Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cardinal Business Edge: Trip to Chicago 2015

Like the Vitito Fellows, Cardinal Business Edge also has the opportunity to take a trip over spring break and visit businesses while having a little fun. The second cohort of Cardinal Business Edge spent their spring break in Chicago and were afforded some amazing opportunities. Below are the stories of their travels and experiences.


Mindshare

"Visiting this advertising agency included a detailed overview of the company, focusing on the positions associated with digital analytics, and the planning and buying of advertisements.  The speakers were all fresh out of college and very engaging, and passionate about their work which made me excited for my own job one day." Katherine Leite



"It was inspiring to see so many young adults in a company as it showed that there is job opportunities for us students when we graduate." Kara Brunk

"The visit to Mindshare opened my eyes to a whole section of the marketing world I did not know existed. Everyone sees the creative side of marketing shown in advertisements, but rarely is the analytical process behind the placement and effectiveness of advertisements brought to mind." Kylie Bos

Chicago Federal Reserve

"Even as a non-finance or accounting major, I still found this visit to be very entertaining. Our guide was very knowledgeable and interesting. I also greatly appreciated the fact that we were able to tour places that the general public is no longer allowed." Melissa Whitford

"I learned a ton of new information while we were at the Chicago Federal Reserve. I learned more about money than I could have ever imagined. We were even lucky enough to see some cash will we were taking our tour." Kyle Lapine



"Our trip to the Chicago Fed was unique in being able to see the process of how money is destroyed and being able to learn more about the federal banking system." Cody McKay

"Everything from interest rates to inflation rates requires looking deeply into numbers and data. Visiting the Federal Reserve clarified many aspects of banking that may typically be unknown." Stephen Poppe

Lettuce Entertain You

"The trip to Lettuce Entertain You was so much fun. I learned about something I have been passionate about since I was young; treating people well and good food. I am looking into getting an internship there in the future." Sarah Griffore


"Out of the three business tours, our final visit to Lettuce Entertain You was by far my favorite.  Paula and Bill Nevruz were great speakers and graciously welcomed us into Shaw’s Crab House.  I could tell just how passionate they were about the company by how they spoke and their willingness to answer any of our questions; I think that their form of leadership style was definitely one that we could model after." Kelsie Hutter

"Visiting Shaw’s Crab House, a business under Lettuce Entertain You, was very educational and quite relevant to most everyone’s majors.  They created an environment that made me feel comfortable and left me wanting to learn more about who they were and what their business was all about." Kyle Soldan

In addition to the professional business visits, students were able to attend a Chicago Bulls game, see a performance at The Second City, visit the Chicago Art Institute, and see an architectural tour of Chicago.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Day 4: Brew Tour!

Sziastok! 

To begin our fourth day visiting Hungarian businesses, we met up with a successful entrepreneur and owner of his own Advertising and PR firm, Mr. András Petrányi-Széll. He gave an interesting presentation on providing marketing and PR work for small to medium clients in Hungary. For us Vitito Fellows, who have focused largely on leadership and motivation, he showed us a different perspective on the Hungarian philosophy. It was nice to gain insight on a management style that emphasizes certain Hungarian values, which differ from many of our own. After we left, we had a wonderful lunch at a beautiful Italian style café. We were served duck ragout risotto with backed duck breast slices, and many of us agreed that it was the best meal we've had yet. Following lunch, we took a short bus ride out to Dreher breweries. With the warm reception, detailed presentation, and lively Q and A, you would have a hard time believing this was the 2nd largest brewery in the world. We met with the marketing director, Mr. Dalibor Vainer, who has a firm grasp on the details of the market, and uses that to employ dynamic marketing strategies for all of their different products. After the presentation, we were taken on a tour of the brewery, where we got a first hand look into the intricacies of it all. After a short bus ride back to the hotel, we were free to relax the evening away in the beautiful city of Budapest.




Until tomorrow, iszlát! (Heidi Hicks and Annie Aubrey)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Day 3: US Embassy & Prezi

Sziasztok!


Today was our first day of visiting businesses. Out first stop was the US Embassy to see Chief Economist Max Gebhardt. Mr. Gerbhart  gave  a dynamic presentation about American diplomacy and the economy in Hungary. Following the lively discussion at the embassy, we traveled to the quaint First Strudel House. We had a traditional Hungarian meal with chicken ratatouille  and potato strudel , along with their world famous apple and cheese strudel. After, we ventured to the world renowned tech start-up to meet with Atilla Balogi the marketing and events coordinator for Prezi. We had an interactive Prezi presentation, where we learned about the company's  founding and  culture. The building was very large, a mix of traditional old Hungarian architecture  and a fun, modern, interior. The only thing better than the beautiful building, was the warm reception from the people. It was the perfect start to an a week of meeting with amazing business leaders. 


Sziasztok,
Nicole Calandrino  & Hope Gantner 

Monday, March 2, 2015

#hungaryforagoodtime: Vitito 2 Travels to Hungary!

Day 1: Taking it all in


The culmination of the last year and half has led up to this, a trip to Budapest, Hungary. We arrived to the airport at promptly at 6:30 for our departure at 9:25. As any good tourist we wondered though the airport out of excitement like children in a candy store. The flight to Paris was uneventful for some, because they were in a coma for six hours; and stressful for others who had a hard time sleeping due to virgin flyers. After one of our members was stopped by French security due to a full water container, we finally made it to our gate. The overall opinion of Charles de Gaulle is that it was crowded with a slight smell of must. The flight into Budapest was sleepy to say the least. The groups overall mood after smelling the fresh Hungarian air, was relieved to step out in to 11 degrees Celsius, a warm 48 Fahrenheit.

We stepped out of the airport and onto a large bus. We weaved our way through some mean traffic, and squeezed through extremely narrow side roads. After about a 20 minute ride, we arrived at our hotel. We endured a short orientation upon arrival, received our room keys, and were tossed into the fire of culture shock. Zack and I entered our room and were immediately enveloped in complete darkness. As panic set in, we flipped light switch after light switch, praying that at some point over the next seven days we could figure out how to lighten up our room. Finally, after much trial and tribulation, we figured out that in order to turn the lights on in the room, we had to put our room key in the light switch. As we moved on from our first experience with culture, we showered, changed into our dress clothes, and began to explore the beautiful hotel. Zack and I again experienced some culture as we immediately became lost in the staircase, got confused by the elevators, and admired the interesting weight room in the hotel. At 5:30p.m. Budapest time, we headed out to our first group dinner.


After a wonderful first experience with Hungarian public transportation, we arrived at this beautiful vessel. Stretching a near 100 feet in length fill filled with crystal chandeliers, red velvet carpet, and elegant table setting for thirteen. We enjoyed a magnificent three course meal even a king would desire. We enjoyed a Caesar salad to start, main course of chicken and potatoes, and a dessert of tiramisu.


From dinner, we walked across the gorgeous Hungarian city to a traditional folklore dance and musical performance. The performance hall was beautifully designed with several paintings and beautiful architecture. Jet lag set in for many as the performance went on. Eyes closed, heads nodded, and sleep filled the viewing balcony. However, through the parts of the performance that we stayed awake for, the night was very enjoyable. The highlight of our visit to the performance hall was Zack’s visit to the women’s restroom. Zack ventured in to what he thought was a unisex bathroom… only to find out that he was indeed occupying a toilet meant for females. You would think the picture of the stick figure wearing a dress would have been a give away that the bathroom was meant for women, but leave it to Zack to miss that detail.


After the performance we headed back to the hotel. We shared lots of laughs and good times today. Tonight will be an early night as we prepare for another long day tomorrow. 

Thanks for following along with our journey, and we hope you enjoyed reading about our first day of our journey! (Zack Gibson and Brandon Woods)

Day 2: A Tour of Budapest


Sziasztok!



Today we were blessed with the opportunity to take a bus tour of beautiful Budapest! We began on the Pest side and stopped first at Heroes Square. Heroes Square is known for its iconic statues representing the great leaders of Hungary, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Millennium Monument. It was amazing to see that there were so many great leaders in Hungary before the United States even existed.

Appropriately following, we headed to the St. Stephen's Basilica, which is named in honor of the greatest leader, the first king of Hungary, Stephen. The pictures of this building do not even begin to give justice to the architecture. The ceilings, alter and paintings within the Basilica were the most beautiful we have ever seen. We were even lucky enough to visit while mass was being held! 



Next, we headed to Buda, where we had 15 minutes to take in all of the beauty, which was not enough! We'll definitely be heading back before we leave! The view was all we expected it to be and more. This area was very crowded, which despite, a few of us were still able to literally run through to get a strudel before we left - which we must add was everything we desired it to be! 



Finally, we ended our tour at the House of Terror, a museum of the historical tragedies of the people of Hungary, focusing mostly on the Holocaust and Russian Invasion. The images and layout of the building was astounding. The history of the country was so much more than we thought. This visit was very eye opening to what shapes the culture of this country.


Day two has come and gone, and most of us already don't want to fathom the idea of leaving. Jó éjszakát! (Andrea Rickerd and Rosalie Stackpole)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

India Trip Wrap Up



During our first few days in India, one of our tour guides described the country as being full of contrasts – that the people, culture, religion, food, and many other areas are full of diversity that come together to create one, unified India.


In a way, this is also an apt description for our trip. We combined different topics – education, sightseeing, exploration, fun, friendship, and more – into one trip that none of us will soon forget.

The trip’s business visits introduced the group to what it is like to conduct business in India from the perspectives of economists, managers, marketing experts, entrepreneurs, and accountants. Our hosts at KPMG, Shadra University, the Bombay Stock Exchange, Amity University, Ogilvy and Mather, the Western Union Call Center, and the Agrawal Group of Institutes were incredible, teaching us not only about their respective fields but also about India in general. The things we learned help illuminate Indian business, but also added to our knowledge of international business. As a group, we were blown away by both our hosts’ knowledge and their hospitality.


Our sightseeing visits provided yet another taste of the beauty of India, as we were able to take in the amazing sights while learning their history. Some highlights included the Qutb Minar, the second tallest tower in India; the Bahai (Lotus) House of Worship; the Red Fort, an emperor’s fort made entirely of red sandstone; the Presidential Palace and Parliament Building; the India Gate; the beautiful Hanging Gardens in Mumbai; the Mahatma Gandhi museum; the breathtaking Taj Mahal; and another incredible fort, Fatehpur Sikri. We also got to explore the cities of Mumbai, Goa, and New Delhi, each with its unique layout, architecture, and people. Overall, the group was stunned by the sights we were able to take in. Visiting destinations like these gave us better insight into the history of India and why so many of our hosts referred to the country as “incredible India.”

There were also some aspects of the trip that were solely for fun! Our visit to Goa was spent almost entirely on the beach, enjoying the sand, water, cold drinks, and even some parasailing. We also had a pool party in our hotel in Mumbai. On the shopping end of things, we got to visit the Crawford Market, the Janpath Market, the Khan Market, and Dilli Haat, where we were able to practice our newfound haggling skills and purchase some fun souvenirs to take home with us. We also got a taste of the amazing food India has to offer at a few restaurants across the country, including a celebration for the wedding anniversary of Professor Sirias and his wife!


Traveling through India is best described as being an adventure in itself – getting anywhere with 25+ people is always a challenge! One of our tour guides told us it takes 5 things to drive in India: a good horn, good eyes, good brakes, patience, and a lot of luck. We found this to be true as we were amazed watching how motorcycles would weave in and out of traffic and drivers in general appeared to be fearless. Getting anywhere by bus seemed to take at least an hour, but at least we got to see more of India when we were traveling that way. We had a few bumps in the road with our travel plans, including a cancelled flight that led to an 18-hour bus ride across the country, but for the most part we got to where we needed to be on time and saw all the things we had set out to see.


Overall, our trip to India was a great one. We saw amazing sights, learned a lot, ate great food, and bonded as a group. None of us will soon forget our trip to incredible India. (Rachel Stocki)


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our Last Days in India

December 22, 2014: KPMG and Shadra University


We started off the morning with a nice breakfast at a hotel this morning. Due to immense fog and zero visibility we were forced to leave earlier than presumed to make it in time for our first meeting. We arrived at KPMG around 9:30 and were received with a warm welcome. From there we went to the conference room where they proceeded with the presentation by starting off with a brief overview of India, then having each student and faculty member introduce themselves and tell what he/she has enjoyed and not enjoyed about their Indian experience so far. We then listened to a presentation discussing the audit and tax environment in India and what it takes to do business in India. Finally, we finished up the meeting with a case study and open discussion.



Our second visit of the day saw us go to Shadra University where we were welcomed by the dean of the university and listened to lectures from professors Milindo Chakrabarti and Rajesh Kumar on "Manager, entrepreneur, and leader: quest for convergence from an India perspective" and "Evidence of changing climate in Himalayas: impacts on water and livelihood", respectively.



The day came to a conclusion with the farewell dinner at Punjab Grill which also saw us celebrating the 25th wedding anniversary of Professor Sirias and his wife. It was a full day of business as usual and a fun night capped off with friends. (Zikora Okafor)

December 23, 2014: Last morning in India

Our last morning in India was spent on breakfast, packing, and checking out of the Suryaa Hotel. We were gathered on the bus to travel to Amity University at about 10am, and actually arrived on time! We were greeted on campus by a friendly welcoming committee and a personalized sign that welcomed the SVSU 'delegates' to the large campus- home to approximately 20,000 students.



During our stay, a professor discussed the business environment in India- with the biggest problem being the lack of purchasing power among the nation's many poor. We learned there should be no reason for anyone here to die of starvation, as 75% of the population works in agriculture. The inability of the working poor to buy commodity products is derived from a lack of skill and employment (only 30% of graduated students are employable, according to industry leaders).The hope is for foreign investors to bring capital into the market and eventually raise the purchasing power for consumers in India.



After the lecture, we toured the campus library and communications building. The school clearly has an excellent mass media production program, as evidenced by the state-of-the-art facilities for the campus radio, newsroom, and photography area.


After we left Amity, we started our last shopping adventure: a two part saga of haggling and fighting crowds  on a quest to acquire Christmas presents for friends and family back home. First, we went to Janpath market. It was an incredible stretch of store-lined streets, with hawkers every few feet grabbing at sleeves and ears with deals that seemed too good to be true. They chased us down with wallets, bangles, flutes, drums, and all sorts of knick knacks at prices roughly equivalent to a quarter apiece. After loading our bags and emptying our wallets, we were excited to go back to Dilli Haat for round two. We tired of Janpath after an hour and a half, and took a short bus ride back to our favorite outdoor market. Many students found their last presents there and then we all got back on the bus to head back to the hotel, cold after the sun went down and laden with scarves and trinkets. The remainder of the evening was spent eating and mentally preparing before our journey home at 3AM. (Charlotte Norfleet)

December 24, 2014: Departing India



On the morning of December 24, 2014, our group began our final bus trip to the New Delhi airport for our 3AM flight to Amsterdam.  Upon our arrival, we transported our luggage and dropped it off in the checked-baggage area.   At this point, it was about 1:30AM and the entire group was rather exhausted from spending the last two weeks traveling and exploring the incredible country of India.  After checking in our luggage, we went through security, then found our gate and waited around to board our plane at around 2:30AM. 

Within minutes of boarding our plane and settling in, a good portion of our group has already fallen asleep while we taxied around for about 45 minutes prior to take-off.  The flight was about 8 hours and 30 minutes, but because of the delay in New Delhi, we arrived to Amsterdam just in time to board our next flight to Detroit.  

We arrived to our final destination at around 12:30PM, effortlessly flew through customs and immigrations, and then proceeded to find our luggage at baggage claim. Our group was definitely eager to be home to spend Christmas with their families.  However, I think we can all agree that this unbelievable experience was life changing for all of us, and I am confident we have all made lifelong friendships and memories because of this amazing journey. (Kim Stolzman)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mumbai > Goa > Agra > Qutb Minar

December 17, 2014: Travel Woes

Today was an interesting day as the group had to deal with a lot of adversity. The original plans were to fly to Goa in the afternoon and enjoy a nice dinner and entertainment on a cruise ship. However, we ran into some troubles with the flight because our carrier, SpiceJet, was forced to cancel all of their flights due to lack of jet fuel supported by the government. To deal with this issue, we found two buses that were able to drive the whole group to Goa.

This would cause a serious adjustment to the original plans because the flight would've only taken an hour and a half, whereas we spent almost 17 hours on the buses driving. While we waited for the buses to arrive, we were taken to a giant mall in Mumbai where we were allowed to eat, shop, and relax before our bus ride to Goa. Everybody broke off into smaller groups to go explore the mall and grab a bite to eat. The buses eventually arrived and we set off on our way to Goa around 4:00 pm. Our first pit stop along the way was a hotel restaurant where we all used the restrooms and
sat down for a nice meal. (Kyle Parks and Brad Wenzlick) 

December 18, 2014: Mumbai to Goa

After a long 17 hour bus ride from Mumbai to Goa, we finally arrived at our gorgeous hotel around 9:00 this morning. We decided to take advantage of the 85 degree weather by spending our afternoon at the beach. At the beach, a few chose to participate in parasailing, while others decided to play volleyball and enjoy their cold beverages. As some enjoyed lunch at the beach, others went back to the hotel to escape the heat.

Later on, we all dressed nicely to prepare for our dinner cruise. We were served an authentic, Indian style dinner and entertained with traditional Indian dancing. We could not have asked for a better night to enjoy the beautiful weather in Goa.

After the dinner cruise, some decided to end the night by relaxing by the pool while others headed to bed right away. (Kaylee Niemiec) 


December 19, 2014

Today we woke up to a beautiful morning in Goa. We enjoyed our breakfast by the pool and savored every last bit of warm weather and sunshine. We checked out of the hotel and were on our way to the airport by 11:00. Due to Spice Jet going on strike and canceling most domestic flights, we had to split up into two groups and take separate flights to Delhi on a different airline. The flights were only 45 minutes apart, and everyone made it safely.  We arrived in Delhi and were greeted by 50 degree weather, much colder than what we were accustomed to in Mumbai and Goa. 

Leaving the airport we had a bit of a drive and stopped at an Indian restaurant along the way for dinner. Once everyone got enough to eat, we left for Suryaa, the beautiful hotel we will be staying at for the rest of our time in India. We checked into our rooms and called it an early night because we had to be up bright and early for our day trip to Agra.
(Shannon Sebald and Tiffany Dougherty)


December 20, 2014: A Trip to Agra



We woke up bright and early at 6am to take a day trip to Agra to see what the city has to offer. Our hotel in Delhi provided us with a nice breakfast on the bus- which consisted of muffins, fruits, juice and a sandwich. Our wonderful host briefed us with an overview of India's history. Shortly before noon we arrived in Agra, one of India's previous capitals and oldest cities.

Finally, we got the opportunity to snap some photos of the local     monkeys on the tops of buildings and billboards. Cows, donkeys, camels and pigs were also in abundance throughout the city. About an hour after arriving in Agra we got out of our bus and took a brief walk to a different bus that transported us to the fort gate. While we were on the way to the second bus a child not older than 8 came up to us and asked where we were from. When someone replied America he replied, "Ohh America you mean Obama-land." The fort was a sight to see with all the beautiful designs found within. The history of Fatehpur Sikri presented by our host was fascinating.

Afterward, we made our journey towards the Taj Mahal. Upon arriving we found out that the president of Bangladesh was visiting for the day so we had to wait an extra hour and a half to get inside the Taj. Once inside we all got our first real look of the Taj Mahal, which was something words cannot even describe. It truly lives up to its title as one of the seven wonders of the world. The use of colored stone and its designs makes Taj Mahal one of a kind. After more pictures, we headed back to the hotel and all went straight to bed after a long 4 hour bus ride. (Alyssa and Andrew)
 


December 21, 2014: Qutb Minar


This morning we continued our adventures in New Delhi with a trip to Qutb Minar, which is the second tallest tower in India. We were able to look around the ruins of the surrounding Mosque and study the impressive architecture of the site. Soon after, we were on our way to the Bahai (Lotus) House of Worship. The temple is shaped like a lotus flower and built primarily out of pure white marble. The silence inside the temple was almost overwhelming, compared to the noisy hustle and bustle of the surrounding city. 


Continuing on the tour, we visited the Red Fort, which housed the Mughal emperor of India until 1857. We had time to explore the grounds and learned that the structures were built to house the emperors and their families, as well as host political events. Before heading back to the hotel for the night, we visited an informal market, where we were able to practice our negotiation skills. We all walked away with some awesome souvenirs to take back home. (Eric Madill and Siobion Richards)