May 9, 2016, by Academic contributor

Highlight123 It All!! MBA US Study Tour 2016

Copy of Niket blog2Commonly referred to as the “MBA Journey” or the “MBA Experience” by the cohort, study tours form the epitome of learning, development and the experience. Complementing a really well sought off Business Practice Week (UK) and Semester 1, the timing of the US study tour is well-placed in Semester 2, located at the business end of the program, which is the build up to the management project. This blog shall highlight the US study tour in 3 key milestones, “The build-up”, “The Tour and “Post-tour learnings and expectations”.

The build-up

Quite a popular study tour, the process for this tour begins with an application (on the career enhancement expectations from this tour) and an interview. Getting the students to think and balancing semester 2, this tour is available for 10 credits or a CPD (Certificate of professional development). The MBA office works brilliantly to gather a great balance of complementing diverse ambassadors with a mix of full-time, part-time, executive, Malaysia and Singapore based students. This splendid blend of students stands as Highlight 1 from the trip. With the super-exciting high-profile list of companies released, each student is assigned one company to research and develop upon. As a pre-departure assessed exercise, the study tour team assembles a week before to hear from each student, which leads to a well-informed & prepared team of ambassadors. Well-assisted and completely supported from the visa to the farewell on the final day, the MBA office covers every possible base much to our comfort, especially amidst classes of Semester 2. Coincidently during the Nuclear Industry Summit of 2016 and more importantly as a backdrop to the US Presidential elections, this awaited tour would kick off on March 26.

The tour

Eagerly awaited the eve of the tour dawned, and we departed for New York. A multi-cultural team with a variety of experience along with the expertise of Mr. Chris Mahon arrived at JFK, New York on a Saturday noon. With a buzz of excitement around, we were checked in at a nice hotel which followed a meet up with one of the most hospitable teams, the team from Lehigh University.
Having the opportunity to spend 8 days with Mr. Andrew, Ms. Sara and Ms. Deb, they marked Highlight 2 of the trip. The trip began with a fabulous traditional-Italian dinner following which the evening was left to relax.

The Sunday marked an early start with the MBA office providing us the opportunity to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. A beautiful morning, following which students embarked on their own journeys for the day. From shopping, food, sightseeing to resting everyone returned with a big smile, eagerly awaiting the business sessions.

Monday began with a great breakfast session with an esteemed guest from OTC markets, who provided great insights ranging from the history of trading, how it began to the latest developments in capital raising opportunities for emerging ventures. This was completed well by a walking tour of the financial district which highlighted the key institutions and the tragic 9/11 incident. With heavy hearts, our next Niket blog1visit got us thinking and understanding about the sales strategy of the investment banking arm of heavyweights, Barclays. With insights around their credit, macro and equity divisions we were briefed over the activities of a typical day in a sales trader’s day along with their take on the prospects of various industries and products. Moving from a high-profile multinational we moved to Hammerhead. An entrepreneurial venture, who walked us through their initial journey advising the entrepreneurs in the room along with shedding light on their growth, marketing, competitor and team strategy. Fascinated by many, this marked a great end to the day following which a few of us wanting to be a part of history visited “Delmonico’s”, which is claimed to be the first American restaurant to employ the “a la carte”
menu and developer of the famous “Baked Alaska”.

Tuesday unleashed the most awaited, United Nations which gathered a lot of knowledge and pictures. Located at an international territory, the tour of the UN fascinated many following which we had the privilege to have a session on “UN Global Compact”, which is the largest global initiative for corporate  sustainability. Understanding the necessity for corporates to act responsibly and contribute to global development, we moved to AOL, the renowned media technology company. Along with a session focusing on the business and marketing strategy, the culture and office tour attracted many. Hoping to come back again, they team bid adios to the city to move to its new destination, Bethlehem, home of Bethlehem steel.

Adding to the wide corporate portfolio, Lehigh University welcomed the group on Wednesday for a brilliant session on International business, market entry strategies, strategy pyramid and insights on the consolidating global industries by a fabulous speaker with hard-core industry expertise. Haven’t had enough of him, we had the opportunity to discuss the significance of branding, public relations and people management with the CEO of Just Born, a legendary candy manufacturing company founded in 1923.  A quick walk across the residential blocks of Lehigh, we reached Hatchhouse Ventures our third  session of the day, which introduced to us the concept of residential accelerators, both as a venture and a mind-set. Moving towards the massive steel mills, we were welcomed in the theatre of ArtsQuest. A company focusing on the economic development of the urban area through arts and cultural programs. Understanding their model of revenue generation through various events and their focus on digital intelligence to gain further penetration, the team moved on to a social bowling evening where we met fellow MBA students from Lehigh University along with a few fun games.

Moving on to our final destination, Washington DC the team left peaceful Bethlehem early on Thursday. Invited to one of the most popular restaurants in the city, we had the opportunity to hear from a leading law attorney who represented various mature and growing global companies. Providing significant tips on negotiation skills and insights on the US economy, we moved to the much awaited, World Bank. A visit that provided a basic understanding of their range of operations and their methodology of having a social & environmental impact with   every investment. From here, the team moved to National Geography, the epitome of adventure. Covering various operational aspects of their travel, channel, magazine and content business, a tour of the old and reformed office fascinated many. Also getting the opportunity to meet content capturing crew who provided information on various technologies, left many spellbound. The evening marked a relaxing stroll across Georgetown for many.

Niket blog2Friday, the last leg of the tour got the team out on a sunny day to visit the Wilson Center at the Ronald Reagan International trade Center. A center devoted with scholars and experts developing solutions to the nation’s problems and challenges. Present in the city during the same day as the prestigious Nuclear Industry Summit (NIS), on our way to the center the team got the experience of witnessing the motorcade of President Obama also getting glimpse of him and first lady Michelle Obama. Focusing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) the two learned speakers covered a splendid range of global business and trading topics. Moving towards the final session, the team walked past a large gathering awaiting Chinese President, Hu Jintao. The session at CATO Institute, an American Libertarian think tank focused on the perspective of social liberal and free market across a wide range of domains. Witnessing a mind-set which neither sees the glass half full or half empty but questions the mere existence of the glass, got most of us observing a new mind-set.  Finally time for the curtains to drop, everyone assembled for a farewell dinner. With a lot of love and laughter the night ended with rhythmic chorus of “Sweet Caroline”.

Saturday marked time for some to visit the Capitol building and the national  mall, for some to shop at Georgetown and for some to rest before the departure.

Highlight 3 of the tour being the opportunity to visit and learn from the experts across sessions with various high-profile companies. Bidding adios to the small family from Lehigh and each other, this marked an end of a beautiful tour but opened doors for a range of learning and fabulous experience.

Post-tour learnings and expectations

Back in Nottingham, fresh and enriched with knowledge, the next step involves the most important aspect from the MBA, reflecting and developing. The last assessment focuses upon reflecting upon each element of the tour and ascertaining the learnings along with focusing on growth and personal development.

As an icing to the MBA experience, we just wish as many be a part of this and gain as much from this.

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