Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Photos Have Been Uploaded

I've finally added photos from Friday and Saturday. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's Almost Over

Today we woke early to go on a walking tour of the city. Our guide showed us all the old buildings in the historical part of town as well as the newer part of town (built in the early 19th century). We visited a museum, a Catholic church, walked quickly through the open-air market, and then took a quick bus tour of the rest of the city. Upon our return, we were running behind schedule so we only had 15 minutes to find the restrooms and browse the market. We then boarded another bus with Dean Frohlich to visit a newly opened museum called the Museum of Prehistoric Time and Human History in Krapina (www.mhz.hr). It was very interesting, but we were tired and hungry so the next stop was greatly anticipated. LUNCH. We headed to a hilltop restaurant called Kozjak. This is a very rustic place which made me think it was an old house. The front doors were wooden slats and the whole building was made with brick (that was exposed on the interior walls). The bathrooms were outside but thankfully were enclosed and not like the outhouses that I thought I might find. Again, the food was delicious.

Our last stop for the day was an outlet shopping mall, much like our mall in Edinburgh, IN. We made it a short trip than made the hour long trip back to the city of Zagreb. Short group meetings were held and then the students were released to do some last minute shopping, packing, or just a little relaxing before our horribly early wake up calls in the morning - 4:30 am. Yes folks, the journey's end is coming close. I still have to do some packing and sleeping myself so I will hold off posting any more video or pictures for now. I promise to work on the blog over the next several days to fill in any gaps that the students might leave when you talk to them next.

Until next time, take care.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Best Day Yet

Today was awesome! If we thought we were busy earlier in the week, today blew those all away. The morning started early with a walk to the Zagreb Chamber of Economy. We were shown a short video about the country, which made us all decide we need to come back in the summer and travel the coastline. The students learned a great deal about the economic situation here in Zagreb & Croatia. They also got to meet the US Embassy representative who also gave them insight into how to get a similar diplomatic job and some of the things he works on during the year. We also met Dean Zlatan Frohlich from IGBS. This school has a partnership with the Kelley School and Dean Frohlich is very instrumental in keeping the relationship a live and providing a high quality MBA program.

Our next visit was to Coca-Cola (www.coca-colahellenic.hr). Everyone really enjoyed this business visit. We were able to hear their production, marketing, and shipping strategies based on the market here. We were also treated to a short tour of their bottling facility and a cool goodie bag. While we were still on a high from this meeting, we visited our next company - Geofoto (www.geofoto.hr). This firm handles all types of civil digital imaging for maps. They have topographical maps, 3D modeling maps of cities, aerial photographic maps and more. We were given a presentation to explain the differences between all the types of maps. Then the students were allowed to see the equipment that made some of the maps, and even try on a pair of 3D goggles and view what the Geofoto team was currently working on. How cool is that!

Busy day you say? Ha! We're only half way done with our day. At 2:30pm we visited with Erste Bank. This is a large bank here in Zagreb who just seems to "get it". The presentation at this firm focused on innovation and marketing to both external clients as well as their staff. One student has decided to apply for an internship with this company because he liked what they had to say.

We had a few hours of free time before meeting back at the hotel at 7:30 to walk to dinner with Dean Frohlich and some of the IGBS MBA students. We had a wonderful time talking with the students and the food was outrageous! We ate so much food and everything tasted wonderful. It's getting late so I won't post photos right now. Stay tuned and I'll add photos soon.

P.S. Tomorrow is our last day in Croatia and the last day of our spring break. Tomorrow will be busy but I hope to get even a short note posted before leaving Sunday morning.

Laura's Favorite

video

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We're Not in Budapest Anymore...

This morning we enjoyed our final breakfast at Sofitel Hotel in Budapest. I know we are going to miss the long counters of pastries, assorted breads, meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and so much more! We left Budapest around 9 AM and enjoyed a leisurely ride through the Hungary country side. We arrived at the border around noon and an immigration official came onto the bus and collected our passports. In the meantime, a border control officer examined our luggage below the bus. After waiting close to an hour, they returned our passports with two new stamps and we were on our way. We arrived in Zagreb a couple of hours later. Although we made it into the city rather easily, it was a challenge for our bus to find the hotel because of traffic, pedestrians, and one way streets. After asking two police officers for assistance without any results, we eventually asked the hotel for directions which involved driving down a tram track and removing several poles from the street to allow our bus to enter the narrow parking lot. Everyone was very excited to arrive and after a quick check-in, we hit the streets. It didn't take long for the students to find pastry and gelato shops lining the streets outside of our hotel. The air smells wonderful! Within hours of arriving, it has already become clear that not many people speak English and menus in multiple languages are harder to come by. We are excited for a busy day of business visits from 8:30 AM-10 PM. Until tomorrow....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Last Day in Budapest

Today has been very busy. We received exciting news! But more on that later. We got an early start and headed to our first meeting, which was with the Ministry for National Development of Economy (http://www.nfgm.gov.hu/en). Our hosts discussed various aspects of the Hungarian economy, membership in the European Union, and small business support. Most of the visits haven't received as much excitement as this meeting has. In this picture, one of our students is smiling because he just loves the microphone system in front of him, which he later used to ask questions of our hosts.

Our next visit was with ITD (http://www.itdh.com/) an investment and trade development company. Here, we heard about the great recession in Europe from a comparison of Hungary and Poland economics. The students asked great questions and learned a lot.

We actually had time for a quick lunch and then it was off to our third visit of the day, Freesoft (www.freesoft.hu/en) which is a technology company that sells Oracle licensing products as well as developing data modernization products for large corporations. A very informative visit but the excitement was building. It was time to head to our fourth and final visit......Parliament! Yes folks, Professor Jaffee and the team at IU's CIBER office were able to reschedule our visit with Mr. Horvath and give us a private tour of Parliament. It doesn't get much better than this!!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Surprises

video

Our First Day of Business Visits

Today has been busy. It was our first day of business visits. Starting out, we knew this would be an adventure since we would be taking a tram, the subway, and maybe a trolly/bus. Unfortunately, we started the day with bad directions. But all ended well - just later than desired. Thankfully, our first visit was with a great company called Edusys (www.edusys.hu) who greeted us as if we were old friends. Edusys is a small company whose focus is on the spread of internet technology and the creation/development of distance learning education systems. Next we travelled to Cashline Inc. (www.clt.hu/en/), a trading company that works on both the Hungarian market as well as the US Stock Exachange. Students were given a short presentation about the markets, the recession, and then given a tour of the trading room inside Cashline.

The day ended with some disappointment. We have been walking past parliament many times over the past day or two. We were scheduled to have a special tour of the building and meet with MP Horvath (an economist who serves in parliament). Unfortunately, a dignitary from another country also visited parliament today and there was some miscommunication with our contact there so the visit didn't happen. We are holding out hope that Mr. Horvath can see us tomorrow, but he's a very busy man. Cross your fingers!

Some of us are heading to a large market in the area, while others are heading to a local museum called the House of Terror (http://www.terrorhaza.hu/).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Revolution Day 2010 Comes To An End

Everyone went on a bus tour of the city from 9-1 today. We visited the Citadel, which is the highest point in the city and you can see a large portion of both the Buda side as well as the Pest side (pronounced pesht). From there we visited other sections on both sides of the river including the Jewish section, Hero Square, and the castle district. (check out the slide show to the right for some pictures from the tour)

Once we were finished with the tour, we all split into groups to explore the many things the holiday had to offer. It seems food was the first priority of everyone. Along the Danube, street vendors had long lines at times for their warm food. Some ordered the traditional favorite goulash, which is much different from American versions. Others had a variety of sausages, meet, giant pretzels, and pastries.

Once our bellies were full, and we were a little warmer, we all struck out in different directions. Some viewed groups singing traditional Hungarian songs of 1848, others saw parades of period soldiers on horseback, and a speech given by a current candidate for political office. Many places had re-enactments of daily life activities or marching soldier-type demonstrations.

Between 6 and 7pm, everyone regrouped and headed out to dinner - also in groups. We plan to meet for breakfast in the morning to debrief from today and make sure everyone is ready for our first day of business visits. There will be a great deal of public transportation involved so I'm sure we'll have plenty of stories for tomorrow's blog. Until tomorrow.

Happy Revolution Day

A group of us got up very early to go site seeing. They are already setting up for the festivities and our group is getting very excited. We are about to leave for our 1/2 day city tour and then will split up again to check out various activities around town. We'll blog again later today. Check back later today (it's 9:00 am).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

UPDATED - We Made It To Budapest!


We made it to Budapest and it's been a great day. We arrived at the hotel around 12:30-1 pm today. Everyone checked into their rooms, cleaned up a bit, and then headed out for a few hours to check out our surroundings. Several could be found checking out a very cute shopping district just around the corner from the hotel.

At 4:30pm, we all met back at the hotel to leave for our meeting with Professor Paul Marer of CEU (Central European University) - a school of business. He is also a distinguished former Kelley faculty member. He explained his life story, from having one family die in a concentration camp and his father almost executed during the Jewish persecution of WWII. He discussed his unique perspective on the history, culture, politics and economy of Budapest/Hungary. He is a wealth of knowledge and the students' enjoyed listening to him. Of course it didn't hurt that he bought enough pizza to feed us, and then some.
With full bellies, we all headed back to the hotel to hopefully get caught up on sleep. Tomorrow morning, some of us are getting to breakfast early and plan an adventure to Margaret Island before we set off for the official first outing - a guided city tour. After the tour we will all break into groups to view various Revolution Day activites.

Friday, March 12, 2010

We Leave Tomorrow

Bloomington is a ghost town. Most of the students on campus have already left for warmer locations. But Kelley Emerging Economies students are still here. Some of us leave tomorrow morning at 3:45 a.m. Thankfully the Hungary/Croatia students don't leave until 6:30 a.m. Still, that's much earlier than most of our students EVER get up. But it will all be worth it.

You can expect a post or two from various airports tomorrow. I'll also try to put up a quick note just to let you know we have reached our final destination in Budapest. Everyone get some sleep tonight, it's going to be an exciting week to come!

Weather we can expect: Looks like low 40's in Budapest and rain a few days. If we're lucky, we might get into the low 50's by Thursday, which is when we leave for Zagreb.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Last Culture Class!

So tonight was our last night in the cultural section of class. The students took their "final" and the remainder of the class was dedicated to last minute items such as the itinerary, what to pack, how much money to bring, and some of the daily educational activities.

Here, we were discussing the expected 4" of snow in Budapest for tomorrow (and what to expect).

girls listening to last minute details

Here, TJ is looking through the journals that were given to all the students. They will use these to jot down notes about business visits and use them to reflect on the day's activities. These books will help them remember key elements of the trip to use in their presentations once we return to Bloomington.

reviewing the journal
Everyone was extremely excited to finally be just days away from our adventure. We leave in just 3 days. Budapest! Here we come!