The REAL Panama?

Time. Has. Come! Our flight departed at 8 this morning. I couldn’t help but think of the movie, Coming to America. I almost, sorta kinda, slightly, felt like Eddie Murphy as the Prince of Zamunda (minus the riches and the fact that he was headed to America searching for a bride lol). We’re currently on layover in Atlanta and it feels SO GOOD to be home in America!! As soon as the plane landed in Atlanta there was a sense of exuberance, joy and happiness elating in the atmosphere! It felt SO GOOD to turn my data on and be able to text and call without the usage of third party apps. I couldn’t help but think of the song “Feels Good” by Tony Toni Tone (you need to look it up if you’ve never heard it). After going through customs and security once again, the first stop I made was of course Five Guys! I’ve been so deprived of a good burger and it felt like heaven biting into that succulent, juicy, tender, double cheeseburger!

Ever since we all woke up around 4:30 this morning we’ve been reminiscing on the good times and the memories that we will always share and have for the rest of our lives.  Personally, I would say my favorite part of the trip, pertaining to business, would be visiting Super 99 and the MMG Bank. Pertaining to Panama’s culture, I would say my favorite part would have to be visiting the Embera village and my fishing trip. Out of all the cities that we visited my favorite was by far Chitre. When I grow up and get big and rich one day, I will most definitely return to Chitre and stay at La Cubita and shop at Riba Smith just as I did on this trip :).

As you’ve noticed, the title of my blog is The Real Panama. You may have been asking yourself, ‘what IS the REAL Panama?’ Well, it’s definitely NOT Panama City, FL!! The REAL Panama is 3,000 miles away. The REAL Panama is where humidity is at 100% ALL THE TIME. The REAL Panama is where you’re forced to immerse yourself into the culture, break your comfort zone, and speak Spanish. The REAL Panama is where you can get the daily newspaper, lotto tickets, AND go to the grocery store while sitting in your car in traffic because of the various vendors hustlin’ like no tomorrow.  The REAL Panama is where you can shoot dice on one corner in Casco Viejo and literally take 10 steps and be in the Beverly Hills of Panama. The REAL Panama is where you have endless opportunities for business ventures and networking while having a sense of authentic pride of the Panamanian people along with support from your government. And most of all, The REAL Panama is where life-long memories have been made with 13 of my colleagues and an awesome professor that I will forever cherish and never forget.  That’s The REAL Panama. You’ll NEVER get that in Florida-I can promise you that! There’s so much that I have taken from this trip that I can cultivate into my scholastic and personal life.

Even though I was ready to kick rocks and get away from the country, there will always be a special spot for Panama in my Passport. I am so thankful for the opportunity that God has provided and I feel that I have pleased him by taking advantage of my travels and work done during the program. I have finally earned the right to say that I have FULLY reached my goal of the International Business in Panama Seminar: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all personally.”

Till we meet again Panama…

-Muchas gracias y buen dia!

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The Little Engine That Could

Today kicked off our last week in Panama. I don’t know about anyone else but I am READY to chunk up the deuce & get out of this country! BUT, before I depart on Saturday, I still have some business to tend to. Not only did this week kick off our last week here, but it also kicked off the most vital part of the program (at least for me), the logistics and supply chain aspects.

Our first stop was the Panama Canal Railway Company. I know Panama is known for the canal but there are many more ports and modes of transportation in the country than you would think.  In the beginning most people didn’t think that the railway would last. The Panamanians figured it would be useless since they have the canal for freight transportation. To many surprise the railway has been quite lucrative! The President/CEO, Thomas Kena spared a few minutes out of his busy schedule to speak with us about the railway. There’s so much I could say I learned but I’ll narrow them down. The railway basically acts a hub for the ships in the canal. The railway utilizes its shuttle-like system to disperse goods across the globe. The railway runs 47 miles in distance at 70mph from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and vice versa. It is currently operating at 60% of capacity so they may need to begin expanding the canal. The CFO, Thomas Morris spoke about the financial aspect of the railway. In 2007 a $100 million bond was issued. The railway is also partnered with Kansas City Southern, which the railway has found to be quite beneficial.  Many of the tactics, processes, and infrastructure PCRC uses comes from KCS. 75% of PCRC’s volume is occupied by Maersk. We also toured the warehouses and saw the supply in chain first hand! Who knew that such a doubtful business venture would become so successful?! I guess the little engine really could. I could bore you with more statistic but I’ll keep it simple, especially since I have to be up early for a train ride to the Colon Free Trade Zone.


    


We had lunch at this restaurant at the Miraflores Locks and it was SO good! The culinary gods have really favored me these past 2 days :). Oh, and it was buffet style, so the whole team WENT IN! lol We had a short lecture by Miguel Arosemena about the business aspect of the Miraflores Locks. After the lecture the real part began. We all lined up on the top floor of the building to see this humungous ship sail through the locks. One thing about learning supply chain for me is that it can be difficult to visualize the process from beginning to end. Visiting the railway and its warehouses along with the Miraflores locks aided in my understanding of the process of shipping freight. It definitely helps to witness the procedure first hand rather than sit behind a desk in the classroom and theorize about it.


       Our last stop was the museum at the MiraFlores Locks. We had a 3D video to prep us with info about the canal and then we made our way through 4 floors of the museum.  It was interesting to see many of the things we’ve heard about come to life. From stepping into a simulator of the driving a ship through the canal, to taking us back in time and having an exhibit of the types of animals that once existed (or still exists) in Panama.

I could continue on and on but I’m going to cut it short tonight. The travels of my day have once again aided me in reaching my goal of this program: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

-Good Day!

Fishin’ for Adventure

All aboard! Today was a free day so all of us split up and did our own thing. My colleague Will and I decided to go fishing. Today started off kinda rough. Last night I went to the ATM so that I would have enough cash for the trip and the ATM wouldn’t work. So this morning I returned and everything was fine. I input all of my info and waited for my cash to dispense. After a few minutes, I realized that the ATM wasn’t working. I had to call one of the security guards over to help me. She didn’t speak English so she had to call another security guard over who did. He checked the machine and basically told me that I have to wait until tomorrow when the bank is open. I’m like “Ok, thats cool, but somebody need to run me my money right now, I got stuff to do!” So I tried the ATM at a store on the way to the dock. Once again the machine didn’t work for me. Will eventually ended up footing the bill for us today, so big shout out to him. First thing tomorrow I’m heading to the bank to reimburse him!

I haven’t been fishing in about 7 or 8 years so I was very excited. Our Country Guide, Alex, was nice enough to set up the appointment and tag along with us on the trip. It took us about 25 minutes to get to the dock. When we arrived they fisherman pulled the boat around for us, had all of the fishing gear ready, and we took off! Once again, we were coastin’ the Panamanian waves. This time we were on the “real deal.” To get to our fishing spots we had to go through the Panama Canal and the Gatun Lake. It was exhilarating-how often does one get to travel through the canal casually by boat?

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As we progressed through the waters our Country Guide was explaining the services and miscellaneous info about the canal that you normally won’t hear on a regular tour. To make a long story short fishing went swell. We caught quite a few Peacock Bass and Tiger Bass. We faintly saw two alligators over the duration of the trip. Once again, today has aided in achieving my goal of this program: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

Will (left) and Alex (back)

Will (left) and Alex (back)

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-Good Day!

Now I’m Impressed!

Aaaaah, where do I start?! Today was great from the beginning to the end. We loaded up bright and early taking off at 7:30am. We headed to this village called Embera. Embera people are indigenous people from Panama and Columbia. Embera is not only a village but it is also a language. It’s not solely one language, but a group of mutually-intelligible languages spoken throughout Panama and Columbia. As we drove for about 45 minutes the woods became thicker, the roads became narrower, and the scarcity of clothes of the locals grew abundantly. We ended up in this sort of like cul-de-sac leading to a river. During our briefing of the Embera village they had explained how the village people had built the river themselves for support such as food and water, which it eventually led into the main river.

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As I meticulously climbed down the steep, rocky slope, I grew nervous (not really, but it adds a nice effect to the story :). There was these little canoes they expected about 10 us of to ride in! I’m like, “this ain’t gone work, I’ve seen too may movies, Idk about this!” I gained my nerve and carefully boarded. We started our journey sailing through the shallow water and progressed deeper into the woods, all the while passing some of the small Embera villages. Halfway through we hit rock bottom, literally and metaphorically. We were stuck! Now, mind you that there were two natives with us aboard the canoe. One in the back controlling the motor and steering and one in the front with a huge bamboo stick, making sure that we were on a smooth path (so I thought). Next thing I know we’re told to step out of the canoe and help push. I’m thinking to myself like, “I knew it…we’re about to get ate, Lord help me!” I’m like “Bro, you had one job-to be the look out for any troubled waters and here we are stranded.” Surprisingly, it was kind of fun. I thought about the situation I was in and I was like “this is really cool, this is what makes study abroad, study abroad.” After a little manpower we were on our way once again. As we progressed down the river I thought about the movie American Gangster and the movie Scarface. Where we were located appealed to be just like those scenes in the movies where Colombians or Venezuelans are headed to the compound where drugs are cut in their purest form. I’m like “aaaaah, this is so cool. I feel like Frank Lucas or Tony Montana making boss moves!” lol *Disclaimer: I do not condone drug usage!* We ended up at this muddy bank. We started hiking to the into the forest, climbing over rocks, trudging through shallow water, and sliding in mud. At the end of the hike there was a water fall and it was definitely worth the all the trouble. We took pictures and everything was great, then all of a sudden it began to rain for a short period. It was like a scene out of a movie. All of us there, some taking pictures on top of rocks, some watching, and some of us having a photo shoot by the waterfall, all while it rained.

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We loaded into the boats and headed to one of the Embera villages. The natives welcomed us with song and dance. One of the older natives had explained how they are actually a small society in their own way. They have a chief and that chief is voted for and elected by congress. It was just hard to believe that these people walking around in thin cloths and no shirt or shoes had a government! The natives performed 3 dances and the last dance they invited us to take part. After dancing they served us a small lunch. NOW, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog or you actually know me, you know how difficult it is to impress me when it comes to food. They served us a couple fruit platters that consisted of watermelon, cantaloupe (I think), and smoked pineapple (which was really good!). The main part was the fish and plantanes (which is basically fried banana). The fish was absolutely…………A-MAZ-ING! Finally! The culinary gods have opened up the doors of their kitchen and let me in. The natives have perfected the craft of smoked fish-I was thoroughly impressed!

   
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We loaded up and headed back to the City of Knowledge. Now I’m just sitting in the laundry area writing this blog and waiting for my clothes to dry. Today definitely advanced my level of cultural immersion! In today’s travels, I have most definitely achieved my goal of this program: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

-Good Day!

 

Casco Viejo

Thankfully, today was a late day. We didn’t have lecture until 11am.  Once again, I didn’t sleep well so I was up bright and early.  I decided to take a trip to the coffee shop and try this world renowned Panamanian coffee. After about 4 minutes of sign language and jarred Spanish and English between the cashier and I, I finally had my cup of Boquete Panama Coffee.  The coffee was quite tasteful, BUT, as I suspected it was not this great steamy, perfectly blended, delightful, beverage that I’ve heard SO much about. One thing many people are unaware of about me is that I am EXTREMELY difficult to impress when it comes to food! Wolfgang Puck, Paula Deen, and Gordon Ramsay could all come together to prepare the best feast of all time and I’d most likely still be unimpressed. What I can say is, I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the coffee shop just surfing the web, listening to a little B.B. King “The Thrill is Gone” (R.I.P.), and gathering my thoughts before I set out on another full day’s journey.

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I eventually came down from the clouds of imagination and headed to lecture. Romell Trosh was our guest speaker.  He specifically spoke about the Panama Canal and its future. This was probably one of the more informative lectures that we’ve had because it correlated closely to the Supply Chain Management aspect of our program. I learned that Panama actually has 5 ports, 2 in the Pacific ocean and 3 in the Atlantic, with the Balboa port being the largest.  I had always thought there was only 2, the Suez and the Panama Canal because that’s all I’ve ever been taught in class. About 40k transits take place in the canal every year. Also, the canal has a revenue of $2.5 billion, with $1 billion being solely net profit. Something that I never knew was that 90% of the cargo that is transported through the Canal, isn’t even for Panama, it’s usually for bigger markets such as the US and China. Next week we’ll visit the canal and the ports so this lecture really set the atmosphere for digging into the logistics section of our program.

Later on we headed to Casco Viejo!! If you don’t know, Casco is where it’s poppin’ in Panama, especially for night life! We started off our tour of Casco with our guide named Gloria. She told us about everything you could imagine. From what building we were looking at, to who built it, to who designed it, even what type of wood was on the floor! She knew EVERYTHING! Which, I guess, is why she calls Casco “My City.” Everywhere we walked, ever corner we turned, every church or structure that we entered, somebody knew her! We made our way through the city and stopped at this small little souvenir shop. I made a few purchases and then we stopped at this square with people salsa dancing-and what did Gloria do? She jumped right in and didn’t miss a beat. We continued along taking photos as tourists do and we ended up a restaurant/night club called Tantalo. Our group was set to meet on the rooftop. Everyone began to get drinks and some food and just enjoy the rest of the day.

Once again, today has helped me reach my goal of this program: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

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Art is Perception

Art is Perception

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Gloria our tour guide

Gloria our tour guide

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A Day at the “Parque”

Aaaand we’re off! Another day is in the books! We started off spending our day at Parque Sur, which is like a big “park” for logistics companies. Our first stop at the park was CEVA Logistics. CEVA is a 3PL (third party logistics) company that operates in 170 countries. In Panama specifically they have 3 locations. At their location at Parque Sur they have services such as inventory management, value-added services, and warehouse & distribution. The representative spoke about how CEVA offers modes of transportation such as air, land, and water. They also spoke about their lost markets in Venezuela, Columbia, and Brazil, due to currency, regulations, and tax issues. An article that I was reading about the company had stated that they plan to open their fourth facility in the Chicago, IL area this year.  I found that to be cost inefficient because of all of the operation and management costs that would incurred when adding another facility. A representative Roberto had explained that they are adding this facility due to being able to serve more consumers and enhance cost effectiveness.  I still found adding the fourth facility ineffective but I accepted their judgement lol.

After visiting CEVA we had a quick meeting with Heins (not the ketchup). Heins is like the operational and management overseer of Parque Sur. We had lunch at the mall. Let me tell y’all, that Wendys I had was HORRIBLE! Anybody that knows me knows I NEVER leave a burger unfinished. I’m like a burger connoisseur, so I know my burgers and it was just horrible. I did some walking around because I wouldn’t call it shopping.  Each time we went into a store the employees would follow us closely, which I’m assuming to reassure that we weren’t stealing? I’m talking about they followed us so close if I had turned around I could’ve kissed them! I got to thinking how Panamanian’s would like for more Americans and tourists in general to visit Panama. I think if they were able to attract more tourists they would need to restructure how they train their employees because their is no way people, especially Americans, would want to shop at their stores with employees following them around like that.  That was just a spark in my mind, so who knows lol. After a few more stores of that happening, I just stopped shopping, but I did buy this really cool red, white, and blue Panama jersey.

We headed back to Parque Sur and finished our day at DHL. Just as we have with other countries, we learned about DHL’s business strategy. There’s 3 “pillars” to the company.  First they want to be the provider of choice, then the investment of choice, and the employer of choice. One thing I found interesting was there committment to their employees and the community. Everyone in the building was friendly they all seemed like they were family.  For Corporate Social Responsibility they have a Go Green Program, an Go Help Program, and a Disaster Relief Team. I think that this company is thriving because of their will to give back.

Even though I am ready to leave this country, overall, today was a great experience. I once again have reached my goal of this program: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

-Good Day!

The man with the plan making boss moves!

The man with the plan making boss moves!

CEVA Logistics

CEVA Logistics

Meeting with a Heins rep, on our motor coach ha

Meeting with a Heins rep, on our motor coach ha

Razorbacks for Life

Hola! Today’s post will be quite short seeing that I am TIRED! One of my personal goals of this program is to write a blog every single day and I plan to stick to my goal. We’ve been on the move all day every day this week. Since the first night in this country I haven’t had one good night’s sleep! I really think it’s the weather. I’m about ready to leave this country lol and next week it will be time!

Proctor & Gamble was our first stop this morning.  We had a brief presentation about the company and how it has penetrated the Latin American market and what it plans to do in order to sustain that competitive advantage. In Latin America alone, P&G has 21 product plans and has a regional office in Panama, a regional service center in Costa Rica, and an Innovation Center in Venezuela.  They use focus group to not only determine what products that they will introduce into the market but how and where as well. One aspect that I found interesting is that Brazil, not Panama, is the fastest growing market for P&G in Latin America.

Next we visited Super 99, which is basically like the Walmart of Panama because their is a supermarket on every corner seems like! To our surprise, Mario Martinelli, one of the co-founders actually showed up to speak with us when originally his son was suppose to.  I found this very honorable because Mr. Martinelli seems to be ill-as we saw that he was using a cane to aid him in walking.  I just found it mind blowing that the co-founder of this $800 million company got out of his sick bed just for us! You can’t even get close enough to shake a CEO’s hand in most businesses let alone have them visit you, especially when sick! Mr. Martinelli, his son, and his son’s wife are all graduates of the University of Arkansas, so I guess it’s that Razorback pride that pushed him to coming to see us! I admire his dedication to his company and how he has great pride that his company is a private, family owned business.  After we spoke to him about the business he PERSONALLY gave us a tour (while walking on a cane) of the distribution center.

After the Super 99 stop, we visited the Biodiversity Museum. It was interesting learning about the diversity of animals and plants and the sustainability of the culture as well as Panama as a whole.

Once again, today has enabled me to reach my goal of this program: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

-Good Day!

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Mario Martinelli

Mario Martinelli

Biodiversity Museum -There's only one Razorback in the universe-and we're loved everywhere

Biodiversity Museum
-There’s only one Razorback in the universe-and we’re loved everywhere

Biodiversity Museum

Biodiversity Museum

 

Seeds of Knowledge

Another day is down and another seed of knowledge has been planted!

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After another night of sleep (or the lack thereof) our first stop was PanamCham (Panama Chamber of Commerce). This chamber has 450 members.  The mission is to promote and protect free enterprise, promote commerce and FDI between the U.S. and Panama.  The chamber specifically tries to focus on encouraging ethics in bi-lateral business relations. Panamcham has ANCHAM Committees that focus on projects such as tourism, trade and investment, and corporate social responsibility. I learned how Panama’s economic trends center around the US dollar creating a strong GDP growth. Also the US-Panama FTA allows America and Panama to do business with 0% tariffs . As a US principal Trade Partner, 19.6% of Panamanian exports go to the U.S. and 22.8% of Panama imports are U.S. Goods. Some opportunities sectors that Panama really has a chance to enter into is energy and real estate. Lately, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about how real estate is becoming the prime investment in Panama and arguably Latin America (I think I might come back and make an investment into the real estate market lol). Also, one other thing that I did not know and found very interesting is how Panama has the first subway in Central America-ya learn something new every day, huh?

Our next stop was the U.S. Embassy.  Thanks to Mimi Lu, we had a chance to actually enter into the embassy-last year a representative came and spoke to the students, so we were very privileged.  Even though we were on U.S. soil we had to go through security and show our passports and be escorted to our perspective meeting area.  We had a question and answer session with 4 officials from different departments.  We spoke about the security and safety planning and logistics of when the President Obama visited Panama recently and walked across the Panama Canal. We also spoke about each of the representatives jobs and how they were actually employed by the U.S. Embassy.  The best part of their job, in my opinion, is being able to travel. Whenever they are relocated to a new country, the government offers aid to them in paying for not only their homes but also furnishing their homes.  They also have the opportunity for their spouse to be able to relocate with them if certain qualifications are met. AND, on top of that, their children college tuition is also taken care of! Not a bad benefit package if you ask me-I asked them where do I sign up!? lol

Lastly, we attended a seminar where my professor, Dr. Esper, was a guest speaker.  He spoke about is there a supply chain management “crisis.” Specifically, he posed the question, “is there a talent crisis?” What I learned is that there isn’t so much as a “talent” crisis in supply chain management but it is more so a talent development and talent advancement crisis because the talent is out there, but most people do not know how to excel in the field of supply chain.  The lecture was really great and hands down the best lecture we’ve had since we’ve been in the country. The way Dr. Esper articulates his words and presents his material with such charisma is astounding! A lot of us in WCOB actually call him the “Rockstar of Walton” lol.

Seeds of knowledge have definitely been planted today. There’s so much that I never knew and I intend to incorporate the knowledge that I have received today into not only my scholastic life but as well as my daily life.  Once again, I believe I have reached my goal of this program: “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

-Good Day!

Panamanian Chamber of Commere

Panamanian Chamber of Commere

Dr. T lecturing at the institute

Dr. T lecturing at the institute

When Opportunity Knocks…

“Lights, camera, action!” That’s how our day went ALL day! Today was probably one of the more exciting business days that we have had since arriving.  We had a busy schedule today and we made our first stop at 9am at the Banco Nacional de Panama Clearing House. We found that we were very privileged to even be in the building let alone the department because of security precautions, so we all were very honored. The clearing house is where the exchange of checks with other banks occurs.  One of the bank’s representative, Lourdes Acousta had explained that in order to do business with the clearing house, other banks, whether they are private or public, must be a member at the clearing house.  In order to become a member a bank must have collateral and sufficient funds. The Clearing House job is to be the “middle man” to make sure that all checks written by individuals and/or businesses are authentic to prevent financial fraud such as theft and money laundering.  They have created a system so sensitive that they are able to detect whether a signature is authentic or not just by running the check through the machine.  They also randomly review checks manually by hand to double check for any suspicious activity or incorrect information. Approximately 65,000 checks go through the bank daily. By 9:39am of our visit $26 million dollars worth of checks had been cleared.  Something in particular that I found very interesting was the nature of banking in Panama.  Panama is more cultured around using paper checks rather than e-checks, especially for the older generation. In America, we are very modernized by technology ruling everything-you almost can’t even receive a paper check from your job anymore, most jobs will require you to have a checking account so that your pay can be deposited. Oh, let me remind you that the entire time that we are sitting in listening to our lecture, we are being photographed every other minute! Like, I felt like we were very welcomed and important.

Our next main stop was another branch of Banco Nacional de Panama.  We had a question and answer session with one of the CEO’s associates, Miguel Lee. He had explained how the bank always strive to be above 30% in liquidity value and that there financial sector makes up about 73%. A question that my professor, Dr. Esper, had asked was why hasn’t the country established its own currency due to its strong sense of pride in its culture as other countries have.  Lee had described how the country has tried but basically failed because Panamanians don’t actually care for their own currency, surprisingly.

Morgan & Morgan Bank was our last and my most favorite stop of the day. Aquilino Boyd spoke to us about the bank and how it operates.  He stated how 3 sections the bank operates in is: Legal services, banking accounts, and trust funds. Boyd also made it a point to talk about “territorial tax system” in the Panamanian business world.  For businesses in Panama that may do business outside of the country are not taxed for their operations.  For any business that is done inside the country is tax acceptable and faces charges.  One thing that he made sure of us to note is that Panama is the only foreign country that uses the US dollar, which really helps the economy and the banking system.

I know that I am here to “study” abroad and take away as much knowledge and information as I can. But, once again, today, just as other days, I’ve taken away a more personal experience from my doing business today.  My professor had asked Boyd is there anything that he has regretted or wish he could have done differently in his career to better his advancement.  Boyd spoke about his experiences and gave his opinion but what really got me was what Dr. Esper said that he regretted.  He mentioned how he wished had attended law school and obtained a law degree.  Dr. Esper had mentioned how so many maritime lawyers are so few and far, that the supply chain market really needs those experienced professionals. What he said struck me because for the past semester or so I’ve really have been contemplating on attending law school in order to become a business lawyer.  It was like God had answered my prayers and gave me my answer of whether I should or should not research law school in depth.  I believe that attending law school would open up many doors of opportunity leading to success.  I have decided that when I return this summer I am speaking with my academic advisor about obtaining my MBA/J.D. concurrently.  So many opportunities come our way and I’m one to never pass them up. I’ve always said “I don’t need a whole foot in the door, just give me a toe and I can do the rest!” Well, I think the door has opened and my chance to snag this experience is within reach and I intend to fully tackle it head on!

Once again, I believe that today’s work has enabled me to reach my goal of this program.  “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all, personally.”

-Good Day!

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ALWAYS say yes to the money!

ALWAYS say yes to the money!

Banco Nacional de Panama, Clearing House

Banco Nacional de Panama, Clearing House

Great things are on the horizon

Great things are on the horizon

NO WIFI?!

“There’s no wifi at the resort.” That’s what I heard my professor say. We left our resort at La Cubita and headed to a resort called La Playita. When we arrived the first thing I did was check for wifi. I wasn’t even off the bus yet. I was in disbelief. He was serious, there wasn’t any wifi. I mean, like y’all I was really distraught. Like, it’s the 21st century, everybody has Internet, what kind of place is this. What am I suppose to do without Internet? No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no texts, nothing-now that’s what you call a nightmare! BUT, as soon as I stepped foot off the bus everything changed. It was so nice! There were exotic animals everywhere. We saw monkeys, parakeet, iguanas, deer, and even an emu just walking and lounging around. It only got better as we unlocked our doors to the resort. It was very much like a resort like you’d envision in Hawaii-Stone tiles and walls decorated with oceanic attributes giving the sense of the most relaxing vacation imaginable. Luckily my room mate and I got the best view of the ocean.

All of us were so excited that we were damn near racing each other trying to change into our swim trunks and hit the waves. I walked out to the ocean and it was so peaceful. We decided to swim to this small ocean located not too far away. I stepped foot into the water and almost cut myself because there was old coral reefs and rocks covering the bottom, so I changed into my sandals. We made our way through the water basically rock climbing. We finally made it and we sat on this rock and the current was constantly splashing onto us bringing crabs ashore. The view was breath taking. It was the epitome of tranquility. After a while I headed back across the ocean by myself while a couple were still at the small island. That was a BIG mistake! I was terrified. I started siking myself out thinking I had saw a shark or crocodile. Then, to make it worse, I lost my shoe! I searched for it for about 5 minutes and luckily a wave made it float to the top. I finally made it made it the mainland and I was so thankful! That was probably the most exuberant thing I’ve done since I don’t know when! I thought to myself, that was the most stupid thing you’ve done! I could’ve been snatched to the bottom and nobody would have ever know-I can’t believe I did that! But I guess things like that, that pulls you out of your comfort zone, is what makes study abroad, study abroad.

I was starving after that swim so I decided to try the cafe. I went inside and it looked SO sketch. Then I saw a dog scratching feverishly and I just knew that thing had flees. So I just ate my lunchable instead lol. Later that night we all got together on the beach. This morning a few of us woke up early and just hung out in the ocean. We’re now back in Panama City ( with WiFi) to get back to business. This week will be a very busy week. We’ll visit a few banks, Proctor & Gamble, and a few more businesses. As the week goes on I’ll update our progress.

This weekend getaway has helped me reach my goal of this program. “To grow not only academically, but culturally, and most of all personally.” I definitely grew culturally and personally! Til’ next week….

-Good Day!

Leaving La Cubita Resort

Leaving La Cubita Resort

La Playita

La Playita

IMG_1759 Deer