Robins School students in the Doing Business in Latin America course served as consultants for Brink’s, a Fortune 1000 cash management company headquartered in Henrico County. 

“We worked on a real-world business problem with a client,” said Isabella Gomez Torres, ’18. “We conducted extensive research throughout the semester to identify potential opportunities and threats in each of the target countries we were assigned in Latin America.”

Each year, George Hiller, lecturer in international business, connects the students in this course with Richmond clients who want to expand to Latin America to give them hands-on experience consulting on international business matters.

“Brink’s is truly a global company, as 75 percent of their revenue is derived from operations outside the U.S.,” said Hiller.

This year, student teams from the Robins School and the School of Law developed market entry strategies in Latin America for a new e-payments system.  

“The company’s traditional format of cash management is a mature industry,” Hiller said. “As individuals move to a cashless society, Brink’s hopes to develop a new personal payments business here in the U.S. and abroad. This provided an excellent opportunity for our students to conduct research and weigh in on the process.” 

The student teams researched different countries in Latin America, and produced various plans for Brink’s to enter the marketplaces.

“We had to familiarize ourselves with trends in the fintech industry and found many disruptors that directly affected Brink's proposition. We also encountered a different set of regulations and legal issues in each of our countries, so we had to think carefully about how to adapt the product in those instances,” Gomez Torres said. “Overall it was a great learning experience.” 

Since completing this project, Gomez Torres connected with Eugenia Kowalchuk, senior business analyst and marketing coordinator for Brink’s, and will intern with the company for the summer of 2018.

“After our first interaction with the students we noticed their dedication for learning, so we thought the internship will be beneficial for both the student and our company,” Kowalchuk said. 

Kowalchuk said that after their successful presentations in May, they knew they wanted a student to continue to work with them in the summer months focusing on research projects for the company’s U.S. products.

“Many of our clients are very young so it is beneficial to get ideas from the same age group,” Kowalchuk said. “It is a different perspective that will help us cater better to their needs as we can identify certain features that better resonate with them. Additionally, the students were not shy to think outside the box in regards to marketing. This is a very intelligent and dedicated group of people that did in-depth research.”

Kowalchuk and Miguel Zepeda, managing director for global payments in North America for Brink’s, listened to all of the presentations and agreed the student research would be extremely beneficial for the company’s plan to expand into Latin America. 

“I was impressed with the quality and professionalism of all students,” Zepeda said. “The fintech industry is quite complex, and they worked hard to understand the key issues and present a path forward for us.”

The 2017 class of students in this course completed similar research for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). You can find more information about their consulting work here.