Thirty-four LeBow College MBA students recently returned from an international residency to Budapest, Hungary, and Vienna, Austria.
In Budapest, students found themselves in a country with a rich, dynamic history and quickly learned how it affects modern day business. For example, Budapest is still recovering from the effects of communism, which ended there only two decades ago. Companies in Budapest find that they must cope with citizens who are still adapting to a changing culture and finding their new identity. Company visits in Budapest included the Budapest Stock Exchange, NCR and Morgan Stanley.
The students were also briefed by United States Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis. Ambassador Kounalakis spoke about business opportunities in Hungary and provided insight into the day-to-day life of a U.S. ambassador. Dean George Tsetsekos, Ph.D., joined the students in Hungary briefly to welcome them to Budapest and to meet with Kounalakis.
In Vienna, “the gateway to Eastern Europe,” students had the opportunity visit IBM, Pfizer, Unisys Raiffeisen International Bank and Merck. One of the highlights of the trip was the visit to Unisys, where students were greeted by Tom Simonson ’84, general manager of the company’s worldwide sales and services, technology, consulting and integrated solutions group. In his position, Simonson travels often to oversee operations at Unisys facilities abroad. He actually helped coordinate the Unisys visit. He spoke to students about his role and shared some of the important lessons learned from his vast international business experiences.
The trip included cultural visits in both Budapest and Vienna including city tours, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, and Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest.
Ayanna Haskins ’11 says she looked forward to the international residency since the start of her MBA program. “The trip did not disappoint. The opportunity to travel abroad and learn more about the local culture, business climate and local economies of Budapest and Vienna with fellow classmates at the end of my MBA program was priceless,” she says
Anthony Dameika ’11, enjoyed engaging with multinational companies and discussing the political and cultural issues that affect business operations abroad. “I would highly recommend every MBA student participate in the international residency,” he says. “You will not regret it.”