As I reflect on my time now, however, it is incredible to think of the real world application of my first year curriculum in the MBA program. One company visit that stands out as one I can relate back to a number of first year courses was at an Amazon fulfillment center outside of Munich, Germany.
My favorite visit was in Vienna to see OPEC. Here, we had a great Q & A session with an OPEC representative about the current oil situation in the world, the economic status of OPEC nations including the turmoil in Venezuela and how competitor nations like the US and Russia could threaten the oil industry in the future. Overall, we had a very enlightening experience.
The city of Vienna is rich in music, art and culture but people don’t always realize the city is also full of nature. There are so many green spaces and gardens within the city and it is surrounded by hills full of vineyards. The Donau River runs through and creates many spots to go swimming. The best part about it though is that you can drive out 30 minutes and be in the midst of the Alps.
I not only learned about music, art, and language during class, but also outside of class. Studying abroad allowed me to be learning 24/7 without even realizing it, because I was enjoying the experiences so much.
Talking about engineering across the world really made me realize how global of a profession engineering is and how much I have in common with someone from another culture.
I was able to snowboard throughout the Alps, taste Belgian chocolate first hand, see a professional soccer game, soak in the history of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, explore what royalty looks like at Neuschwanstein Castle, and even stand in the bedroom of Anne Frank.
While visiting many companies throughout Central and Eastern Europe and studying their business strategies, one truly stands out as unique experience: the Sparta Praha soccer club in Prague, Czech Republic. I was skeptical about visiting a sports organization, believing that I would learn more from a Fortune 500 company. But I could not have been more wrong.
Considering the friendly locals, stunning scenary, and hearty traditional cuisine I will forever have a place for Austria's Tyrol in my heart.
Although these depictions of events might seem random, these are the memories of my study abroad that I will remember for the rest of my life.
My classmates and I interacted with executives and officials, while exploring the global business strategies of each of the companies. I also gained exposure to a variety of customs, laws, and regulations that affected their business operations in both emerging and mature markets.
Our class, regardless of our prior art knowledge or skill, found itself immersed both in fine art and even more importantly, in the daily life of the average Austrian.
Now that I have gone I can truly say it was completely scary, wonderful, and life altering. While on the plane headed over to Europe I saw my reflection in the window. I saw a brave voyageur, a young woman ready to take on the world.
I had already spent nearly fifteen minutes trying my best to decipher the menu of the traditional Bavarian restaurant my family had taken me to. It was the last weekend of my study abroad experience, and we had spent the day touring the city of Munich, and visiting the Dachau concentration camp.