Brazil, an amazing country – A Vietnamese comparison

We were back from Brazil three days ago but I still feel the strong energy of that country.  Before getting on the Smurfit MBA International Study Trip, I always thought of Brazil as a home of football and samba with many beautiful beaches and one of the key emerging markets. However, there is actually much more than those in Brazil. If I have to tell everything I have learned from this trip, it would be a lengthy report or say a learning journal which I need to write later on as a part of the course.  Nevertheless, there were three things that impressed me most in terms of comparison between my home country, Vietnam which is also an emerging country, and Brazil.

Vietnam mainly relies on agricultural exports and Brazil is our main competitor in many areas, especially the coffee market where we are only  second to Brazil. Therefore,  my initial perception of Brazil was more of an agriculture-based country rather than a service-based one. And then I was impressed by knowing Brazil’s services now accounts for 66% of the economy while agriculture contributes only 20%. Moreover, most of their population (193 million, the fifth largest in the world) is now living in urbanised areas. For instance, Sao Paulo, our first destination in Brazil, is a huge modern city with 20 million inhabitants.



Sao Paulo - a modern city
Sao Paulo - a modern city



In addition, I had an expectation before the trip that Brazilian would have many characteristics in common with the Western people as Brazil used to be the Portugal’s colony for over 300 years. However after the trip, it turned out not to be true. In fact, Brazilians are group-orientated and collective. They collaborate in group and compete as a group. These characteristics are very close to Vietnamese ones.

More interestingly, I got a chance to go to an open market in Sao Paulo. It was just a small normal area with many small shops selling foods, stuff and the like. When I worked around, I saw that most of the shops accepted payments by credit cards even if they sold 4-5 Real stuff (approximately €2). I found out later on from the tour guide that almost everywhere in Sao Paulo they do the same. I was very surprised at that time as the number of electronic payment in Ho Chi Minh City, the Vietnam’s largest city, is still  very small as compared to the cash payment. This has been a challenge in Vietnam hence seeing how Brazil overcame it really impressed me.


– Khoi Le,



Sao Paulo - open market
Sao Paulo - an open market



Brazil, here we come !

Last Friday, we finished the last of our International Study Project classes with a tour itinerary presentation. Thanks to the presentation, we’re all now so excited to experience the much warmer weather on the Rio beaches.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro BrazilOf course we had other important issues covered in that session, such as the importance of being on time and attending all scheduled meetings with the top management of various companies and also about using the opportunity to talk to the MBA students from a top Business school in Brazil. Well, all said and done, it’s a whole new country, with a whole new perspective. There will be a lot to learn from this country that’s developing at a pace like no other. This trip is going to be extremely eventful for the 43 of us going to Brazil in terms of meetings, learning and fun! Just can’t describe in words how much I’m looking forward to this trip and I am sure you will hear much more about it over the next few weeks !

Christ the Redeemer, here we come!

– Diana Vincent