The International Business Seminars Summer MBA Program helped expand my business horizons and open myself up for new personal and professional experiences.
When I started the MBA program at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), I did not know anyone else in the program. As an introvert, I mostly kept to myself and only talked with people who sat next to me. Over the last couple of semesters, I have met more people but still mostly talk with those who have been in multiple classes with me. I did not necessarily extend myself to meet new people.
Meeting New People
I met one of my UCCS classmates at the pre-departure orientation. We discussed looking forward to our trip. I mentioned arriving early and wanting to go on a day trip to Neuschwanstein. He recommended also visiting Linderhof, also built by King Ludwig. I followed his recommendation and had a wonderful day sightseeing Bavarian castles.
Once the Summer MBA Program started, I met people from Chicago, Los Angeles, and Wilmington. My roommate was from Lima, Peru and we had interesting conversations regarding the differences between Peru and the United States.
There were six UCCS students on the Summer MBA trip, none of whom I knew well. I had been in a class or two with several of them. While in Munich and Prague, several of us would meet for dinner and we discovered how much we all had in common. We joked about having to travel overseas to discover we live in the same neighborhood. We have made plans to socialize outside of class and I am looking forward to getting to know my classmates better.
New Business Experiences
When I first heard about the Summer MBA Program, I was a little worried that the experience might not be pertinent to my work. I work in healthcare and most of my MBA classes have been more relevant to those working in business-related fields such as accounting, finance, etc. However, I soon discovered that the company visits were more relevant to my work than expected.
At GE Additive, I learned that additive manufacturing is used to generate products such as hip joint and titanium plates that are used in surgeries. At Med-el, I watched as cochlear implants were being made and learned some of the challenges facing a healthcare company trying to do right by their customers while still making a profit. I learned that each of the companies we visited offered unique opportunities for learning and I could find something applicable to my work at each company.
Trip to Kutna Hora
Our last day in Prague was a completely free day. Several years ago, I had heard about Kutna Hora and its unique Bone Church about an hour away from Prague. One of my UCCS classmates was also interested in going, so we decided to go on our free day. We managed to figure out which train to take and were waiting on the platform when we were approached by another tourist traveling to Kutna Hora.
The tourist was Polish and said he recognized we were American by our accents. Once we arrived in Kutna Hora, he was kind enough to show us how to get to the Bone Church. We ended up going to the same places and talking with him all day. We enjoyed learning about Poland and he enjoyed practicing his English.
If I had been traveling in Europe on my own, I am not sure I would have been as open to the experience of spending the day talking with a stranger. But because I had spent the previous week meeting and talking to new people, I was more receptive to talking with our new Polish friend.
While I am still hesitant meeting new people, I am more willing to make more of an effort than before this seminar. You never know when you might make a new friend.