Posted on behalf of Abigail Isaac, a 2nd year MBA student in the full-time program at George Mason.
Brazil Residency Day One: Shoes and Beer
While evaluating MBA programs in Virginia, I strongly recommended looking at the global program requirements. Having just returned from the Mason global residency in Brazil, I can say unequivocally that the international experience increased the value of my MBA education.
This trip was definitely a mix of work and pleasure. On the first day of company visits (of five) we met with a women’s shoe company and toured a brewery: fashionable and delicious! The shoe company was Arezzo, a premium women’s brand. It’s a Brazilian company, made in Brazil. Arezzo is a leader in the industry in that they can go from concept to retail in just 40 days. (Italy is another premium shoe competitor, but their concept to retail time is 70 days.) Across Arezzo’s four brands they release a total of 11,500 new designs each year. Arezzo emphasized the importance of scarcity in their business model: they want women to know that the only have this one chance to purchase this shoe, because next week it will be gone. As a female shopper, I know this is an effective strategy!
The variety of products combined with the quality of product creates significant logistical challenges for Arezzo. I asked our Arezzo reps about their relationships with their manufacturers. They have elaborate processes for ensuring quality but they also insist on being a maximum of 50% of a manufacturers’ business, to keep the manufacturers competitive.
After the presentation the ladies in our group ran across the street to the Arezzo store (“All this talk of shoes is making me need shoes!”). Yes, the quality is actually noticeable, in style and comfort.
One of Arezzo’s major challenges right now is people, “a very vital but scarce resource.” I wonder if any of my MBA classmates are planning to “network” their way into a job with Arezzo? I’m tempted! Arezzo seems like a great company to work for: strong product, room for growth and exciting new challenges.