Global Immersion Capstone Project Spotlight: Bridgestone Americas

EMBA team analyzes LATAM distribution models on and offsite

For students in the Executive MBA Program, the capstone strategy project is one of several unique immersive chances to apply lessons from the classroom to challenges posed by real businesses.

The Client: Bridgestone is the world’s largest tire and rubber company, selling a range of rubber products and others used in a variety of everyday applications. The sponsor, Vibhav Veldore (EMBA’15), is Director, Agriculture and Off-the-Road Tires, in Bridgestone Latin American Tire Operations.

Bridgestone project sponsor Vibhav Veldore (EMBA’15)

The Project: Before being approached by Vanderbilt, Veldore and Bridgestone were already planning to work on a distribution study involving several countries in Latin America. Specifically, they wanted to optimize their distribution model to serve customers better, and they wanted an outside perspective.

A five-person team of Executive MBA students (Erin Raccah, Jin Ping, Pamela Rodriguez, Austin Martin, and Ricardo Gimenez) were tasked with analyzing the company’s distribution model in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico and providing recommendations for improvement. “It was not hard to convince our management that this would be a good project,” Veldore recalled. “They are well aware of things Vanderbilt has done.”

The Analysis: After establishing a timeline, the team worked remotely and onsite to complete its analysis. Team members met with Veldore at least once a month, with those located outside the U.S. participating by phone. They visited Brazil and met with corporate leaders at Bridgestone facilities to get a close look at the model in action. The team’s research dug deep into Bridgestone’s practices and those of other comparable companies to benchmark best practices.

The Impact: At the end of the project, the team delivered a data-driven set of recommendations and solutions for some of Bridgestone’s systemic challenge. “The team’s work equaled outputs we would expect from premium consulting firms,” Veldore said. “They did a fabulous job. I received positive feedback directly from the president of the company!”

For a closer look at capstone projects and the Executive MBA program, please visit the EMBA program page.

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