This is the first of several installments in the “My Global Business Week” series. Share in the journeys of Wharton EMBA students who venture across the world to learn with Wharton’s acclaimed Global Business Week program.

Each year, second-year students in the Wharton MBA Program for Executives embark on Global Business Week, a week-long course taught by Wharton faculty. Students from all three cohorts choose from several destinations, meaning each course enrolls a mix of Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Global cohort students.

Glory Durham, WG’24 (Image: Glory Durham)

Glory Durham, WG’24, is the Director of Operations at Penn Health-Tech, Penn’s health-tech innovation center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. Before enrolling in the Wharton MBA Program for Executives, she earned a Master of Public Health in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Below, Durham shares her Global Business Week experience studying Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Turbulent Times with Prof. Zeke Hernandez in Argentina.

Why did you choose the Argentina Global Business Week destination?

I come from a public health background, and currently work at Penn Health-Tech, a center supporting faculty from Penn and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as they develop medical technology ideas into products. I’m passionate about solving healthcare problems and supporting innovators in their go-to-market strategy. 

Wharton EMBA students enjoying a cultural enrichment experience in Argentina. (Image: Glory Durham)

I chose Argentina because I wanted to learn how to operate in a market that is constantly changing and evolving. This knowledge will help me become a more resilient and adaptable innovator and support like-minded individuals and teams.

Can you tell us about some highlights from the week?  

Professor Hernandez provided necessary context of the complex market dynamics in Argentina, influenced by the economic and political situation. We also met with senior leaders from various sectors and industries who shared their insights and experiences with us. They helped us understand Argentina’s role in the South American and global markets, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. 

There were several memorable visits from the trip. We visited a mid-stage fintech startup where we discussed how leaders cope with the challenges and opportunities of the Argentine economy and politics. Hearing their insights on the impact of geopolitical influences and how culture and commerce interplay with one another was fascinating. Another highlight was Estonia Ranch, a cattle ranch, where we got an economics lecture from an agricultural perspective. It was interesting to see how they plan and prepare for recessions, and how they decide when to borrow, buy, or scale back. 

Dining with students from the Philadelphia and San Francisco cohorts on the last night in Argentina. (Image: Glory Durham)

Some other notable visits included ​​a fireside chat with the COO of an early-stage biotech firm, a meeting with a healthcare company expanding to Europe, and a visit with Mercado Libre, the “Amazon” of South America. These visits showed us the diversity and innovation of the Argentine business landscape. The interweaving fabric of the course was how to anticipate and respond to unexpected events, such as a recession, and how to make smart business decisions in any context.  

How did you and your classmates spend time outside of class and corporate visits?

Beyond the class lectures and corporate visits, I enjoyed some meaningful and fun activities with my classmates in Argentina. One of them was visiting a nonprofit organization, Sumando Energiás, that provides solar-powered plumbing for low-income areas. As an immigrant from Nigeria, I could relate to the challenges of poverty and lack of basic amenities. I was happy to help the organization by making water heating devices from recycled soda cans. The work we completed provided hot water for three families. It was a great way to bond with my classmates and give back to the community.

Wharton EMBA students giving back to the community in Argentina at Sumando Energiás. (Image: Glory Durham)

Another aspect of Global Business Week that I loved was the opportunity to connect with classmates on a personal level. You’re waiting with them at the airport in sweatpants, which broke the ice and made us more casual and comfortable than we usually get to be in the classroom. When we were together, we often prioritized connecting with classmates we may not have had the chance to get to know yet. We had dinners, learned tango dancing, visited Uruguay by ferry, and had a lot of fun! The trip was also a bittersweet reminder that our wild, unbelievable two-year WEMBA journey is coming to an end soon, which made me appreciate it even more.

Glory Durham 

Posted: May 30, 2024

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