Brazil: Strategy and Samba in Rio!

Brazil: Business and Samba in Rio!


January 3 - January 17, 2019  

Program Description 

Learn strategic management and earn 3 units of Bus3 189. Guest speakers from leading Brazilian or Brazilian-based organizations, such as such as Global TV and Sua Música (a startup) will provide onsite tours and discussions concerning relevant business approaches in their respective companies and industries.

* All coursework will be in English.

Based in the gorgeous and iconic coastal city of Rio De Janeiro, excursions include:

  • City Tour including Christ the Redeemer Statue, Tijuca Forest, Santa Teresa neighborhood and Lapa
  • Four company visits, such as Global TV, Sua Música startup, and a Social Entrepreneurship company
  • Pequena Africa (Little Africa) Walking Tour / Centro Brazil
  • Walking tour of the Santa Marta Favela
  • Percussion Lesson in the Santa Marta Favela
  • Samba lesson with dancers from Mangueira Samba School


BUS3 189 Strategic Management (3 units)

Business 189 is a senior capstone seminar for business majors. The goal of the seminar is to learn the fundamentals of how to manage organizations strategically. Strategic management of organizations is a complex undertaking, which starts with the central question: why do some companies succeed while others fail?  The course will require you to examine this question by integrating knowledge from prior business courses, while simultaneously learning and applying new strategic management concepts, principles, frameworks and methodologies. Applies multi-disciplinary techniques to diagnose and recommend actions appropriate to specific company situation, using the case method of teaching.

While the course will address all the SJSU College of Business curriculum requirements, there will be an additional emphasis on strategic management from a Brazilian perspective. The instructor has previous business strategy and residency experience in Brazil, which will add additional value to student learning.


Senior status; passed Writing Skills Test (WST) and 100W


*All prerequisites must be completed prior to application.

**All coursework will be in English.




Program Leader: Thomas A. Shirley

Dr. Shirley is currently a lecturer in the Lucas Graduate and School of Business and Department of Psychology at San José State University. Prior to his role at SJSU, he also held roles as a mergers and acquisitions advisor and executive with McKinsey, KPMG, and General Electric (GE) across North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

He has lived in 9 countries and visited more than 35 countries, and Brazil is definitely one of his favorites! His travels have shaped his worldview, opened his mind, and developed his adaptability. Given Dr. Shirley has lived and worked in Brazil, he hopes to share this knowledge and experience with you and together learn about the history and traditions of the Brazilian people, as well as their strategic management practices.





It is important to note that each program's total cost will vary depending on the location and the package it offers.  

$750 SJSU Special Session Tuition ($250 per unit)
$200 Administrative Fee 
$2,795 Program fees, lodging, class materials and class related tours approximately*
$3,745 Total Program Cost


* Airfare is not included. Students will need approximately $20-$30 a day for meals (breakfast is included). 


"My experience in Brazil was incredible; it helped me gain a new appreciation of our lifestyleAndrew Ramos in America. While we were there, we stayed in a hostel together and had the opportunity to bond with classmates and create friendships that continue to this day. I enjoyed touring many different companies, historical sites, favelas, and the beach. Going to Brazil for the winter of 2018 was the best decision I made this school year, and I would do it all over again." - Andrew Ramos


"My time spent on the Brazil FLP was nothing short of amazing. There is no better way to learn about another culture than to immerse yourself into it and that is exactly what this program does. The classroom setting is not comparable to the learning environment of an
FLP. I studied strategic management and we participated in multiple company tours, one being the largest company in Brazil and one of the largest in the world. You won't get that experience in a traditional course, neither will you be able to explore food you've never tasted, cultural differences you've never experienced, sights you've never seen, and best of all meeting locals from a country you've never been to. I improved my team work skills, Kenneth Beadleadaptability, and am better suited on what to search for in cultural differences and how to apply that to doing business. I would do it all over again in an instant, especially with the same students. Thomas Shirley is an exceptional Faculty member possessing all necessary qualities to lead this program and impact students lives. Don't think about doing an FLP, go do it!" - Kenneth Beadle


"Doing the 'Strategy and Samba' FLP trip was not only one of the best decisions i made in my college career, but also my life. The knowledge and experience I had gained from the Aieen B.program in Rio, Brazil was truly a priceless experience as it was not something I could have ever gained from a traditional classroom. Specifically, as an international business major, I had gained more insight on what I want to do with my career by giving me an introduction on how another country conducts their business and culture. Mainly, I owe a huge amount of gratitude to our program adviser Professor Shirley, who not only led by example, but also made us feel comfortable and confident throughout this once in a lifetime experience." - Aieen Behbahany


"Rio de Janeiro is a phenomenal city to begin with, but to have Professor Thomas Shirley organize a trip to share between about 20 of his top students solidified the experience as a legacy. To those that may be hesitant about visiting Rio due to safety concerns, I want to assure that you'll be in safe hands. Both Professor Shirley and our gregarious tour guide, Demian, treated our group like family and accounted for each student throughout the trip.
From the classroom, tourist traps, boardrooms, markets, and meals, our shared experience was unique for having a few weeks to bond with each other much more than any student organization or office hours can attest to. By the way, San Jose's winter is Rio's summer - imagine spending January in a swim suit! All in all, Rio was an incredible experience that was made possible by a professor that truly cares about what he does and who he's with. If given the chance, I'd go back in a heartbeat." - Danny Ludovina



Check out these additional resources for your program.

  • Itinerary
  • Info sessions