Tag: global connections (page 1 of 2)

Farewell, Spring Break: An Ode to Global Connections – Colombia

Imagine, if you will:

A balmy, salt-spiced breeze saunters down the street as you step into an alley lined with exotic fruit vendors displaying colors and flavors yet to be discovered by your senses. Lively salsa music emanates from around the corner, where an enchanting band has set up shop next to street merchants selling alluring handmade arts and crafts in shades of chartreuse, turquoise and emerald. All around, people are smiling, laughing, dancing.

Dream sequence? Possibly. But for the McCombs students who went on a Global Connections trip during the two weeks of spring break, the dream became a reality as soon as finals were done, bags were packed, and flights were boarded.

I had the pleasure of going to Colombia for 15 days with a group of 30 or so classmates. During that time, we visited several cities, including Bogotá, Medellín, Zona Cafetera and Cartagena (for a small, extended sojourn once the program came to an end.) In each city, we had the chance to immerse ourselves in the corporate and cultural sides of Colombia, all while sipping on some mighty good coffee.

Return of the "prom pose"

Return of the “prom pose”

First, let’s talk business. We met with over half a dozen companies, encompassing all sizes and industries. We walked the very fields where owner Jesús Martin harvests the same beans he selected, roasted and brewed into every cup of coffee he served us at his café later that day. We suited up in safety apparel to go inside Colombia’s main 3M manufacturing plants to witness firsthand how iconic products like Scotch-Brite and masking tape are made. We strolled the immense greenhouses of La Gaitana, one of the country’s largest exporters of flowers, and learned how they sustain their large-scale operations with such a nimble workforce. We dined casually at the headquarters of Corona, one of the largest producers of porcelain and ceramic products, with the company’s CEO – before he exchanged his three-piece suit for casual attire and chose to spend the entire day with us as we visited factories and storefronts to review the company’s inventory and supply chain procedures. Every company we met with, we were greeted with open arms, delicious treats, and a wealth of executive-level insight.

Endless appreciation for the substance that fuels my every morning

Jesús Martin: Endless appreciation for the substance that fuels my every morning

A company that's the epitome of strong leadership and values

Corona: A company that’s the epitome of strong leadership and values

When we weren’t off pursuing global business savvy, we were out and about exploring everything Colombia has to offer: local cuisine, live music, and tropical ecosystems in dazzling technicolor. Speaking as someone who thinks the word marathon should involve Netflix and not the great outdoors, I’m proud to say we did it all: descending into the underground salt cathedral of Zipaquirá, conquering the 700+ stairs leading to the top of the rock of Guatapé, ziplining across acres of lush vegetation in Armenia, and flying up winding mountainsides in open-air Jeep Willys on our way to Salento. But alas, every daredevil requires the occasional night off, so we also made sure to indulge in good food, drinks, and dancing when we could. There were spectacular meat/cheese platters, fresh juices from fruits you can only readily find and consume in Colombia, and desserts akin to ambrosia (one dish literally comprised of rich hot cocoa with chunks of creamy cheese melted into it – holy cholesterol.) The ever-present music that permeates the country by day seems to be heightened at night, causing body parts to inadvertently tap, shimmy and wiggle to the beat. Salsa clubs packed with dancers of all skillsets gave us an opportunity to burn some of those decadent aforementioned calories to the rhythm of bongos and trumpets.

Guatapé: Started at the bottom

Guatapé: Started at the bottom

Indescribable feelings

Salento: Unbelievable sights, indescribable feelings

Ziplining over babbling brooks? Don't mind if I do

Ziplining over babbling brooks? Don’t mind if I do

Beautiful, mystical, sprawling far as the eye can see

Beautiful and mystical, sprawling as far as the eye can see

One of the best parts of this experience? Forever creating those memories alongside my fellow MBAs. We had folks from the full-time and part-time programs alike, alongside some who were in entirely different disciplines outside of McCombs, and it was one of the highlights of my trip getting to know these people I might not have had the chance to meet otherwise. Together, we picked up some Spanish phrases (no dar papaya, y’all), learned the importance of cultural differences (I lescant even, y’all), ventured into new gastronomy (aguardiente, y’all!) and even hunkered down for a brief earthquake (…is my altitude sickness kicking in or did the earth just move, y’all?)

Hanging out on a mountain, nbd

Hanging out on a mountain

TL;DR:
1) Colombia, in all its lively, loving warmth, has truly captured my heart
2) Global Connections is a wonderful way to spend spring break doing exceptional things for both your career and your psyche
3) I need a vacation to recover from my vacation

My favorite color: Caribbean blue

My favorite color: Caribbean blue

Sunset over Cafe del Mar

¡Viva Colombia!

Hook ‘em!

Faculty Spotlight: Stephen Limberg, Accounting

McCombs Faculty Member Stephen Limberg During A Global Trip

One of the strongest attributes of the Texas MBA program is the highly acclaimed McCombs School of Business faculty, whose members are ranked among the best professors in the nation year after year. In this new Faculty Spotlight series, we’ll be introducing you to these classroom leaders, as we too get to know them all a little better. Up first is the Department of Accounting’s Stephen Limberg.

How long have you been at McCombs?
SL: Thirty one years ago I arrived in modestly populated Austin, Texas, on a steamy August day after driving from the west coast 24 hours without a layover. I pulled into town in a Honda Accord hatchback that was not air conditioned and was packed to the headliner with all my belongings. Hot and irritable, I located my apartment Continue reading

Globetrotting, Ghana & Going Back to Work

We are officially 2nd years! When did that happen?

Texas MBA students during scavenger hunt

Ready to Compete!

The end of the semester was a whirlwind with finals, papers and an awesome scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was definitely a highlight of the spring semester as we got to explore Austin in ways that I would have never imagined. Although my team didn’t win, we got lots of compliments in regards to our costumes (Disney princess theme) and had a blast hanging out with each other before we scattered for the summer.

Globetrotting

I boarded a plane the day after the scavenger hunt to begin a month-long trip planned around the Global Connections class to Ghana.  I traveled for 28 days (including the 9 in Ghana) and visited Istanbul and Greece before class and Paris afterwards. My travel plans crossed paths with many other globetrotting classmates which made for even more fun. Highlights include beautiful mosques, stunning sunsets, Shauna’s birthday in Mykonos, chocolate croissants, Disneyland Paris and macarons – don’t call them cookies!

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Ghana

The trip to Ghana was a highlight of my first year. We had a similar itinerary to Cindy’s trip – as we went to Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast. Learning about history, business and culture while fully immersed in the country was amazing.

Trashy Bags Company Visit

We got to experience first-hand the delicious flavors, warm people and cultural pride. On the cultural side we visited Cape Coast’s slave fortress, rainforests and museums. On the business side we visited the full range – from local palm oil production facilities and casket makers to the West African AIDS Foundation, Unilever factories and the Bank of Ghana. One of the highlights of the class was a visit to Trashy Bags. We had been working on various projects throughout the semester for the non-profit and it was great to meet the people and see the production of the bags. Many of us couldn’t help but purchase several new bags! I had a phenomenal time bonding with my classmates and fabulous EMBA (Texas Executive MBA) students.

Going Back to Work

Starting my summer internship after a year as a student and two days after getting back to the States was quite rough! I’m interning in the People Resources Department, formerly known as Human Resources, at Adobe in San Jose in my home state of California. I’ll be working on an analytics and reporting project and already have jumped right into it! I’ve been getting to know the team and learning about the organization. There are several other MBA interns in my department and I’m excited to hang out with them and old friends in the area the rest of summer!

Vote In The 2012 Global Connections Photo Contest!

Each year, the Texas MBA program hosts the McCombs Global Connections Photo Contest, a showcase of the exciting travels, experiences, and adventures of MBA students who participated in a two week study tour as part of their Global Connections course during the spring.

With this year’s five spring Global Connections trips now in the past, the contest is underway–and we really need your help in choosing the winners. So, do you think you can help us decide the best photo in this year’s contest?

Vote for your favorite photos in the 2012 MGC Photo Contest!

Don’t wait around, the voting period only runs through Wednesday, April 25th. The photos with the most votes will win cash prizes. Contest details and instructions can be found on the MGC Photo Contest website.

2011 Winner

"Divine Dichotomy" by Chris McClure, 2010 MGC Photo Contest Best in Show

McCombs Global Connections: Southeast Asia

One thing that I really can never get enough of here at McCombs is the opportunity to travel. You may recall that as an incoming first year student, I attended the MAP trip to Costa Rica. This March, I also went on one of the Global Connections trips to Southeast Asia. This year, McCombs offered the option to go to Southeast Asia, South Africa, India, China, Brazil, or the Middle East. Since I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand, Southeast Asia was an easy choice for me. When else in my life am I going to have the opportunity to spend two weeks on the other side of the world??

Our first three days were spent in Ho Chi Mihn, Vietnam. We went to the war remnants museum, the Mekong delta, and enjoyed ourselves around the city. We also had the experience of visiting the Ford factory of Vietnam where we were given a tour of the factory and a presentation from the company. For each company visit we made, a group of 5 students would give a presentation to the company based on a project that the company assigned to us before we made our trip overseas. The visit to Ford was both successful and informative.

Ho Chi Mihn, Vietnam!

Ho Chi Mihn, Vietnam!

Stephen with a snake at the Mekong delta!

Stephen with a snake at the Mekong delta!

Next stop, Hanoi, Vietnam! North Vietnam was completely different than South Vietnam, so it was a great experience to get to visit both areas. My favorite day on our trip to Hanoi was our golf outting. It was a great day on a beautiful course. I personally am not a golfer (to say the very, very least) but I went out there and gave it a shot anyway and had a blast with my team!

Girls at the golf course!

Girls at the golf course!

My teammates with our caddies!

My teammates with our caddies!

Last, but certainly not least, Bangkok, Thailand! This was the location I was looking the most forward to. Bangkok is the most sprawling city I have ever been to. Looking out over the city from the rooftop of a hotel was one of the coolest sights I have ever seen, as the city never seems to end. The palace was also incredible and was an experience I will never forget. While in Thailand, we visited a handfull of companies including 3M, CP Foods, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Thailand Stock Exchange. All of these presentations were very informative and it was a great opportunity to be exposed to international business.

The giant Buddha at the palace

The giant Buddha at the palace

The amazing view of Bangkok

The amazing view of Bangkok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, the trip was an experience of a lifetime. It was such an amazing opportunity to take a trip I probably would have never taken on my own. I highly suggest both the MAP and Global trip experiences to all incoming students! You will not regret it.

A big thank you to our amazing Professor Courter for leading our trip, it would not have been the same without him!

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