For our IBD project, we are helping a Mexican healthcare startup with their expansion strategy. And when I say startup, I mean we are working out of the CEO’s apartment. The staff works around the dining table, and meetings take place on the terrace outside. (No wonder we heard all those chirping birds on our Skype calls this spring.)

This is my first taste of the life of the entrepreneur. We work 11-hour days to keep up with the founders – Carlos and Javier – whose enthusiasm for their venture is infectious. In the spirit of a true startup, we’ve done everything from helping them pick designs for nurse uniforms to sitting in on a strategy discussion with a senior advisor over Domino’s pizza.

The office – also our home for these three weeks – is abuzz with interns, advisors, lawyers, accountants, architects, and job applicants. Just from overhearing the HR director’s phone calls, I have picked up the Spanish words for ‘resume’ (curriculum), ‘interview’ (entrevista), and ‘hire’ (contratar). Javier’s mom comes by with office supplies and extra furniture: two new tables and four more chairs since we’ve arrived.

In one of our first meetings, Carlos brought up this quote from The Alchemist: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” True enough, on our first day in the office we met a hospital administrator who put us in touch with some of our most useful contacts. Two weeks in, I am starting to believe the world is doing its utmost to help this team succeed.

—Masha Lisak

Previous Mexican Entrepreneurs are like Berkeley MBAs Next AK-47s in Mongolia