Second Year MBAs arrived in Buenos Aires either directly from New Orleans or from brief stopovers in Latin American countries like the Dominican Republic, Belize and Brazil. I was in the latter group (15 of us spent 3 exhausting days in Rio), and when I arrived at the Loi Suites Recoleta in Buenos Aires, I felt like I hadn’t slept (showered) in days.
I quickly checked in, said hello to all of my rested and immaculately clean classmates, put on the XXL t-shirt that was handed to me with a look of pity (I’m 5’4), and boarded a bus that was taking us to the Race.
You may be wondering—as was I—what race we were going to. I had heard Polo was a common recreation in Argentina, but I ruled it out on the simple, logical reasoning that t-shirts-to-your-knees were not preferable attire. Next, I thought about cars, but realized that Nascar’s globalization had stopped in Mexico. I didn’t have a chance to form any other theories, however, because our tour guide took the mic in the front of the bus:
“We are arriving at our first stop in The Amazing Race. Here you and your team will receive your first Activity Packet and begin your scavenger hunt around the beautiful Buenos Aires.” The t-shirt suddenly made sense.
We gathered in teams in the Plaza de Mayo where we were handed our first task. Each team consisted of students from Tulane MBA and local students from the IAE Business School in Argentina.
And then, the race began.
The spring weather was perfect and my tiredness evaporated in the face of Buenos Aires’ charming parks and ports. Walking/running all over the city, we counted statues, learned to tango, went the wrong way on the subway, serenaded some innocent bystanders in awful Spanish, took pictures with a Messi jersey, and finally collapsed into booths (beers) at the finish line-pub.
Though my team didn’t win (my t-shirt weighed me down), The Amazing Race was an incredible way to be introduced to a foreign country—thrust into its core and immediately imbedded in its life and culture.
Special thanks to Sarah, Martin, and Anne for making this event wonderful and memorable!