Time flies in Foreign Airports: Delta Flight, Somewhere in the Sky
By Haylee Winstead, ECU Management Senior from Rocky Mount, NC
4:00am was pretty early for the rest of the crew, PeeDee, and me. We were all up early to be at the Zurich airport to prepare for the 10:15am departure and a ten-hour flight home. We were all wondering why we needed to leave so early for a later morning flight. Well, after getting through check-in and customs and finally boarding the plane, I now know why. At check-in, attendants asked me a few, seemingly random, questions. The questions ranged from “Is this your luggage?” to “What mode of transportation did you use while here?” After check-in, my passport was checked three more times before I boarded. One of the times was during a “random search” initiated as my name was called over the intercom. I was told to go behind curtains and remove items from my bags such as my laptop, cameras and phones.
PeeDee’s Last Climb
By Chris Englert, ECU Finance Senior from Cary, NC
On the last day before our departure from Europe, PeeDee and I wanted to make it a good one to remember. We both got a good night’s sleep as we were able to wake up around 9:00am for the first time in a couple weeks. After a nice egg and bacon breakfast, we were ready and fueled up for a hike through the Black Forest.
Learning from Switzerland, Eating from Vietnam: Freiburg, Germany
By Maria Miller, ECU International Business & Hispanic Studies Senior from Clinton, MD
Like most nights, I fall asleep thinking of the exciting day to come. This morning, I got out of bed in Zurich, Switzerland, put on my business casual outfit, and went downstairs to find my 20 professional-looking classmates eating breakfast. Our luggage filled the hotel lobby, and after breakfast we boarded our coach bus, and were on our way to The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) in Basel. There, we were introduced to Richard Hess, director of project digitalization, and Hans-Reudi Mosberger, one of the head asset managers and a member of senior management. Another day of networking with very established professionals was here! This was now our third bank visit, Financial Market Authority of Lichtenstein being our first, and Credit Suisse being our second, and yet again, I am filled with brand new information. Mr. Hess and Mr. Mosberger informed us that SBA is an umbrella organization for Swiss banks that maintains and promotes the best possible framework conditions for the Swiss financial center. It holds 296 member institutions, 239 of which are banks. Not only did we learn about the company, its operations towards digitization, and its organizational structure, but also Switzerland’s part in the global spectrum. Switzerland is number one in the world in international wealth management and is just behind Italy in holding the oldest banking sector, dating back to the 18th century. Our finance and accounting majors were right at home, bouncing back and forth with our presenters asking questions and opening discussions!
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.
A Sweet Time: Zurich, Switzerland / Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate Factory
By Caroline Midyette, ECU Finance Junior from Washington, NC
PeeDee and I were lucky enough visit the Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate Factory and get the full Chocolate Experience. The second we walked into the Lindt store, the air smelled delightful. There were thousands of Lindt chocolate truffles, chocolate bars and chocolate covered fruits. PeeDee did not hesitate to dive right into it. Samples were set out around the store for us to taste. Although Lindt is an international company and has many flavors available in the United States, there were many flavors at this store that were unfamiliar to me. These flavors included Mango & Cream, Coffee and Mint, just to name a few. Back home, it is common to see peanuts in chocolate; here, however, the most common nut found in chocolate is the hazelnut. Due to the severity of peanut allergies, Lindt has discontinued any product containing peanuts. Before this trip, I had never experienced chocolate with hazelnuts, and I must say it is delicious. I had heard great things about Swiss chocolate, so I had high expectations, and the chocolate was not a disappointment.
My Once in a Lifetime Trip to Lucerne, Switzerland
By Kallyn Cunningham, ECU Business Management Senior from Wendell, NC
Wow, what a day! I cannot even begin to explain how lucky I feel to have been a part of the Swiss culture today. Most of the trip so far has been filled with many amazing tours and numerous meetings, but today was the last day on our itinerary where we were left completely schedule-free. This may sound great, but it is in fact very nerve-wracking!
The question is: what do you do in a foreign land where, as the saying goes, “the sky is the limit?” Well, the sky is exactly where I headed! Spending a week in Europe has taught me that people here are very trusting of one another, so a group of us decided to take a chance and entrust a couple of strangers with our safety. I was able to get in contact with a man from a local listing in the pursuit of an adventure. At 9:00am sharp, three cars pulled up at the local train station, gathered the ten of us, and away we went.
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.