I remember being nervous about my first company visit with Neokami in Germany with IBS. I did not know what to expect because I had never met the CEO of a company before. It can be intimidating, but if you do research and prepare for each visit, you will feel more comfortable going into the companies. Additionally, if you prepare effectively, you will learn more and get more out of the visits than if you go into it knowing nothing about the companies.
Research Before You Leave
The first step in preparing for the company visits is to research the company. You always want to go into the company visits with a good understanding of what the company does and how they run their business. Doing research before the visits will help you think of better questions to ask them. It is always good to write down your questions before and during the visit as they arise. You definitely want to practice active listening skills and take notes during the visit because each company you visit must be included in the final paper.
A good strategy is to utilize technology and record the company visits if you are permitted to do so. Clear your phone of any unnecessary storage before you leave the U.S. so you will have room for voice recordings, and I promise this will help you when it comes time to write the final paper because if you miss anything while taking notes, you will have it all recorded on your phone. This was very helpful for me, but taking good notes during the visits is also necessary to benefit from the experience.
What to Expect
A company visit can last from a minimum of one hour to a maximum of four hours. It is important to act in a professional and polite manner during the visit. This means paying attention to the speaker while they are presenting and not constantly looking at your phone or talking to your peers. Some companies might require you to keep your phone turned off and put away at all times (voice recordings will not be permitted for those companies). Just remember that the presenters are taking time out of their day to talk to you and they expect you to act appropriately.
For me, company visits were one of the most memorable parts of the trip. I remember almost everything I learned from each company and bring this information up in conversations often. It is truly fulfilling to be able to talk about and share your knowledge with others about your professional experiences at companies in other countries, so I hope you get the most out of your visits like I did. Remember to do your research on the companies, be respectful to the presenters, and have fun!
I have included two pictures from our IBS company visit to Lloyd’s of London to give prospective IBS participants an idea of what a typical company visit setting will look like.