting the importance of the interplay between business and politics, the speakers commented that the current administration historically has not been business-friendly and that companies are waiting until the election results are finalized before taking any further actions.

To learn more about Amcham and its activities, you can visit www.amchamrio.com.


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Oct 09 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 2 (10/08/2014)- Octagon: Passion, Engagement and Results

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By: Julian Carrington

10672203_10152758288264417_3778006909975198284_nDay two of the Georgetown Sports Industry Management Brazil Global Sporting Immersion started off with a bang! After an early morning start, we headed off to meetings at the world renowned firm, Octagon.  At Octagon Brasil, we met with Aykan Azar,  Director of Corporate Consulting, and Mariana Kuchnir, Account Manager.  Their presentation was extremely engaging and our entire group gained significant insight into the operations that the company is tasked with on a daily and long-term basis.

Symone Kidd (SIM class of 2015) stated, “Aykan and Mariana gave a great presentation! I really enjoyed how they broke down the World Cup efforts and results by numbers.  It was also great that they explained how some of the sponsors such as Johnson+Johnson incorporated giving back to the Brazilian community as part of their World Cup activation.”

While sponsorship deals represent only a small fraction of Octagon Brasil’s responsibilities, this Johnson+Johnson World Cup sponsorship really hit home with me. The two companies came up with an initiative using the premise of the World Cup to save lives through the donation of blood. The plan was to save as many lives as there are seats in the famous Maracanã Stadium.  The stadium that played host to the World Cup Final holds a whopping 78,838. Based on what we learned, this initiative was extremely successful and they achieved their goal.

Passion, engagement and results are the words Octagon lives by.  They also strive to maintain a global presence with 70 offices all over the world.  When I left the meeting I could not help but feel I wanted to work for Octagon in Brazil.  

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Oct 08 2014

Brazil 2014: Day 1 (10/07/2014)- An Exciting Start

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By: Jameil Johnson

The first week of the SIM Brazil Immersion Trip is off to an exciting start! On the night of day one, we met with two individuals at a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The group first met with Georgetown Alum, Ky Adderley ’98. Ky recently created a non-profit sports program for children in low-income Brazilian communities, offering high-level soccer, track, and basketball instruction as well as character-building classes and English courses to prepare the students for life and universities abroad. Several SIM students were so interested in the non-profit that they volunteered to help out on Saturday morning.

Arnon de Mello - Brazil

SIM Students meet with Arnon de Mello, Managing Director for NBA Brazil

Next, the group met with Arnon de Mello, Managing Director of NBA Brazil. In his role as Managing Director, de Mello oversees the expansion of the NBA’s business and the development of basketball initiatives throughout Brazil. He directs all of the NBA’s efforts in the country across marketing partnerships, events, television, digital media and licensed merchandise.

This week de Mello is managing a local preseason NBA contest between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, an NBA FanFest on Ipanema beach and a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. He told the group that a key strategy involves bringing Brazilian NBA players like Nene and Anderson Varejao back to Brazil to participate in preseason games.

He gave the group an overview of NBA Brazil. Brazil and Mexico represent the NBA’s biggest partners in terms of growth and increase in popularity and marketing. A record of seven Brazilian basketball players are signed to NBA rosters for the 2014 – 2015 season. In the past two years, NBA Brazil’s business has grown by a factor of three. Finally, 40% – 45% of NBA sales in Latin America originate in Brazil.

As the evening came to an end, de Mello answered questions from all 15 SIM students in attendance. One student asked if NBA Brazil is involved in any Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in Rio de Janeiro. He responded that NBA Brazil is partnering with Adidas and Spalding to educate Brazilian public school coaches how to teach basketball starting at the end of 2014. The goal of this initiative is to reach 10,000 public school students from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo by the end of 2015.

Another student asked if there is a possibility of the NBA adding a regular season game to Brazil anytime soon. De Mello responded that he prefers preseason games because the preseason schedule allows more time for media exposure between players, coaches, teams and corporate sponsors. NBA teams can stay in Brazil for an extended period of time during the preseason, which would not be possible during the regular season. Lastly, a student asked how NBA Brazil used social media to advertise this week’s events. He responded that they did all of their advertising for the week’s events through Facebook and all tickets were sold online.

Wednesday promises to be one of the busiest days of the week, as the group is meeting with Octagon Brazil, the U.S. – Brazil Business Council in Centro and having dinner at an authentic Brazilian Steak House!

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Oct 08 2014

Brazil 2014: Brazil Bound!

by at 9:51 am

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By: Bonnie Hayes

When I found out about the Brazil Immersion course, I was instantly intrigued with the opportunity of visiting Rio De Janeiro.  I did not have any specific expectations regarding the trip, but I knew it was an experience that I couldn’t pass up.

I was a little nervous about the selection process; candidates had to submit their names, and a drawing would determine who would have a spot in the class and in turn the trip.   I mulled over the trip with my best friend – my husband – and he was on board with the class. He encouraged me to throw my hat in the ring ASAP.  Two weeks later, I was notified that I was Brazil bound.

IIMG_3890n two hours, I will be on an 8½hour flight to Rio De Janeiro.   With me are 14 other astonishing SIM students all with varied expectations of what they hope to experience during the trip.  A lot of us see this trip as a weeklong job interview; a main stage to showcase our talents and hopefully earn our dream careers.  Some are excited about immersing themselves in the culture, while others are looking for strategic ways to meet their favorite athletes.  I have all three in mind.  I want to be impressive to all of the organizations we meet, catch a few rays on the beach and possibly get an amazing photo of the Cleveland Cavaliers for my husband’s man cave.

Right before boarding the flight, I took a 30th look at the itinerary for the trip.  The schedule is so unbelievably perfect; it’s unfathomable for me to comprehend the fact that I’m not functioning within a dream.  The first day in the country we are meeting with Arnon de Mello, Managing Director for NBA Brazil.  Throughout the week we’ll also meet with: Aykan Azar, Senior Director for Octagon; Rafael Laurenco, US Business Counsel; Raj Saha, Director of Operations for AEG Brazil; Leonardo Griner, Chief Operating Officer for 2016 Rio Olymipic Committee; and the list continues to update with more additions.

The icing on the cake, we all have tickets to see Flamengo vs. Cruzeiro at the Maracanã Stadium, and the Miami Heat vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers at HSBC Arena.  It just wouldn’t be a SIM trip without some live action sports in the mix.

With all of these exciting meetings and events schedule for the next week, I am pumped that the opportunity did not pass me—can’t wait to get started!

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