Notes from the road: USD MBA study abroad class

Latin American Business Environment, Bogota, Colombia

“We visited Juan Valdez’s HQ in Bogota to learn about globalization from the perspective of a Colombian multinational company.  Many of us could remember the ads for Colombian coffee and Juan Valdez, but what we did not really understand is that the Juan Valdez brand was born from the vision of 500,000 Colombian coffee growers – a vision that people everywhere would associate Colombian coffee with excellence, sustainability and respond emotionally to the brand.

USD MBA students visit Juan Valdez coffee headquarters in Bogota

USD MBA students visit Juan Valdez coffee headquarters in Bogota

Juan Valdez is a member of the Colombian family and stands behind the Colombian President ready to serve coffee to Heads of State. The branding was wildly successful, yet coffee consumption has changed dramatically in recent decades. Juan Valdez had to regroup because of changing consumer tastes. The challenge was “how to retain their uniquely Colombian brand while expanding globally,” said Alejandra Londono, International Business Manager.  She admits that the global expansion has not been easy.  Yet, the company’s passion for the coffee growers and their connection with consumers has propelled them forward. They now have over 200 coffee shops in Latin America, have established a solid footprint in the US and are conquering the globe!  Juan Valdez’s recipe for successful global expansion? Staying true to their Colombian roots, careful selection of new markets, and connection with local partners. They have adopted a franchise model and work only with franchisees that are passionate about Colombian coffee. The company has also deployed well-trained young Colombians to work in their stores around the globe. This includes six excited young people in the Kuwait store who act as ambassadors for half-a-million coffee growers in their home country. Let the expansion continue!”

 -Written by Annik Prasad, a second year IMBA student
Prior to joining USD Annik worked in the Finance industry. Her experience includes 2 years as Account Manager, Portfolio Analytics/Risk for Bloomberg LP and 8 years as Relationship Manager, Institutional Investments for Wells Capital Management.

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