The Passionate Pirate
By Cameron Rees, ECU Business Management Senior from Greenville, North Carolina
This morning, we all gathered in the hotel conference room for a very exciting presentation from ECU alumnus Olaf Hannemann. Olaf, who graduated with an MBA from ECU in 1998, is originally from Germany, but currently resides here in Switzerland. Olaf talked to us about many things including his career and current business ventures, but what stood out to me was how he challenged us to find out what drives each one of us as an individual. He told us that while we are young, it is okay to switch around jobs until we find out what we are passionate about. As young people, many of us may feel lost or confused about what we want to do with our careers, and that is okay. We need to experiment and find something we really care about, for that will lead to a more successful, purpose-driven life.
Visiting Perfect Places: Siemens Building Management Systems HQ, Zug, Switzerland
By Timothy Hartman, ECU Supply Chain Management Senior from Byram Township, NJ
On this visit, we gained quality insight as to what Siemens is today, how it came to be, and more specifically how the company develops building technology that aligns with its vision of “creating perfect places.” The visit started with what we all thought would be a simple elevator ride up to a room to receive a presentation on the company. We soon found out, however, the elevator ride was, in fact, a theatrical performance in which it appeared to malfunction to show us an example of a well-designed building system working on its own to solve a problem. We then came out on the opposite side, still on the ground level where we were shown a video on the history of Siemens, followed by a series of presentations on the company’s meaningful current communication and marketing strategy, as well as one showing how they can produce efficient building technologies and digital services using big data. The visit concluded with the hands-on application of our business learning to a Siemens mini-case analysis.
Gliding over and on Lake Luzern
By Marianna Shurina, ECU Accounting Junior from Celebration, FL
Today, PeeDee and I went on two adventures of a lifetime! After much contemplation and worrying, we both decided that the experience of going paragliding would be worth the fear! We started the morning meeting the paragliding coordinator at the train station where PeeDee and I waited for him and enjoyed the sights of Luzern. We then had a half an hour car drive to take a lift to the top of the mountain to paraglide. As I am not good with heights, PeeDee had to help calm me down. Thankfully, we remembered the technique our speech communication class taught us about preparing to give a presentation. I had to exhale longer than I inhaled to relax my heart rate which, according to my Fitbit, proved to work wonderfully. After an amazing flight that I would do again in a heartbeat, PeeDee and I reconnected at the bottom. PeeDee told me he flew over Lake Luzern, and I told him I got to steer!
By Zach Alcorn, ECU Business Management Junior from Cary, NC
Today we went to the Schaukaeserei Kloster in Engelberg, Switzerland. We had a view of the city of Engelberg on the way to the cheese factory and it was beautiful. Once we got to the cheese factory, the owner showed us all the steps to make their cheeses. He also shared his story about how he learned the business and what he had done. I was impressed because he was a great example of someone with determination, experience, and entrepreneurial spirit, which lead him to his accomplishments. This visit contributed to my overall education because it allowed me to meet an entrepreneur and learn from his experiences. Now, I can incorporate his teachings into my future endeavors as a businessman.
By Sigourney Clark, ECU Business Administration (MBA) from Raleigh, NC
Day eight of the Alpine Study Abroad program started off at 9:00 a.m. with a 45-minute ride to Engelberg, Switzerland. While on the bus, I could not help but be mesmerized by the blue water, lush green grass covering the foothills, and the Alpine mountains peeking through the clouds. The view was definitely one of a kind and something I would have only ever seen in a picture or movie.
When we arrived in Engelberg, our first stop was the Schaukäserei Kloster Cheese Factory where we were able to see how cheese is made, and even try a few kinds of cheese for which the facility is famous. We enjoyed the selection of cheeses they provided and the company of others in the group, then we were given a few hours of free time to roam the city.
My Impressions of Liechtenstein & the FMA
By Nicholas Kiczales, ECU Accounting Major
Today we woke up early to travel to the sixth smallest country in the world, Liechtenstein. At first, I was not sure what to expect from this small country. When we arrived, I was taken aback at how small a country really could be. It also sparked some interest in me about what countries are smaller than this. When we first arrived at the Financial Market Authority (FMA) of Liechtenstein, we were greeted by one of our presenters. We then went upstairs to a room where we were given a presentation about the country and the FMA’s role. One thing I found truly remarkable about the presentation was that Liechtenstein’s population is only about 38,000 people, especially in light of the fact that ECU is aiming to break 30,000 in enrollment next year. Another thing I found interesting was how passionate our presenter, Johannes, was about his work. He truly had a passion for what he was doing and it was obvious that he knew a substantial amount about his field of financial law.
PeeDee’s ICE(ARRGH) Experience- ICER: Innsbruck Center for European Research
By Taylor Chappell, ECU Accounting Junior from Belvidere, NC
Today we went to the University of Innsbruck where we met with a professor and student involved with the Innsbruck Center for European Research (ICER). The organization focuses on research regarding the integration of the European Union. I was interested to find out that the EU operates similarly to our US government, in that its decisions are based on a two-thirds majority. It was eye-opening to see that countries around the globe are experiencing some of the same issues that we are. Opportunities like these allow us to realize the need for growth in the decision-making of American policy and also see where we are operating in the most efficient way.
By Katherine Schroeder, ECU Accounting & Finance Junior from Bordentown, NJ
After two eye-opening experiences, seeing Castle Neuschwanstein in Germany and the Bergisel Ski Jump in Austria, I was ready for my next adventure with the COB Study Abroad Program. On our second day in Austria, our sixth day of the Study Abroad Program, I was looking forward to seeing what Swarovski Crystal World had to offer. As our group began piling on the bus, there was some excitement over seeing Swarovski Crystal World and some excitement that we finally had a short ride on the bus. When the bus pulled up to the Swarovski Crystal World, I had expected a big crystal building with a flair for the dramatic; instead, I found a couple buildings, a garden, and a cave. Although this was not what I had expected, the garden gave me a great impression on what I was going to find in the cave.
Impressions of Innsbruck, Austria
By Carrington Wooten, ECU Business Finance Junior from Kinston, NC
As we arrived in Innsbruck, I automatically knew I would enjoy the town. Innsbruck is a college town nestled in the Swiss Alps, smaller in size than Munich. Much like in Greenville, you can find college students studying, grabbing a bite to eat, or hanging around the main town center. The people are friendly, active, and welcoming. I felt extremely comfortable in the town; unlike in Munich, I was able to navigate my way around. The main town center was just a mile from our hotel.
The first night in Innsbruck, after presentations, a group of us went to dinner with our tour guide to a local Italian restaurant on the university campus. It was really neat to see all of the students out on the quad enjoying the evening, tossing frisbees, catching up with one another, and eating dinner. I think this is something that we, as Americans, fail to do. We are often in a hurry to grab a bite to eat that we forget to enjoy each other’s company. Dinner was topped off with delicious ice cream then a little more walking around the town center. There were still plenty of people out enjoying the summer’s night. After a little while, we headed back to the hotel, and our first day in Innsbruck came to a close.
Bergisel Ski Jump- A Leap of Faith
By Caleb Beard, ECU Business Management Senior from Hickory, NC
Today our group traveled to the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck, Austria. This ski jump has hosted three Winter Olympics in 1964, 1976, and 2002. As we learned about the strategies, improvisation, and fatigue this sport requires, I was reminded of what the college of business teaches their students. When ski jumpers practice, they can only handle about five runs consecutively. This safety limitation is implemented due to the stress and fatigue these skiers’ minds and bodies go through during the practice season. The precision and intensity each practice run demands is very intense. In business, intense and precise work, along with hours of practice, are required for success.