Working With Beers… And Changing My Country?

Guilherme de Macedo Feitosa, COL ’24, Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil

I honestly never saw myself working in a brewery until the summer of 2021, but it took just one email to change my mind. At the time, I was the youngest employee in a Brazilian startup, “isaac,” working within the intersection between technology and education to provide better management tools to affordable private schools in my country. Being an intern there was a childhood dream. Coming from a low-income background and being the first of family to pursue a higher education, I’ve always had in mind that I wanted to attach social impact to my professional life, so I couldn´t imagine a better company for me to work in… Until I received an email from a recruiter at AB InBev (ABI). She said that they were recruiting some undergrads for an upcoming program of the company. It would be a 3-day immersion with panels about ABI´s Brazilian branch, Ambev’s, history, brands, etc. “Why not?” I asked myself, so I accepted the invitation, and, for my surprise, more than getting to know the insides of the biggest brewery in the world, I found comfort and a sense of belonging. That is, for the first time since I got accepted to Penn, I was surrounded by students of similar backgrounds as mine: all minorities.

When it came to the acquisition of talents, it dazzled me that they were looking for diversity even in place where it most lacks. In fact, I was blown away that such a social consciousness was present in every part of this global corporation. From their sustainability-oriented growth strategy to their DEI-focused recruiting process, I understood that there is indeed space for change in stablished companies and that, the more of a market share they have, more they must be aware of their influence, and, hence, their capacity to change lives. By the end of the third day of the program, I already knew that I would move mountains to work at Ambev, so I did, becoming one of their summer interns a year later.

At the central administration of Ambev, in São Paulo, Brazil, everything that I was presented through ZOOM a year prior was materialized in my eyes: from Monday to Friday, I got to meet and work with Brazilians of an infinite number of backgrounds – all in frenzy, hoping to provide the best experiences in beverages for the fifth biggest nation in the world. Most special, regardless of my role, I could feel that they respected me a lot and trusted the recruiters’ decision of bringing me there. As such, I was given the jaw-dropping task of taking care of operations of the whole portfolio of premium draft beers in Brazil. It was challenging, but surprisingly never scary, because from day one I was told that I was not alone… And I never was. Either messaging or phone-calling a bunch of people on a daily-basis, I saw first-hand how much work is put into providing what we consume, and thus how much impact I can have in the families that depend on the selling of the products I operate. A lack of attention in my work could result in a day without income to someone just like a focused week could open somewhere a job to someone who’s currently unemployed. Therefore, I had to be on top of my game at all-time, thinking of the impact I can naturally generate on others. This was a mindset I did not have before, wrongfully assuming that a positive impact could only be caused by a few organizations. Indeed, you can positively change lives no matter where you work if you bear in mind that the product of your work affect others, and I am proud to say that I did it so through beers.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services