Two Weeks in Spain for the IE Mini Exchange
Guest post by Nishant Daruka T'13.
I was fortunate to be a part of the group of Tuck students that took part in a one week mini-exchange program with the IE University Business School in Spain during our spring break in March. The main area of focus for this program was “Doing Business in Europe,” and I can’t stress enough the incredible learning experience that we had!
Most of us arrived in Europe a week ahead of the commencement of classes. I started my journey in Madrid, where I spent 3 days visiting museums, eating tapas, and drinking cerveza along with simply soaking in the beautiful Madrid weather. Picasso’s most famous creation, Guernica, is housed at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, and it is an experience not to be missed. Then I took the high-speed train, Ave, to Barcelona to spend 3 days there. The train is an engineering marvel and covered the 600 KM journey in just 2 hours and 45 minutes! I stayed with a couple of Tuckies in Barcelona, and we had an absolute blast! We were mesmerized by Gaudi’s creations, most notably, the imposing Sagrada Familia, one of the most visited churches in the world, and fell in love with the busy streets and the easy going life style of Barcelona.
Back in Madrid, we started our week long course on a sunny Monday morning. Prof. Areilza, the dean of the law school, got us started on the political development of the European Union. It was intriguing to learn about the formation of the European Union and the political environment that shaped its need and the subsequent structure. In the coming days, we learned about the transformation of the Spanish economy, the formation of the monetary union and the common currency, Euro, and did two case discussions on companies that started in Spain and went global afterwards. Our visit to the Spanish telecom giant, Telefonica, was greatly anticipated, and it lived up to its promise. We got to spend the evening with Guillermo Ansaldo T’89, former Chairman and CEO of Telefonica España, and the current Head of Global Resources of Telefonica. He reminisced about his time at Tuck and mentioned it as the best time of his life. He talked about the current challenges facing Telefonica and drew upon Tuck students’ opinions on the current state of the telecommunications industry.
While at IE, we met a number of IE students and spent significant time learning the culture and business climate of Spain as well as the rest of Europe. Walking on the streets – watching fashionable people dressed immaculately every day – it is hard to imagine that the country is suffering from almost 50% youth unemployment rate!
We witnessed Real Madrid play a championship league game and saw first hand that soccer (oops, football) is not to be taken lightly in the land of the current world champions.
Overall, the IE exchange was a wonderful experience, and had I not done this program, I would have never experienced the subtle nuances of doing business in Europe and Spain, in particular. I thank the Center for International Business at Tuck, on behalf of each and every one who took part in this program. I would highly recommend and encourage every person who wants to learn and experience Europe to apply to this program to have a top quality spring break!
Posted on April 12, 2012
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