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Darla Moore School of Business


International MBA student learns about Brazilian business culture through preparation for 2016 Summer Olympics

July 26, 2016

Tim Christmann, a marketing and data analytics International MBA student at the Darla Moore School of Business, is interning with a sports marketing company based in Rio de Janeiro this summer. The company, König Sports, provides accommodation, hospitality and logistics services for Olympic Committee members, sports delegations, athletes and friends and family of these clients.

Since coming to the Moore School, Christmann has been learning about how different countries do business, but seeing how it’s done in person has been an enlightening experience for him, especially regarding a business operation as large and well known as the Olympics.

“In negotiations in the United States, it’s a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of deal,” he said. “Here, it’s very much part of the culture. You get to know the person. You talk about their family and their experiences, and then you start into the negotiations.”

While this style of business goes at a slower pace than what Christmann is used to, he appreciates it now that he’s living it. The real-life experience combined with the base knowledge of all types of businesses that he gained in the classroom has helped him realize why different businesses act the way they do.

This slower pace surprised him initially, and he’s still amazed at times at how suddenly Brazilians are able to pull things off.

“The culture is so laid back, and it ties into their business operations,” he said. “Brazilians have a knack for getting things done at the last minute.”

When Christmann started back in March, he could hardly tell the Olympics were set to happen in five months. Since then, he’s seen advertising and construction start and finish in as little as a matter of days. He finds this approach to be more stressful, but he has a better understanding of it after working within it for a few months.

Originally, he was hired as a general manager, but now his role has shifted more toward marketing, a change he had hoped for from the start. At this point in his internship, he is in charge of mass email campaigns and conducts market research to find potential clients. He has also revamped the company website and put together a marketing brochure.

“I’ve worn a lot of different hats,” Christmann said.

One thing he loves about his internship is that his role within the company has varied so much. He’s done tasks ranging from translating contracts to working with the largest ticket reseller in the United States. The company is focused on providing its services to not only international clients coming to Brazil for this summer’s Olympics, but also to Brazilians going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea or the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

Overall, Christmann has been enjoying his time in Rio and is excited to see what will happen when the influx of people arrive for the Olympics.

“The Olympics is about bringing together the international community,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see how everything comes together.”

By Madeleine Vath