Thursday, May 30, 2024

UTSA Najim Center students gain global experience with Argentina financial firm

UTSA Najim Center students gain global experience with Argentina financial firm

AUGUST 4, 2023 — Eighteen UTSA students from across disciplines traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina with the university’s Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement to work as consultants with BYX Ventures, the technological corporate venture capital fund for the Argentina Stock Exchange (BYMA Bolsas y Mercados). This global experience was a key component of Najim Center’s What's In It For Me (WIIFM) Summer Institute.

The Najim Center engages students in innovative project management and skill-based programming and leads faculty, staff and industry partners in enhancing and expanding experiential learning opportunities. Offerings are designed to create an equitable experience for all students to participate.

WIIFM is a term commonly used in marketing, sales and communication to guide professionals to address the needs and desires of their target audiences or customers. By understanding the "What's In It For Me" factor, businesses and communicators can better connect with consumers and effectively convey the benefits of their products, services or ideas. This approach acknowledges the importance of individual self-interest and seeks to provide relevant and compelling reasons for people to take action.

“The impact of this experience is sure to resonate for years to come. We call this the WIIFM effect.”

Within this eight-week immersive experience, the UTSA students were able to utilize the WIIFM approach in their projects, as well as in their own personal and professional journeys. They spent the first two weeks of the program exploring their personal and professional needs and desires, embracing the role of the client. Then, they practiced market research, design thinking and cultural competency to better meet the needs of their clients in Argentina. With its rich culture and ripe startup community, Argentina was a prime location for students to gain cross-cultural experience with a diverse startup community.

Once in Argentina, the students worked in project teams with BYX Ventures, which invests in startups focused on new technologies. Each team was given a different start-up to research and analyze. The teams then provided formal recommendations on whether the startups were a smart investment and why.

The students explored creative ways to leverage their varied expertise and backgrounds. They coalesced their ideas into a shared vision—brainstorming, crafting strategies and designing technological solutions to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the projects they were working on.

“The student's willingness to learn from one another and embrace their strengths became the foundation of their success,” said Erica Clark, director of UTSA Student Innovation and LaunchPad campus director.

Their daily interactions became a tapestry of knowledge exchange, cultural enrichment and mutual respect. Through active listening and open communication, they synthesized ideas and forged them into innovative solutions.

The skills and experiences I have acquired during this journey extend far beyond the boundaries of this opportunity,” shared participant Miranda Ruiz Vazquez, a UTSA global affairs major. “I am confident that the expertise I have developed in strategic thinking, coupled with my ability to adapt and thrive in cross-cultural environments, will be instrumental in shaping my future endeavors.”

She added, “Being bilingual has also been a tremendous asset in this role, enabling me to connect with the founders and investors from different linguistic backgrounds and build meaningful relationships. Through genuine interactions, I have gained invaluable insights into the nuances of various cultures, fostering a deep appreciation for the diversity that enriches the global business landscape.” 

While a traditional study abroad experience requires students to pay $1,500 or more to participate, the WIIFM Summer Institute provided the experience at $400 and the UTSA Najim Center offered a scholarship for students who could not afford to pay.

“I enjoyed taking part in this experience with amazing peers and mentors,” said Korielle Trammell, a junior majoring in management on the human resources track. “I enjoyed navigating the culture, forming strong bonds and seeing how each and every individual grew not only personally but professionally as well.” 

Students gained cultural competency skills, market research experience, conflict resolution skills and formal presentation experience that they can now use in any job, project or cultural setting in the future. This experience provides the students with added skills, giving them a competitive advantage over peers as they seek out jobs, internships and ultimately build their careers.

Beyond the confines of the project, the students embraced the rich cultural tapestry of Argentina. They immersed themselves in the local traditions, sampled traditional cuisine and explored the mesmerizing landscapes. The experiences outside the project further strengthened their bonds and fostered lifelong friendships.

“Reflection is key in bringing these types of experiences to life,” said Rachael Miller, UTSA senior associate director of experiential learning. “It provides students with space to make sense of their experience, learn from others and gain tangible skills.”

⇒ Visit the Najim Center website for a full list of upcoming programs, projects, and competitions and register by August 30, 2023, to join the Najim Center Ecosystem this fall.

The 18 students who participated in the WIIFM Summer Institute returned to San Antonio with experience in how to work as a cohesive team across diverse academic fields, how to embrace challenges and how to achieve remarkable outcomes.

"Their journey fortified their technical skills and cultivated a profound appreciation for the beauty of cultural diversity and the strength of collective determination," Clark said. “The impact of this experience is sure to resonate for years to come. We call this the WIIFM effect.”

Erica Clark and Rachael Miller

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to

UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.




University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.