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Fisher Honors Cohort in Brazil

Students and staff from Fisher Honors Cohort Program were in Brazil from December 13 – 21. The program consists of an eclectic, tight knit group of 30 highly motivated, hand-picked students who seek to leverage educational opportunities across the entire university. It spans through the autumn and spring semesters of a student’s junior year and continues into their senior year.

Ty Shepfer, senior lecturer and director of the Honors Cohort Program, and David Freel, senior lecturer, accompanied the students during the program, which included various visits to Brazilian companies and non-profits, events and activities.

On December 13, the group visited Brazil Gateway’s office in Moema. Jane K. Aparecido, Brazil Gateway’s interim director spoke about the office and about the relationships and opportunities between Ohio State and institutions in Brazil. Students also heard from Andrea Costa and Felipe Pena, consultants at Visagio, one of Ohio State’s main partners in Brazil. They spoke about Visagio’s business and consulting strategy and its connection to Ohio State through programs such as Global Applied Projects (GAP), internships available for Fisher College of Business’ MBA students and its seven-week program for Visagio’s consultants at Fisher.

The students also met with the founders of Tree Consulting, a Human Resources consulting business that supports companies interested in fostering diversity and inclusion.

This year, students entered a case competition for Ambev (Anheuser-Busch InBev), beverage company. Ohio State students worked with students from the University of São Paulo School of Business (FEA-USP) four months before the trip to prepare. Ten teams were formed by students of both universities.

During the Ohio State students’ visit to Brazil, each group presented their proposal for how to effectively market Ambev’s water brand AMA, which donates 100% of its profits to projects that bring water to drought areas in the semiarid Brazil.

On December 17, the 10 groups presented to four judges including Ty Shepfer and David Freel, Professor Kavita and Professor Andres from FEA-USP, and Richard Lee, corporate relations manager at Ambev.

“It was a pleasure to have them, and it is very important that we had connections with a company that had a current case we could ask for them to solve,” said Kavita Miadaira Hamza, marketing professor at FEA-USP.

“What we needed was empathy,” Lee said, “The students need to provide a better insight on what we should do, as a consulting agency would.”

The Brazilian students from the winning group will travel to Ohio State courtesy of Ambev.

“It was a great experience, especially to meet people from a different country,” said Rafael Gomes, a student at FEA-USP. “Winning the case competition was unbelievable, because all teams did a very good job. I am looking forward to visiting Ohio State.”

“It was rewarding,” said Caroline Chick, Fisher Honors Cohort student, who was also a member of the winning team. “It was interesting to study Brazilian consumers and notice the similarities and differences with U.S. consumers. Also, making new friends is amazing. We are excited to welcome them and present them to more Buckeyes.”

Watch the video of the moment Professor Hamza announces the winning team.

Before heading back to Columbus, the group went to Rio de Janeiro for more visits and cultural events. If you want to learn more about the Fisher Honors Cohort, visit their website.

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