This is a guest post by Israel Contreras, a member of the Executive MBA at Mexico City class of 2012. Last month, Israel took part in a global trip to Austria as part of the Texas MBA Program. He recounts the experience in the post below.
It had only been a few hours since we had our last exam that I took the plane to Vienna, simply for an 8-hour stop before touring to Prague, Berlin and Budapest (so I practically was not in Vienna until I got back one week later for the Seminar).
By the time I arrived to Vienna (again), I was already amazed by the charm of Eastern Europe, but this city totally exceeded my expectations. Not only because the beautiful palaces and gardens everywhere, but also because the cultural ambience and cosmopolitan lifestyle. If that was not enough, the academic and professional experience we had, made it an invaluable and unique experience for me and my classmates.
Welcome dinner at Salm Bräu
It all started with a welcome dinner at Salm Bräu, a traditional and historic brewery, distillery and restaurant (all in one!) where we had the opportunity to share local dishes (and beer of course). Then, during the following four days, we spent the morning at IMADEC University (our academic host in Vienna), enjoying very interesting lectures from prominent businessmen and politicians in the region, as well as from the Mexican ambassador in Austria (being that Mexicans make up 88% of the class, we were curious about what an ambassador does – living from our taxes!).
One of the most fascinating speakers was Karl Von Habsburg, an Austrian politician and the current Head of the House of Habsburg, and the Grand Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He is also the grandson of the last Austrian emperor, Charles I (If Austria was still an Empire, he would be the Emperor!). He shared with us his opinion about the current economic turmoil in the Euro zone and the consequences after the presidential election in France (which had occurred just few days before).
During the last day of the seminar, we went to the Austrian Parliament for a guided tour, where we also had the chance to talk with Andreas Schieder, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance. It was a great opportunity to hear directly from an authority with an active role in the current situation, his thoughts about how to address the economic crisis in Europe and the future for the European Union.
After the sessions at IMADEC, we spent the rest of the day visiting the city’s downtown and its multiple landmarks. Whether it was an impressive palace (Schönbrunn or Belvedere) or a music/opera venue (the Staatsoper or Musikverein), Vienna had something spectacular to offer every single day.
Finally, we celebrated the end of the Seminar with a dinner at Wiener Rathauskeller, another stylish and traditional restaurant in Vienna, where we toasted to our future and for the great experience the program was. After the dinner, everybody took diverse routes to continue their own trip in Europe (in my case, I went to Holy Land). After all, we still had one week for the MBA Convocation!
I have to recognize that this trip definitely exceeded our expectations. And I want to take the opportunity to thank all the program staff and my classmates for making this journey an amazing life experience.