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2012 Engineering/MBA Student Blog

BS/MBA Program 2012 Begins!

14 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Hello All,

Today began the start of the 2012 BS/MBA program for ten of the students involved n the program.  Although the classes at Manchester Business School (MBS) don’t begin until Monday, seven of us traveled to Dublin for a little tourist activity before the program.  Three others are in London until the program begins.  Although tired, everyone has arrived safe and sound.  More updates will follow!   –  Scott Pabian, 2012 BS/MBA Blog Author



15 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was a free day for those of us who traveled to Dublin early.  We had a fabulous time. This morning, we toured the Guinness factory, followed by an extensive walk around the south side of the city, which was punctuated with various stops at historical sites and several cathedrals.  It was very interesting to learn about the city history and culture.  Although we haven’t been in touch with our cohorts in London or those traveling here, I am sure that all are enjoying themselves.  – SDP



Travel to Manchester

17 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian


Today consists mostly of travel to Manchester and a program orientation scheduled for this evening.  Yesterday, several of the group stayed in Dublin to tour museums and partake of a local culture festival called Taste of Dublin.  Other took a bus tour around the surrounding countryside.  Everyone enjoyed the day, which provided a bit of sunshine for a change.  We are eagerly anticipating the program start tomorrow. – SDP


First Day of Class

18 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

After last night’s orientation and dinner, today was the first day of class for the program.  We had lectures for the majority of the day at MBS.  The topic of the day was an introduction to several cultures worldwide, a discussion of cultural differences, and their affect on business interactions.  The program consists of almost 50 students of a variety of nationalities, so the class was able to have a good discussion on the different cultures represented.  Along with comparing personal knowledge, we also learned about Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and how to apply them in business settings. – SDP


Class continues

19 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Our classes continued today with two lectures on Globalization & Trade and the European Union and its sovereign debt and banking crisis.  Class was interesting, although it seems that many of the group are learning quite a bit of cultural knowledge outside of class.  Simple items, such as grocery shopping and trips to the post office are a major ordeal, as the British way of life is quite different from the USA.

As far as entertainment goes, many of the students have been keeping up with the Euro Cup 2012 and have watched the games at local pubs.  Others have been checking into the local shopping (see picture of clothing store decorated with Singer machines) and observing the architecture, both modern and otherwise.  – SDP




20 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today class continued with an informative lecture on the formation of the European Union and its history.  We learned a good deal about European politics, and then our group split up after class to enjoy the town.  Several students toured the soccer stadium, while others went to the city center.  For the structural engineers in the group, buildings and bridges were abundant.  British culture and customs have been very interesting; however, there is a bit of a learning curve to staying in and touring a foreign city.  – SDP



End of Manchester Lectures

21 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today marked the last day of lecture for this week in Manchester.  The group will be returning to the city in three weeks.  Today’s lecture discussed the current economic crisis in the European Union, and focused mainly on Greece, and Spain, which we will visit in two weeks.  Causes of the crisis and possible solutions were discussed, all of which are politically complex and would require the EU to venture into new territory.


Tomorrow, the group has a tour of the city and will partake of a classical music concert.  This evening, outdoor activities were largely suspended, as the weather has taken a turn for the worse, and heavy rain fell over the city. The time was used by many to do more mundane activities such as laundry and packing for our departure Saturday morning.  Still, most of the group made time to brave the rain and watch the latest ‘football’ game in the Euro Cup at the local pub.  – SDP


Manchester Museums!

22 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today the group was scheduled to take a walking tour of Manchester, but due to extreme rain (almost 4.0 inches today!), we toured the archaeological museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.  The engineers in our class really enjoyed the power systems and mechanical sections of the museum, and the exhibits were very informative.  Afterwards, the students all attended a concert performed by a cello octet.  The evening was consumed by packing and final preparations for the trip to London.  – SDP




Travel to London

23 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was arguably the most exciting day of the program to date, as we loaded into a bus and drove to London.  The trip took the morning, and by the time we checked into the hotel, it was early afternoon.  Some of the students chose to take bus tours of the city, while others stayed at the hotel to relax and planned to enjoy the London nightlife.  In either case, it was a one in a lifetime experience for most.  Several of the students were impressed by the size of the city, preparations for the Olympic games to come, and the differences in American and European culture, which is quite evident when traveling around a large city, in everything from the crosswalks and traffic patterns to the restaurants and street vendors.  – SDP



London Day 2

24 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was the second day the group was in London.  Many of the students used the day to tour around to sights which they had not seen yesterday.  One of the favorites was the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.  Other students went to the house of Parliament, or rode the London Eye (Ferris wheel).  While there haven’t been any lectures this weekend, tomorrow the group will travel to Prague for more eduction on business in the former Soviet Union.  – SDP



Welcome to the Bloc

25 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today our group spent much of the day in airports traveling to Prague in the Czech Republic.  Once in the city, the differences between the ‘Western’ culture we are used to and the former Soviet society were quite apparent.  The outlying areas of the city seem to be rather underdeveloped, but the historic downtown is absolutely beautiful.  Our group was led on a guided tour of the downtown area in the evening, then turned loose in the city square to return to the hotel, a la ‘The Amazing Race’.  Several students stayed in the downtown area to eat and partake of the outdoor restaurants, but ordering and paying caused additional difficulties and cultural learning experiences.  (How much is that bill?)  – SDP



Back in the USSR

26 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was an interesting lecture on the history and geography of the former USSR, including the Czech Republic.  After discussing this topic, our lecturer, a local university professor, discussed some of the difficulties of doing business in the former Soviet states, and then the students were again given free time.  The rest of the day was then filled with tram and subway rides, as most of the group went into the city to see more of the areas not toured yesterday.  Other students stocked up on groceries or did laundry, both of which turned into ordeals in a country where there is a language barrier.  Communication with the western world is similarly difficult, with phone calls costing a great deal, and internet access being spotty at best.  This is certainly an eye-opening experience so far.  Tomorrow the group is scheduled to travel to an brewery located approximately 60 miles outside of Prague.  The bus ride there should afford an interesting view into the Czech countryside.  – SDP



Braunschweiger for Breakfast

27 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

After a healthy breakfast including an unusual variety of meats and cheeses to make sandwiches, our class loaded a bus headed for the Krusovice brewery.  Shortly thereafter, our driver was foiled by a tight corner, which was resolved when several of the students picked up a parked car and moved it out of the way.  On the road again, we enjoyed the scenery until our arrival at the brewery, where our group toured the facility and then was presented with a discussion of the business strategy of the company, which is now a subsidiary of Heineken.  After a beer tasting, the group was back on the bus and then was again given a free evening in Prague.  Most of the students again enjoyed the city and architecture, and several also watched the Euro Cup soccer games on a large screen that was in the town center.



Czech Culture

28 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was a second day of lecture in Prague.  The class today consisted of a discussion of several businesses which were started in the former Soviet bloc, both successful and otherwise.  In the Czech Republic, most of the companies are now parts of larger multinational corporations.  This lecture will tie in with our trip to the Skoda automobile factory tomorrow.  We learned that many of the failures were due to lack of cultural relevance.  After that, our professor discussed some common cultural practices in the Czech Republic, which include negotiating for almost anything.  Later in that day, once in town, the author of this blog and others practiced negotiation techniques while purchasing concert tickets to a string quartet concert (Original price: 550 CZK, Final price: 300 CZK).  – SDP



Mercury Rising

30 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Apologies for not posting this earlier; I was unable to access the internet yesterday.  Yesterday, Friday June 29, the group traveled by bus to the Skoda automobile factory to observe the production processes and facility in the Czech Republic.  The trip was rather enjoyable and educational, aside from the bus ride, which was quite hot.  The temperature in Prague was approximately 90 degrees today, which may seem cool compared to the three digit temperatures in central Kentucky.  However, one must consider our humidity, plus the fact that we have no air conditioning or even fans or other air movement devices here in the Czech Republic – not on the bus, not in restaurants, not in the hotel (and no pool).  Aside from complaint about the heat, most of the group is excited about today,  which is a free day for touring.  Many of the students are planning to stay out late going to jazz or dance clubs; others have planned a day trip to Vienna.  – SDP



Last Day in Prague

30 Jun 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today is the group’s last day in Prague.  Most of the students took advantage of the free time to visit some of the sights they had yet to see.  I personally went to the Prague Castle and spent much of the day there. Others in the group chose to relax and try to recuperate from the week at the hotel (last picture).  Everyone is very excited to go to Barcelona and have a change of scenery.  – SDP



Travel to Barcelona

1 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

After a long day of traveling, which began with a long wait for our bus, followed by a bumpy plane ride through a thunderstorm, our group arrived in Barcelona.  The rain broke briefly as we rode to our hotel and admired the mix of architectural styles in the city (Barcelona is known for its architecture), but then resumed as we took a coach tour of the city.  After the tour, most of the students went to local restaurants to watch the final game of the Euro Cup 2012 soccer tournament, between Spain and Italy (Spain won 4 – 0).  As a result, there are currently fireworks and car horns outside our hotel as a celebration.  Class resumes tomorrow, but for now, we are just happy to be in a clean,  air-conditioned hotel.  – SDP



Spanish Fun!

2 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today class involved a relatively long day of lecture related to starting businesses in the European Union and the analysis of existing businesses.  We also had meetings with our groups about our term project, which was then followed by some free time.  The students quickly latched on to the opportunity to see the city and saw everything from markets with kumquat trees to historical sights.  Later in the evening, almost the entire group ended up at a famous fountain near our hotel for a light and water show complete with Spanish music.  The weather is fabulous and tomorrow promises another good day, with many of the students planing a beach trip, class permitting.  – SDP



Spanish Entreprenuership

3 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today’s lecture was a short lecture related to the Spanish property crisis, followed by perhaps the best speaker to date, an inspiring entrepreneur from the United Kingdom who moved to Barcelona on a whim and started a luxury corporate travel agency.  Not only was his story interesting, but the life lessons about starting a business were new and different compared to some of the discussions at the Gatton College, which expanded our understanding of entrepreneurship.  After class, everyone went out to various places on the city; many in the group went to La Sagrada Famila, a cathedral designed by the famous architect Gaudi circa 1880s, and still under construction today.  On a separate note, everyone is enjoying the local food, including tapas and paella (rice dish with seafood and spices).  – SDP



Fourth of July!!

5 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Apologies to my avid readers, I was unable to upload last night due to internet connectivity problems.  Yesterday was a special day for us, as a group of Americans traveling abroad.  We were fortunate to have most of the day free, and most of us use that time to enjoy the beach at Barcelona.  In the late afternoon and evening, we had a tour of the Barcelona Innovation District, an area of the city where many of the up and coming technology companies are building.  As a result, many new jobs are being created in this part of the city, which is very exciting to the locals, since Spain has an unemployment rate of nearly 25%. During the tour, we learned about some of the companies moving in, and also observed the modern architecture, which also displayed some structural engineering prowess.




Travel to Grenoble

6 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Internet connectivity was again a problem yesterday, resulting in a lack of blog post from our final day in Barcelona.  The final day was a free day, so nothing extremely exciting happened – mostly sightseeing, shopping, and more beach time.  Everyone was sad to leave Barcelona this morning, and somewhat disheartened at the prospect of a ten hour bus ride to Grenoble, but away we went.  After a long jaunt through the Spanish countryside, we crossed the French border and continued through France, arriving in Grenoble around 6:30 in the evening.  Most of our group is using the evening to begin work on one of the papers due for the program.  Tomorrow, we have a day trip to Avignon scheduled, where more sightseeing awaits.  – SDP




Professional Bus Riders

7 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today’s side trip to Avignon was fun and interesting, but somewhat tiring, as we have now spent about 16 of the last 36 hours on a bus.  Avignon is an older, smaller city, home of the original palace of the popes, and a famous half-finished bridge over the Rhone river (no jokes about French work ethic, please).  After the trip, many of the students in the program worked on their study papers in groups and planned their day tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a free day in Grenoble – I believe that everyone is planning on hiking around the local area and enjoying the scenery.  – SDP



Nautre’s Splendor

8 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was a gorgeous free day in Grenoble – a fortuitous occurrence, as rain had been predicted.  Instead, the weather was a comfortable 85 degrees and breezy, and almost everyone in the group decided to hike in the surrounding Alpine foothills, mostly in the area nearby known as Sassenage.  The countryside is beautiful and gave a welcome break from the bustle of the cities we have been in to date.  Classes begin tomorrow at the Grenoble Business School, but for now, everyone is enjoying a relaxed evening.

On a separate note, the living conditions of our group have improved.  Due to an error in the booking of the hotel, our rooms were double-booked, which has resulted in the pleasant surprise of all the UK BS/MBA students being given their own hotel rooms (making for a nice change from some cramped-by-American-standards European hotel quarters).  – SDP



Class in Grenoble

9 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today, tomorrow , and Wednesday our group is being hosted by the Grenoble Graduate School of Business, including several lectures and a company tour.  Today’s lecture continued our education on the formation of the European Union and discussed the current political climate related to the Union.  After the lectures, students again toured the surrounding countryside and enjoyed French cuisine.  – SDP



French Company Visits

11 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Lack of internet again caused a problem for my blog post from yesterday, which was a shame, as yesterday’s company visits were some of the best activities so far.  Our group was split between a solar panel manufacturer, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), which I attended.  The synchrotron is a type of particle accelerator, which is approximately 800 feet in diameter and operates 24/7.  At the facility, we had a lecture on its operations, both the physics and the business end of the research, and then a tour.  The synchrotron uses electrons to produce X-rays which are one quadrillion times stronger than ordinary hospital X-rays.  These high-power rays can be used to study atoms and atomic structures of objects.

After the company visits, our group had a wine tasting of various local wines, organized by the Grenoble Business School and led by the school’s Business Developer and Wine Sommelier (what a great job).  – SDP





Last Day in Grenoble

11 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was our last day in Grenoble, and one of the last days of lecture for our program.  Today was a whole day of discussions on European business, specifically taxes and how they affect a company’s choices within the European Union.  After class, the students fraternized and decided how to best use the last night in the city.  I personally rode the cable car to the top of a nearby mountain and  enjoyed a spectacular view of the sunset.  For the roadway engineers, check out the road that leads to the same mountaintop!  Tomorrow our group will depart for Paris, where more excitement and adventure awaits!  – SDP




Rain in ‘Paris’dise

13 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Long travel time and a technologically underdeveloped hotel has kept me from posting about Paris until now.  However, to date there isn’t too much to say.  Rain has prevented us from enjoying many of the typical tourist activities and students in our group have had difficulty obtaining tickets for some of the various attractions, especially in light of tomorrow being the French Independence Day – meaning an increase in the number of tourists present.  The food has been good, and we have been making to most of the time, trying to see what we can, still enjoying the city, though.  Perhaps tomorrow will provide some relief in the weather and allow for some interesting celebrations and tourism.  – SDP




Bastille Day!

14 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today the weather was spotty, cloudy this morning, rainy in the afternoon, and clear in the evening, which was the most important thing.  Most of the day was filled with sightseeing and Bastille Day celebrations, including a French military parade in the morning, and fireworks over the Eiffel Tower this evening.  Thousands of people were out, and returning back to the hotel was difficult due to the festivities, meaning a late night followed by an early morning for our group.  Tomorrow is a 13 hours bus ride to Manchester, though, which should provide plenty of time to catch up on rest.  – SDP




God Save the Queen!

15 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today, after a marathon bus ride through the Chunnel (the most interesting part of the ride), our group arrived in Manchester.  Our accommodations are decent, and the people here speak English, which is a welcome change.  Additional small touches, such as ketchup with fries are also appreciated.  It looks like our last week in class may be a bit easier for us.  – SDP




Last Lecture

16 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was our last day of lecture, with a review of the program and what has been studied to date.  Afterwards, our class split into their groups to get organized on the final paper and project, due Friday.  Work on this will continue for the next few days, along with studying for the final exam on Thursday.  – SDP



Rainy day in Manchester

17 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Another dreary day n Manchester provided a good opportunity for the students to work on our final papers and projects.  Each group seemed to have some sort of progress meeting throughout the day, with more individual work scheduled for tomorrow.  As our class work winds down, everyone it also starting to think about packing and the trip home.  – SDP



Final Days

18 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was another day of group work and writing of papers for most of the BS/MBA group.  Still, with the afternoon giving us the first truly nice day while we have been here in Manchester, several of the students managed to make time for some shopping and sightseeing (what little there is) around the city.  Tonight and tomorrow morning may involve some studying for our final exam in the afternoon, followed by practice presentations and some Team USA basketball.  – SDP



Exam Day

19 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

On our second to last day of the program, much of the day was spent studying for our final exam, which was this afternoon.  Afterwards, some students worked on their presentations, while others enjoyed a bit of time off.  In the evening, Olympic Team USA played Great Britain in basketball in Manchester, which several of the UK students purchased tickets to see.  The rest of the UK contingents watched the game at the MBS pub.  – SDP



Packing Up

20 Jul 2012

by Scott Pabian

Today was the last day of the program, and hence will be my last blog post.  This morning involved presentations of our research project for all the student groups.  Afterwards, everyone began packing.  Most of the students are departing Manchester sometime within the next 24 hours.  This evening the program has a closing dinner and karaoke party, which should certainly be interesting.   – SDP