Massey Study Abroad Trips – A Week in the Life

Oct 7, 2013 | Dean's Messages

Article by Dr. Joe Alexander, Associate Dean of the Massey School

One of the most common questions I get from both alumni and prospective students alike is, “What’s a Massey international study abroad week really look like?”  I think that since we tend to post pictures primarily of our cultural activities like shark-diving and visits to wonderfully diverse restaurants, a lot of folks get an incomplete picture of what these trips are really like.  So, since 16 of us are leaving for Munich later this month on the next MGT 6350 course trip, I thought I’d use my update this month to give you an overview of what’s in store for us that week.  Our other trips follow a very similar schedule.

We are scheduled to leave Nashville International Airport on Saturday, October 26, late morning and will connect through Philadelphia, before taking the next direct flight to Germany.  Between layovers and flights, we won’t need a hotel as we’ll be en route through early Sunday morning.

Our first day abroad (Sunday) will be spent in the usual way–touring our destination city, enjoying a nice welcome dinner at a local restaurant, and more than anything else, just trying to stay awake so we can begin to reset our internal clocks.  Our guided tour is set to cover the most important sights of the capital city of Bavaria, including Marien Square, New Town Hall, and the Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady, among other sights.  Our dinner reservations are at the Zirbelstube Restaurant that evening.

Monday morning is when we begin the business portion of our studies.  We will begin with an economic overview and German-U.S. business relations presentation by a senior manager from Deloitte, which will then lead into another presentation on the accounting and reporting challenges for a U.S. investor–also at Deloitte.  After a group lunch nearby, we will then travel to Bayerischer Bankenverband (Bavarian Banking Association) where we will hear a presentation on local banking and financial markets, including the future of the Eurozone.  Dinner and the evening is open for free time on our own.

knorr bremseTuesday morning is tentatively scheduled for a visit to a local Fujitsu company site where we will participate in a discussion with one of their representatives on Germany’s attractiveness to foreign investors.  After another group lunch, our afternoon visit is set for a visit to Knorr Bremse where we will be learning about innovation for sustainable growth and will have a tour of their company facilities.  Dinner and evening is once again free time.  However, some of us have already reserved tickets at the National Opera House for a performance of Rusalka–an opera written by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak.

Wednesday is a real highlight, and hopefully everyone will be through the worst of their jet lag by this point. bmw munich We are now green-lighted for a visit to BMW’s high-tech international headquarters there in Munich.  We will receive a presentation on the future outlook for German manufacturing by their VP of Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications and then tour the facilities there on-site.  We are also scheduling an additional business visit earlier in the day and should have enough time left late in the afternoon for an optional visit to the Olympic village that was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics (where terrorists attacked the Israeli athletes).

Thursday includes a morning presentation on advancing social awareness (social entrepreneurship) at an organization called Ashoka Germany.  Our afternoon will be spent discussing marketing strategies at a company called Ketchum Pleon where we will meet with their “chief creative officer.”  That evening is once again open for free time on our own to explore the local sights.

DachauFriday is “All Saints Day” in Germany, a national holiday, so there won’t be much to see and do in the way of business visits.  So, we will use this day for our primary cultural activity and visit Dachau, the German concentration camp from World War II and site of one of the most horrific campaigns of Nazi Germany.  That tour is scheduled for the morning, and we have scheduled nothing for that afternoon–more free time.  Friday evening is our traditional “Farewell Dinner”, and we have reservations at the Ratskeller (a famous local restaurant located beneath the old towne hall).  That will pretty much close out the bulk of our trip.  However, since our flight back is not until early Sunday morning, we have another full day to explore on our own.

neuschwanstein_bildSaturday – Most of us have chosen to use this final day in Germany for a private tour of two of Germany’s most famous castles:  Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.  Both of these are located near the Germany town of Fussen (south of Munich), and if you’ve ever been to Florida and seen the famous Disney castle, you have seen what was inspired by Bavarian King Ludwig’s 18th century Neuschwanstein Castle.  We will then return to our hotels late in the day to pack our belongings and get some sleep.

Sunday is our flight back, essentially following the same path in reverse.  We should be back in Nashville by 9:30 that evening. We should also be tired at that point, but also a good bit smarter!

And that’s a study abroad week, Massey style!  The only parts I’ve left out have been the academic assignments that are included for students enrolled in the course.  Each student’s work began with a research paper on our destination country, one month prior to departure.  While in Munich, each student is required to keep a trip journal in order to reflect on what is being learned and to prepare for our meetings with German executives.  And finally, upon return, each student works with a group of their peers to create a market entry study for a product solution that they believe would be successful in Germany.  That last part isn’t due until a few weeks after we return to the U.S.

Ready to go on one of these?  jfa 10/06/13