A Master's in Coffee

It was true when they told us that after the first break time would fly. This past month went by incredibly fast. My parents came for a visit and we were able to travel around the various scenic and charming places of the Amalfi Coast. My parents also had the chance to stay a few days here in Trieste. It was nice to show them where I have been living and introduce them to some of my friends from the Master’s. Being coffee growers in Guatemala, it was a unique experience for them (as it was for me at the beginning) to meet a group of people from different countries and with different backgrounds, where the conversation revolved around the topic we all have in common: Coffee.
As we continued the segment on coffee and economics this past month, we had a class with Dr. Omar Merlo, a Professor from the University of Cambridge, who taught us about marketing strategies. Moreover, we had the opportunity to spent a day at the MIB School of Management here in Trieste, where we received a class with Wendy Wan on Chinese consumer behavior. This was an extremely interesting class as we learned about the expanding middle and upper class in this rapidly developing consumer market and manufacturing powerhouse. I enjoyed that the lesson strayed away from the typical textbook definitions of Chinese culture and we analyzed the culture in a behavioral, social, and psychological level based on her studies and real life experience.
We have also begun to receive a risk management class where we started by reviewing basic accounting concepts, and then, quickly advanced to learn about types of risks businesses face, hedging techniques, and other topics concerning options, forwards, and swaps. As many other lessons we have received, these concepts concerning risk management and the stock market are fundamental knowledge to have when working in our industry; and I am happy to be acquiring a deeper understanding on the topic (Even though I think this will be one of the most challenging final exams).
In our Strategic Management class, we had the opportunity to analyze a few cases of different sized and structured companies that operate in the coffee industry such as Nespresso, Illy, Starbucks, Juan Valdez, and Dimbulah. I greatly enjoyed this class because we examined growth strategies that the companies have applied; the opportunities and challenges of growth; and we discussed and evaluated future strategies that the companies could engage in. In addition, we deliberated on the topic of entrepreneurship and the qualities needed to start a business. I think this was an imperative topic to address because our class in composed of incredibly talented and smart individuals that I believe have great potential to be successful in anything they do, including starting and building businesses.
This last month will be extremely busy as we finish our last classes, study for our final exams, begin to prepare our thesis, and try to seize the last moments we have here in Italy. It is sad to be getting to the end; I will definitely miss seeing everyone everyday.
Twitter @Ashleyprentice01

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