Student Journal: summer dispatches from the field Orphans in Mexico: expanding the boys' goat cheese and soap business

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The Dispatches

1- It is 6 a.m., time to get up and be introduced to the goats

2 - Lunch with the big cheese and a road trip to Cancún

3 - Gringos and luggage up to the rafters, and assessing the goat cheese market in Cancún

4 - Milking the goats, a business meeting in Mexico City, and 'stoptional' red lights

5 - A new wave of volunteers, spending time with the boys

6 - Our recommendations to improve the orphanage's business operations



About the project

Editor's note: Grad students Doug Brown, Fabio Matsui, Joost Krikhaar, and Brent Mitchell will be filing regular dispatches from Atlixco, Mexico this summer. We'll publish their reports online here. This is their first report.

Why are four Berkeley business school (Haas) students living in a Mexican orphanage and working in a goat cheese and soap factory this summer? Is this the new career path for business school students in the post-dot-com era?

Actually, we are part of Haas's International Business Development (IBD) program that sends student consulting teams to assist companies in foreign countries. Our team is working for IPODERAC (Puebla Institute of Rehabilitation), an organization in Atlixco, Mexico that provides shelter, education, and professional training to 72 Mexican boys.

IPODERAC also manufactures and sells Villa Nolasco goat cheese and soap, covering most of the orphanage's expenses. Our team is already underway in positioning IPODERAC to profitably expand its business in Mexico. Most importantly, we are having fun eating pozole (Mexican stew) with the "Chavos" (boys) and Joost has enjoyed singing with them and we look forward to rooting for Mexico in the Copa del Mundo (World Cup).

—Team IPODERAC (as known in Atlixco):

—Doug "Dooglas" Brown
—Joost "Rhymes with Most" Krikhaar
—Fabio "Brazilian Model" Matsui
—Brent "Bran - Brandon from 90210 without the Don" Mitchell


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