May 14, 2019

Peru’s Andean Miracle: Inside the Peru GIX

By Keerthi Vallabhapurapu T’20

After a long, arduous winter in Hanover filled with the pressures of recruitment, 23 of us, along with Richard McNulty, executive director of leadership development, and Dartmouth government professor John Carey stepped into Peru. The theme of the GIX was “Peru's Andean Miracle: Lessons at the Intersection of the Private Sector and Public Policy.” The promise was of wisdom, wonder, fun, and some much-required vitamin D. Peru did not disappoint on any account. The Peru 2019 GIX kicked off with a walking tour of its sprawling capital: Lima. We learned about the Spanish Inquisition of Peru, walked through the local markets, and essentially saw the city through the eyes of local tour guides—an experience worth the sunburn mark I carry to date.

Walking tour in Lima

Tuck students during the walking tour in Lima

The same evening, we battled through Lima’s traffic to visit Mr. Hernando de Soto, a world-renowned economist. It was an enlightening conversation that helped put in perspective all the extralegal settlements we came across earlier in the day. We wrapped up the day, just like the days to come, by experiencing the culinary delights that Peru so proudly offers, and with an abundance of pisco sours.

Tuck students with economist Mr. De Soto

Tuck students with Mr. De Soto

The next day started bright and early with a visit to Intercorp, a Peruvian conglomerate that soared to prominence in the capable hands of Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor (aka CRP) T’88. An extremely charismatic person, CRP is an embodiment of Tuck’s core value of wise leadership. Spending a day listening to the top leadership at Intercorp, including the former prime minister of Peru Fernando Zavala, left us in awe of Intercrop’s vision and potential impact on the emerging middle class in Peru. That night, we got the chance to spend time with a number of Tuck alumni in a historically significant building: Club Nacional.

Tuck students with CRP at Intercorp

Tuck students with CRP at Intercorp

The next day, we had the opportunity to visit one of the Innova schools—an Intercorp initiative—and were amazed to see how Innova succeeded in standardizing quality education in Peru using a low-cost model that benefits the middle class and more importantly makes the business sustainable and scalable. Highlight of the trip was meeting with the Peru Champs. Peru Champs, spearheaded by Alberto de Cardenas T’04, provides need-based scholarships for students to attend Innova Schools. Listening to extremely talented kids talk about how they battled unfathomable difficulties to pursue their passions in hope for a better life for themselves and the people around them was heartwarming and inspiring. Later in the day, we visited Intercorp’s innovation center—La Victoria Lab—and had an interesting conversation about Aviva, which is another initiative about to be launched by Intercorp to make quality health care available to the Peruvian middle class. We ended the day with an engaging design thinking workshop aimed at providing innovative solutions to Kani, a startup that helps native Peruvian artisans and craftsmen find a market to sell their beautiful product. With that we bid farewell to the incredible view of pacific and headed to the highlands of Cusco.

Peru GIXers with Peru Champs at Innova Schools, Lima

Peru GIXers with Peru Champs at Innova Schools, Lima

The five days we spent in the highlands were travel heavy but truly magical. Accompanied by extremely knowledgeable and witty tour guides, Efrain and Miguel, we got comfortable in our bus seats where we spent majority of our time for the next few days. We started off by visiting stunning Moray and Maras Incan ruins. The beauty and the architectural precision of these ruins left us in wonder despite the persistent rain. The next day we visited the Amaru village, a community of native Quechuan speakers. We adorned traditional costumes and feasted on the delectable lunch prepared using traditional methods.

It was then time for what many of us came to Peru for: Machu Picchu. A train journey away from Cusco, we arrived at the nearest town to Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes the night before. We started our journey to Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn, after getting a walking tour of Incan ruins around Machu Picchu, it was time to hike up Huayna Pichhu. This intimidating hike in the rain with sheer drops and slippery rocks offered the promise of a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu and it was totally worth it. With the view of a world wonder filling up our hearts, we headed back to Cusco.

Tuck Students at Machu Picchu

Tuck Students at Machu Picchu

In the last couple of days at Cusco, we visited a nonprofit school supported by our wonderful tour guide, Efrain. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking to serve lunch to the most underprivileged girl children in Cusco. We then had the rest of the day to process all the wonderful and contrasting experiences we had throughout the trip. The fact that more than half of us broke down during our final refection is a testament to how impactful the trip was. It not only engaged our minds but also captured our hearts. It helped us appreciate our position of privilege and the opportunities that ensured. It inspired us to leverage this privilege to be thoughtful and compassionate in our endeavors at and beyond Tuck.

Sree Keerthi Vallabhapurapu is an MBA candidate at the Tuck School of Business, Class of 2020. She was formerly a principal consultant at Orbees Business Solutions in Hyderabad, India as well as an electronics and communications engineer at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India.