Over spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Panama with my GBE (Global Business Expeditions) class that was led by two of our supply chain faculty members. I was the only full-time MBA student that made the trip but was joined by students in the Working Professional MBA, Master of Business Logistic Engineering and Fisher undergraduates. This was an amazing group of students with a wide range of experience and interests, and really made the trip a defining moment of my time at Fisher.
While the class was primarily focused on supply chain and logistics, we also had the chance to speak with the Ministry of Commerce, Llamasoft consultants, and an innovation lab at Banistmo Bank to gain a better understanding of how business was conducted in Panama and the surrounding countries. These company visits complemented the trips to the Panama Canal, shipping ports and 3rd party logistics providers (3PLs) to provide a great overview of business in Latin America and Panama’s unique value as a “hub of hubs”.
It was fascinating to see how Panama has positioned themselves as a logistics hub through the development of the Panama Canal over the last few decades, and how that positioning facilitated their growth in other segments. Due to the traffic through the canal and their unique geographical position, they’ve also been able to grow into a major banking and technology hub.
This course easily ranks among my favorites so far at Fisher (alongside Global Applied Projects and Intopia) and I imagine it will only become more beneficial as I continue to advance in my career. The lessons learned about the benefits of moving product through Panama, the value-added services these companies are providing and the plans for future development in the region are all going to impact decisions I make as a supply chain professional.