Illinois MBA
2005 Study Tour


January 10, 2005

Bencic: The Czech Kruna is cheap compared to the dollar which helps in restaurants, where food is delicious and plentiful. It is not exaggerating to say that the MBAs ate like kings on a student budget.

The visit to the museum of communism should not go unmentioned. The museum was as much an educational experience as it was an opportunity for the Croatian to remind himself of his youth, when he was living in a communist country by the name of Yugoslavia.

Cruser: Just down the avenue and around the block is the University of Warsaw and the Illinois Executive MBA office on the third floor of another predominantly tall, square, gray building. The class arrives early and we all take our seats in the class of Professor Krzysztof Obloj. It's hard to say what it is about professor Obloj that makes him such an engaging individual. Personally, I find his no-nonsense approach to addressing the global business economic climate refreshing. His basic approach mixed with a dry, quick wit make the class bounce with energy and as we tackle the ideas of globalization through a Harvard case on French wines and the challenges they face in the wake of emerging US and Australian wine industries, the concept of globalization - nay, the intense need for globalization in terms of survival - reveals itself.

A building adornment.[After dinner] We wander through the city on the bus - a city that is plagued by history and rebuilt on strength and pride. Completely destroyed - flattened, demolished - following World War II, the only original structures still standing are those formerly occupied by the Nazi party and a single church. The remainder of the city was re-built under the Soviet Communist party and thus, much of Warsaw, despite its thriving and growing economy is haunted by the daunting "we are all the same" architecture, paramount to Communist design - large, looming, gray, square buildings.

Han: The classroom is small, but enough for the 36 people. And the best part is, there is a "dessert bar" at the back of the room full of coffee, all kinds of tea (blueberry, strawberry, caramel, vanilla, Earl Grey…, you name it), chocolates, nuts and fruit. And between classes, it's the perfect location for us to gather information about the city or just chit-chat.

The first case assigned, about the wine industry, is quite interesting. I enjoy the Australian wine, and generally agree that bringing revolution to the tradition is a great way to drive us forward.


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