December 31: the last day of 2013. Our group started the day by packing up, checking out of the hotel at 9:30 am, and heading to the steel museum. Monterrey was true to form with its consistantly beautiful weather; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, not a cloud in the sky. By that I mean it was 50 degrees and raining again. After a delightful walk in the park, we astutely deduced by the dark windows and locked doors that the steel museum was closed. Thankfully, there was an indoor flea market nearby. As we entered the flea market, an aroma of pleather, toilet cleaner, and body odor wafted through the air. We entertained ourselves by wandering through booths of knockoff clothing, religious paraphernalia, and food that looked garaunteed to inflict irreparable damage on your bowels. We spent our final hours in Monterrey in a mall that offered the same experience as a shopping mall in the U.S., save for our utter inability to conversate with store employees. Many employees quickly noticed our blank, wide eyed stares, and resorted to miming. The rest of the day/ new years celebrations will be covered by Valeria.
Overall, businesses in Monterrey are very similar to US businesses. For example, the brewery tour was structured like a U.S. brewery tour. All of the companies went in depth about their mission to stakeholders and costomers, sustainability issues, and giving back to their communities. The last company we visited was structured very similarly to the Monsanto Roundup plant I worked for last spring; they had similar logistics systems/ problems and similar hurricane issues/ protocols.
Despite the similarities, there are several large differences between U.S. and Mexican plants. U.S. business culture seems to revolve around being on time. As was the case when we showed up to the brewery on time and had to wait 45 minutes for our guide, Mexican business culture does not focus on being timely for meetings. Mexican companies such as the brewery have a strong focus on making employees friends; they opened a new employee bar area for drinking and networking after work. Overall, these visits added valuable experiences and new perspectives on working in a global company.