2011 Europe Study Tour: It’s a wrap!

It has been a few days now since our group parted ways in Munich, Germany.  Our 2011 Europe Study Tour officially came to an end last Saturday May 14, 2011.  A few students continued on with their travels through Europe, some stayed in Munich to take in more sites, and the rest went home to resume their lives.  One thing is for sure, we are forever changed. 

This trip has been chock full of learning, bonding, and taking in the European culture.  We covered all kinds of unknown territory on this trip, including the topic of family business and entrepreneurship and meetings with executives and representatives from a number of European businesses and organizations.  Above all, this has been an experience of a lifetime because of the group itself.  Our group of 20 bonded quickly and managed to keep ourselves out of trouble (I am sure Peter is thankful for this!) while living the European way (walk walk walk walk walk).  We enjoyed the regional cuisine and bevies but also worked hard to fulfill our student responsibilities.  We accomplished a lot on our trip!

We’d like to thank Peter and Andrew, the Alberta School of Business and the various business leaders, hosts and lecturers for this opportunity to learn about European politics, banking, and family business and entrepreneurship.  This has truly been an enlightening experience for each and every one of us.

Finally, a huge thanks to our dedicated blog followers.  We hope you’ve been able to live vicariously through our blogs!

A picture speaks a thousand words.  So in closing, we present you with …. a million words! Here is a selection of some of our favourite highlights of our trip (in no special order).  Please feel free to add your reflections of our trip in the comments (we like comments)!  Until next trip…….enjoy!





From your blog team,

Thai, Patti, Anju and Sean

P.S. some quick facts about the blog team….we are:

– 75% IT experts
– 75% employed by the Government of Alberta
– 50% Asian
– 25% male
– 100% awesome!

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Final Case Presentations

Our final couple of days in Germany (Wednesday, May 11 and Friday, May 13) were focused on studies and our group presentations that we have all been working very hard on.

The Technische Universität München (TUM) university in Munich welcomed us and we were very fortunate to have lectures on family business and a presentation from a local entrepreneur.  The lectures were presented through the Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS).  The CEFS seeks to transfer academic knowledge into practice through various projects. Research focuses on ownership structures and corporate finance in private and public capital markets including the following main research areas:

• Financing family firms

• Effects of ownership structures on corporate policies in listed firms

• Venture capital and private equity

• Social entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy

Stained Glass Window welcoming us to TUM

Stained Glass Window welcoming us to TUM

Technische Universität München - Technical University Munich

Technische Universität München - Technical University Munich

Statue outside Technical University Munich (TUM)

Statue outside Technical University Munich (TUM)

Finally! All the preparation came down to the final presentations – they were all excellent:

Hicki, Katelyn, James

Hicki, Katelyn, James

Sean, Harry, Yue

Sean, Harry, Yue

Thai, Adam, Bartek

Thai, Adam, Bartek

Nicole, Anju, Travis

Nicole, Anju, Travis

Jarvis, Nella and Mike

Jarvis, Nella and Mike

Patti, Nick and Katie-Lynn

Patti, Nick and Katie-Lynn

You made it guys!  Good job!

After surviving the presentations!

After surviving the presentations!

Your blogging team:

Patricia, Anju, Thai, Sean

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More video updates from Nella

Our European adventures continue!

More memories from the Europe Crew

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‘Never Again’: Dachau Concentration Camp

‘Never Again’: Dachau Concentration Camp

Our agenda has kept us all very busy thus far.  Happily busy.   We have toured many sites, received fabulous in-class lectures, dined in unique restaurants, enjoyed bevies of the region, walked many miles (even climbed a small mountain) and bonded as a group over the past 10 days.

We switched gears a bit today as we took a tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp and received a snap shot of Germany’s history.  It was an emotional experience for all of us.

Rewind to the time period between 1933-1945.

Dachau Concentration Camp was first established in March of 1933 by the Nazi Regime and is located near the historical town of Dachau (20km northwest of Munich).  Dachau was the very first concentration camp built and it was used by the regime for all sorts of unthinkable and inhumane atrocities until its liberation by the American forces on April 25, 1945.  Because it was the first camp established, it acted as the prototype for the rest of the concentration camps that followed.  During these 12 years, more than 188,000 were incarcerated.  The concentration camp was originally built to house between 8,000-10,000 people, but in reality, the numbers hovered at around 30,000 – three times the camp’s capacity.  As a result, people died from starvation, exhaustion, disease and the inability to withstand the unliveable conditions of the camp.  Other causes of death were the extreme conditions from forced physical labour and lethal medical experiments.

Today, the former Dachau Concentration camp serves as a memorial site for all the victims of Dachau during the reign of the Nazi government and as a reminder of what happened in Germany during the Holocaust.

We spent our time walking through the various sites of the camp and received a refresher on our German history (during this time period) from our gracious tour guide Mrs. Antje Roser-Huckle.  Thank you for taking the time to speak candidly about this horrific time in Germany’s history.  Today’s tour was an important and impactful experience.

After the tour, we headed back to the hotel to work on our case presentations (assigned to us last week during our classroom time at WHU).  Tomorrow, we are back in class to learn more on Family Business and then present our cases.  All in a hard day’s work!

From your blogging team: Thai, Patti, Anju and Sean.

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Better late than never…

Here’s a video of our first weekend in Europe by our lovely video blogger, Nella. We know it’s a bit late into the trip to post this up, but we promise it’s definitely worth a watch!

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BMW!!!

Today we visited the BMW Welt and the BMW Factory.  If you don’t want to buy a BMW then we suggest that you stay away from all BMW facilities in Munch.  The presentations and tours were so well done, we had several students inquire about purchasing one of the many amazing models on-site.

We started out in BMW Welt (BMW World for the English speakers out there).  This building was awe inspiring.  Designed by architects Coop Himmelb(l)au for BMW Group, the facility was constructed from August 2003 through summer 2007. Originally conceived to be open and ready for World Cup 2006, it eventually opened on October 17, 2007, and deliveries commenced on October 23, 2007. This is where BMW showcases new models and delivers cars (and an amazing purchasing experience) to its customers.

Among the showcases were:


Following BMW World, we went for a tour of the BMW production facilities.  With up to 80% automation on the car assembly lines, the tour was not only interesting, it was downright amazing.  There were literally 200 robot arms moving, welding, glue-ing and measuring pieces of new BMW cars.  The robot arms also painted the cars.  Watching the cars get assembled was like a scene from the Matrix.

We were also lucky to have seen a BMW motorcycle in action.  He drove up and down the stairs inside BMW World.  A description does not do this justice so here is a video:


Until Tomorrow,
Anju, Thai, Patti & Sean

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Oh, for Pete’s sake!

On Saturday May 7, we celebrated a very special event – Peter’s birthday! Peter, we hope you had a memorable day celebrating with us and all the great food, drinks, and dancing! Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

After two days of hard work at WHU on Thursday and Friday, Peter rewarded us with … mountain climbing. Literally. We were forewarned about this “small mountain” that we would be climbing and true to his word, he delivered us said mountain. However, we did not exactly go from classroom to mountain. Here’s how our day went:

Niederwalddenkmal

Niederwalddenkmal

We started out our day with a bus trip to Ruedesheim, a town famous for their wineries that is located along the Rhine River. We were dropped off near the top of the valley and we walked through some hiking trails to see some spectacular aerial views of the wine country and the Rhine. We then took a gondola ride down to the quaint old town.

Rudeisheim

Rudeisheim

View of the wineries from the gondola

View of the wineries from the gondola


After lunch and some free time for souvenir shopping, we all boarded a boat for a cruise down the Rhine River to St. Goarshausen and the cliffs of Lorelei. We relaxed and enjoyed the views of the many charming towns along the banks of the river and majestic castles that have withstood historical times.

Group shot on the boat tour along the Rhine

Group shot on the boat tour along the Rhine

The "small mountain" at Lorelei

The "small mountain" at Lorelei

When we reached the cliffs of Lorelei, we disembarked and proceeded to hike up what Peter described as a “small mountain”. Oh for Pete’s sake! Even though it wasn’t the easiest time under the hot weather, we were happy that we all made it to the top and enjoyed the beautiful views of the town of St. Goarshausen. In hindsight, it was probably a good idea to do some physical activity since we have been eating and drinking VERY well here in Germany.

We ended our day with a celebration for our Peter. Hope you had a lot of fun!


Andrew at the Biergarten

Andrew at the Biergarten

The boys

The boys

We left Koblenz on Sunday May 8th and we are now in Munich, where we will be spending the latter half of our study tour. First stop in Munich?  Augustiener Keller Biergarten.

Stay tuned for more adventures ahead!

Until next time,
Anju, Thai, Patti & Sean

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