Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our Last Day in Mumbai

December 16, 2014

Our last day in Mumbai, this city continues to amaze me with its contrast and it's crazy that we are already on our last day here before continuing the journey to Goa.

Our first presentation of the morning was canceled, meaning we got to sleep in a little longer which no body had an objection to! 

After breakfast we made our way through the busy Tuesday morning traffic to Ogilvy and Mather pvt. Ltd. to learn about current consumer trends and marketing strategies used in the vast Indian market. With 24 languages and 1652 dialects there are many barriers when creating advertisements that bring meaning to all. With Indian advertising there are three main components that are used: story telling, music, and emotion. They then showed us multiple ads that portrayed these components. A four minute Goolge ad brought a few of us to tears, even without knowing the full background of the Partition. Our Q & A session had to be cut short due to time, but everyone wanted to spend more time learning about the marketing trends of India. Before we left we we were able to get a photo with our presenters.

After that we headed to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Our presenter was Rakesh Nair and he was full of knowledge about the history of the economy of India and the expected growth to come. The BSE is the oldest exchange in Asia opening in 1875. Today it is the eighth largest market with $1.5 trillion USD.  The stock exchange market has changed a bit from the days of yelling and pushing people to get the stock you wanted (as seen in The Wolf of Wall Street), now the hall has been reduced in size and the transactions are all electronic. Being able to learn about the BSE while in the financial capital of India was a great experience, and they were so glad to have us there. We were fortunate enough to be allowed to take photos. Below is a group shot with Rakesh in front of the bull.

Once we returned to the hotel full of knowledge we let loose a little and had a pool party hosted by the hotel in the gorgeous  82 degree weather, followed by a buffet dinner.

We rounded the night off having a drink with Bollywood actor Neil Nitin Mukesh. Neil was very friendly and willing to answer our questions. We learned about his background and how he was able to make a name for himself as an actor.

After a long day we returned to the hotel for our last sleep in Mumbai falling asleep to the sounds of city that never sleeps. (Lizzi Hubble-Radosa)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The First Full Day

December 15, 2014

This morning began quite early with breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and departure from the hotel at 7. After about an hour and half drive we arrived at the Agrawal Group of Institutes to hear a presentation from Dr. Pawan Agrawal on the supply chain management of dabbawala in Mumbai. The dabbawala is a system in which primarily uneducated/illiterate men are paid approximately $10 each month per customer to collect lunch boxes from residences, where the woman of the house has prepared and packed a meal, and deliver it to the man's place of work. This system involves no computer systems, the delivery of over 200,000 lunches a day in Mumbai, and over 99.99 percent accuracy! Our presenter was very lively, all university members were welcoming, and there was an exchanged of gifts between the two universities.

Next, we stopped at a shopping center that was a combination of an indoor mall and strip mall. Here we had several options on choice of restaurants for lunch. We split off into three group in which many of the students were able to have a meal that reminded them of home. After lunch was our visit to a call center. The call center was for Western Union and assists customers from all over India whose main problem is lack of internet connection. From there we freshened up back at the hotel and headed for dinner. We tried more authentic Indian cuisine and end the night at the hotel tavern with a drink and friendly conversation. (Danielle Wood).

Our first full day in India, our location is Mumbai. The itinerary for the day was enticing. Packing full of sight seeing, exploration, and shopping. We finished the day off with a late night dinner at Shiro.

The day started off meeting our wonderful guide Roshani. Then the exploration began. Our view was somewhat skewed by the glass our face was pressed against trying to get the best view jumping from one side of the bus to the other making sure we weren't missing any of the architectural genius combined with the superb masonry of the historical buildings Roshani pointed out. Our breath was taken away, but we were anxious to free ourselves from the bus and rid the glass from our view so we could use all of our senses to experience this great city.

The first stop, Crawford Market. The market produces a fowl smell none of us were use to quite yet. The exterior was unpleasant to the eye and we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. Unsure of how to act, we quickly walked through the market without purchasing any goods. The next stop on the list was the Hanging Gardens. The sun was hot on our skin making the cool breeze off the Arabian sea satisfying. The smell was fresh and light, for the first time we enjoyed breaking in the India air. Walking on the red clay paths, our eyes were drawn to the sculpted bushes and the families enjoying lunchtime on a Sunday afternoon. The birds made beautiful songs quieting the hustle and bustle of the busy roads. The final stop of our tour was the Mahatma Gandhi museum. The museum is tucked away on a quiet side street. We were humbled to walk in the same building where Gandhi once lived among the walls. We took photographs to remember the great peacemaker.

We finished our day with dinner at Shiro. The bus ride to Shiro turned into a time of turning aquanauts into friends. The restaurant itself was a work of art. The sculptures rose above our second floor balcony that overlooked the entrance to Shiro. Three streams of water flowed out form the wall into a pool, setting the mood for our night. Drinks were served and the appetizers brought out. Everyone trie dthe food; some liking it while others were spitting it back up. The conversation continued, making the music in the background seem obsolete. The main course was served and loved by some but too spicy for others. The night wound down with some dancing and laughing. The night can be best summed up by a quote from a student: "I would come back to India just for this night." (Justin Muntz)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Traveling to India

DAY 1: From Detroit to Amsterdam to New Delhi to Mumbai

Today's the big day we've all been waiting for! We all anxiously arrived at the Detroit airport at 3 PM to get checked in for our 6:30 flight. The flight was relatively comfortable, many of us spent the seven and a half hours watching movies provided by the airline. Upon descending into the Amsterdam airport we experienced really bad turbulence which made a few of us pretty sick. During the four hour layover, we mostly tried to catch up on rest, eat food and prepare for the next eight hour flight into New Delhi! Here we are waiting to board the plane to Amsterdam. (Brielle Robinson)

We had a rough but safe landing in Amsterdam, Netherlands at 8:37 Friday, December 12, 2014. Where's Kyle became a typical game while traveling. The flight was pretty easy going until the weather in Amsterdam got windy which made it difficult to land the plane smoothly. Even thought it was a rough landing I have to give the pilots credit for having to land when there were wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour. After landing in Amsterdam our next flight wasn't for a couple more hours so we got to explore the airport. It was quite a large airport, they do things very differently than any airport that I have been to in the United States. Once through security we were in another waiting area that wasn't large enough for a lot of people that were making the same trip with us to Delhi. The flight was another long seven hour trip. The majority of us slept through it. The flight itself went pretty well if you don't count the screaming baby that didn't like flying. Aside from that we made it safely and are now headed into Mumbai in a couple of hours. (Jillian McIntyre)

The plane ride from Amsterdam to India was a much better experience. The landing wasn't as rough and has less turbulence. You could feel the difference between Europe and the U.S. to India as we stepped off the plane. You could tell we weren't in Michigan anymore. Next stop was to get through passport check and prepare for our six hour layover, which surprisingly didn't take as long as we had thought to get through.

After getting through passport check it was time to play "I spy the luggage." The people at the currency exchange were nice enough to not charge us tax or commission when we all exchanged at once. Next stop customs.

Going through customs was an experience, but we managed to get through it. The security line was a frustration seeing how impatient people were. There were people trying to cut through the line. One point someone unhooked the barrier and there were people trying to get through to the front. Even at the gate to board our final plane to Mumbai there were a few individuals cutting the line.

Once we landed in Mumbai it was time to get our bags and leave but, plot twist, two bags were misplaced and we had to wait a little longer before our trip to the hotel. The traffic in India is so much different. You hear honking every couple of seconds and driving on the opposite side of the road will take some getting used to. Also, people weaving through traffic got kind of worrisome.

We did happen to see a guy from Germany in traffic who asked us where we were from. So we tried to keep up witht hem and communicate through writing notes and putting it against the window.

Finally, after we got all checked in at the hotel, we had lunch together. After lunch everyone went to freshen up before we went out in the evening. Half of the group went out while the rest stayed at the hotel to sleep. All in all it was a fun day! (Greg Gaskin)

Monday, December 8, 2014

CBM Goes Back to India!

Pre-Trip Discussions

A Message from the Group

Greetings and Salutations from the 2015 SVSU Study Abroad India Group. Today is our 3rd class meeting, everyone is excited for our departure and we are all beginning to prepare for this life changing event.

Our class began with a wide variety of authentic Indian food brought by Dr. Kaustav Misra and the other professors. My favorite dish was a very flavorful yellow peanut rice dish known as Chittranna.  The bread known as Naan was not like the bread we eat here in the United States and had a very different texture. There were also vegetarian and chicken dishes that had some spice and heat to them. The most interesting dish was the Gulab Jamun, a desert that is best explained as donut holes soaked in syrup

Second, everyone viewed a presentation from Dr. Danilo Sirias on the informal market structure everyone will soon be experiencing while in India.  Dr. Sirias is originally from the country of Nicaragua located in Central America, and explained  how the market structure of India will be very different to the structure we are accustom to here in the United States.  The major differences have to deal with transportation and the availability of resources such as electricity and refrigeration.  In the United States it is regular for an individual to drive their car to a large grocery store and purchase large quantities they are then able to transport home and store in refrigeration and freezer units.  In India and other developing nations not everyone has access to these resources so people will buy smaller quantities more frequently from small vendors located close their homes on street corners.  Also, the price will be negotiable in this informal setting and is not set or remain constant from day to day.

Next, Professor Krupp educated the class on the current accounting principles being used in India. She compared the Indian Accounting Principles to the GAAP principles that we currently use in the United States. This is a very important aspect of business as the world is becoming a more global economy and these accounting principles are necessary for the evaluation of the profitability of a business or organization. 

Students from the 2014 Study Abroad India Program then presented and shared some of the experiences they thought would help prepare us for this year’s trip. This was a very beneficial learning experience as everyone was able to ask questions and better organize their ideas.  They shared knowledge of packing for an international trip and to prepare for hard negotiations from the local merchants. They also shared valuable information on how to safely travel with the group and how they handled currency while abroad.

The class ended with our group presentations from the assigned readings provided on V-Space.  The articles presented all dealt with conducting business in India and how marketing varied in this country. The information was very educational as it referenced business statistics such as paying taxes, employing workers and compared them to other country’s statistics.

The Provost of SVSU Dr. Deborah Huntley came to our class session and we all were able to take a photograph together.  The Provost and her husband will be accompanying our group on this trip to India.   (Roderick Innes)

12/5/15: Last Study Abroad Meeting Before India!

We had our fourth and final meeting for Study Abroad India 2015 this evening.  Everyone is extremely excited to be leaving for India in 6 days!  It took place in a Curtiss Hall classroom with twenty-two students and Professors Misra and Krupp. First on the agenda was a short presentation from the six student groups. Topics discussed included Indian religions, caste system, manners, food, and gender roles. We then practiced some Hindi language under Doctor Misra’s instruction. 

Next we went into logistics about the trip. We talked about the travel budget, packing list, and baggage limitations.  Medical insurance cards and information tags were handed out to each student. We discussed the use of phones and other electronics while being outside of the country.  Professor Krupp collected money from students to create an “eating out fund.” Some final decisions were made concerning accommodations and other plans. We ended the two and a half hour meeting with a group picture.  Now one week of final exams is all that is standing in our way! (Effie Spieth)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cardinal Business Edge Travels Canada

A Canadian Tour

In early May, five members of Cardinal Business Edge traveled throughout Canada on a week-long excursion. Below are the stories of their travels.

Evan Campbell

The trip to Canada was great and I thought it was a really cool experience. Being in Niagara Falls was cool but it was raining. Later that day however, we made it to Toronto and had dinner with Kavork at an Armenian restaurant. It was good food, good company, and was one of our best nights because of his stories and being able to share his experiences of college and comparing the U.S. and Canada. 

The French influence was increasing with every city we passed and could real tell the difference in Montreal.

Quebec City was the most interesting because of all of the historic language and it was a very new learning experience. The views were very cool and we were able to explore the whole city especially within the walls of the old town.

Ottawa's Parliament building was a good thing to add to the trip and show how the French and English speakers compromised the capital location right on the Province line.

Overall, I enjoyed this trip very much. It was great to be in an area that I am not familiar with and learn about difference culture and experience it firsthand.

Evan at Niagara Falls

Megann Markey

The Cardinal Business Edge trip to Canada was a great experience that allowed me to visit many cities and create lasting memories with my peers. I had never been to Canada before and within a week I had visited Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa. 

I really enjoyed the effort that we made to eat at foreign cuisine restaurants. The opportunity to try Armenian and Indian food was not something I would seek on my own. I also enjoyed the time that we took to explore the cities and the many cathedrals, government buildings, and stores.

The French language that was spoken and heard throughout our travels was a strong character builder. Not being able to rely on your native language to communicate is humbling. Locating things without using English was intimidating and I quickly found interest in learning directional words and the phrases on road signs.

Traveling in a small group made us depend on one another. By the end we had learned about our families, hobbies, and future goals. 

I would like to thank everyone involved in the planning process of this trip and Dr. Potts for accompanying us on the memory-filled experience. It was my first time leaving the country and it was a trip I won't soon forget.

At an Armenian restaurant trying new cuisine.

Erica Robishaw

Before highlighting the business, economic, and political aspects of my experience with the faculty-led trip throughout Canada, I must first mention the food! Our our first night we ate Armenian cuisine. The meal was served family style, meaning there were many dishes on the table from which we all had shared. After an hour or so of eating and enjoying each other's company, I couldn't possibly have eaten anymore. I sat in disbelief as our host had stated that we hadn't received our entree yet. If our trip had consisted of that meal and back, I would have been content. Following that experience, I tried poutine for the first time, which is a famous Canadian dish composed of french fries and topped with gravy and cheese curds. Why hasn't the U.S. adopted this dish in its entirety?

Highlights of our trip included Niagara Falls, St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, and Parliament in Ottawa. Even though Canada is a close neighbor of ours, there are many distinct differences between the U.S. and Canada. For example, to protect the culture of French Canadians, both English and French are the official languages of Canada. From a business, economics, and political standpoint, both languages must be used for communication - depending on location. While none of us had spoken French, it was fun to practice the few words we did know, and this experience has left me with the goal of becoming fluent in another language.

Courtney Seamon

Overall, I thought the trip to Canada was successful. In six days, we traveled to five different cities with many stops along the way.

We began by traveling to Niagara and saw the falls from the Canadian side. Niagara was quite a site with all of its tourist activities. The coolest part of Niagara was seeing the mist through all of the streets from the falls. That night we traveled to Toronto and had dinner with one of Dr. Potts' friends. He took us to an Armenian restaurant. This dinner was my favorite part of the trip because not only did I like the food the most this night, but the company and conversation was the best. Learning about business, traveling, cultures, and life was a perfect way to begin our Canadian adventure. 

We drove to Montreal the next day and had another great dinner with great company. We walked around the city for a few hours, saw the church of Notre Dame, and happened to run into an event which tried to form a world record of most people in one place wearing clown noses. 

We made it to Quebec City the next day which was my favorite city we visited. It was so quaint with so much history and passion within the walls. 

We finished our trip by driving to Ottawa the last day. We walked around in Parliament and the city. We had Indian food for dinner and experienced our first beaver tails which is similar to an elephant ear.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip with great company.

Tom Sutherland

We spent Saturday afternoon in Niagara Falls. While there, we viewed the partially frozen falls and ate lunch at Planet Hollywood. We continued to Toronto where we ate an authentic Armenian dinner with a friend of Dr. Potts' from Bulgaria.

Sunday morning we drove to Montreal and walked around the city for most of the afternoon. We saw Notre Dame Basilica, the Old Port, and a cancer fundraiser (known as Néz pour vivre). We met with another one of Dr. Potts' friends and went to see Saint Joseph's Oratory. After, we ate dinner in Chinatown Montreal. 

On Monday we drove to Quebec City. We spent the next day and a half walking around the city and practicing our French. Some of the highlights were seeing the Château Frontenac, the Museum of Civilization, the Fort, Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec, the Parliament Building, Laval University, and Old Quebec. 

Wednesday afternoon was spent exploring Ottawa: we saw Chinatown, Little Italy, the Canadian War Museum, the Parliament Building, the Peace Tower, the Supreme Court Building, the Château Laurier, the Rideau Canal, and the By Ward Market. We finished the day with an Indian dinner.

Before this trip I often thought of Canada as "the 51st state"; however, after experiencing the culture firsthand, I have a completely different view on Canada. It was a fantastic experience and I am very grateful for Dr. Potts, Dr. Puia, and everyone else who worked to make this trip possible.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Vlogging from Prague

DAY 5: Magna and Skoda

We had a long and exciting day. We visited two companies, Magna and Skoda. They were both in the auto industry. Magna is an auto parts supplier for BMW, VW, and other European cars. Skoda is a subsidiary of Volkswagen. We walked through the manufacturing facility and were able to watch the robots assemble. It was very interesting to actually see what goes into an assembly line and see all of the things companies do to improve the efficiency of production. 

The Skoda plant was massive and was like a small city! We had a nice tour of the history of the company and how the cars have changed. We then moved to the actual assembly building and watched the car be assembled. Made for a very educational trip with many pointers about how supply change management is done in impressive European companies. (Brendan Tully

DAY 6: Fitness, Antivirus Software, and a cooking class---This is Prague!

To begin the day, we met with Ms. Natalia Folbrycht. Natalia is the Chief Operating Officer for World Class International Fitness, and has also worked with Daymaker, which is a company that seeks to increase customer satisfaction by measuring customer experiences in stores, as well as through phone and online systems. Her experience with Daymaker inspired her to increase customer service quality at the World Class Fitness locations, which is Europe's most comprehensive fitness network. Natalia has not been with World Class for very long, but has already been successful in her implementation of higher quality customer service. Some of our students visited a World Class facility during the stay in Prague and were very satisfied with the customer service, as well as the facility in general.

After the visit with Natalia, our group visited the AVAST headquarters in Prague, where we met with their marketing manager, Mr. Milos Korenko. AVAST is the world leader in the security software industry by offering free, yes free, antivirus software that outperforms the paid-for software offered by their competitors. AVAST can be downloaded in 41 different languages, including Pirate Talk. The word AVAST conveniently means "stop" and the goal of the company is to stop computer viruses.

We ended our day as a group at Cocina Rivero where we cooked a traditional four-course Czech meal together. You can see a video of our experience below! (Heidi Vogel and Charlotte Wong)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Phones, Planes, and Hockey oh my!

DAY 4: T-Mobile and Skyleader

Today we visited T-Mobile. We met with Mrs. Martina Kemrova who is the senior head of corporate communications.

We also visited Skyleader, which is a company that makes lightweight aircraft. We also got to experience taking off and landing a plane with their simulator.

Part of the group went to a KHL hockey game at Tipsport Arena. The other group of us wandered around shops and got to watch a street performer. (Hailey Paruszkiewicz)