Year one is complete, save for one last (rather large) formality… the Global Leadership Program.
Finals are over!!! We survived year one of the Cox MA/MBA program, and not a moment too soon. Those last few weeks were tough. The good people of the Dallas Opera gave me a lovely farewell this week, as I finished up my internship with the delivery of a 50 page analytical report. I’ll miss working alongside them, they are a great bunch of people and it’s a great organisation.
In any case, Friday night was the end of year party, a black tie affair at a swanky Dallas hotel. There was much celebration and farewells for the graduating group of second years – we’ll miss them. Needless to say that Saturday started a little slow for all of us. But the year’s over, so it’s alright to sleep in.
Well, actually, first year isn’t over, since we still have the Cox Global Leadership Program to take care of. It’s one of the most important aspects of the Cox MBA, a full course of research and study that culminates in a two week visit to another part of the world to meet with companies and see how other cultures do business. It’s also a big bonding experience for the MBA group, who spend two weeks on the road together working and socialising.
There are four different destinations for the class this year. My group is going to Latin America, with a week in São Paulo and a week in Santiago de Chile. Whilst we’re there we’ll be visiting businesses from a diverse range of industries, from insurance and banking through to agriculture and mining. We’ve all done our homework on each company, and are ready to hear directly about how they achieve success in a different cultural and economic environment.
We’re also planning on a fair bit of socialising during the time there. We get a couple of days off during the trip to go and see the sights, and we plan to take full advantage of it. Sadly, we’re arriving a little too early for the World Cup in Brazil, and a little too late to go hiking in Chile (I had my sights set on climbing up to Cristo Redentor de los Andes, but the snow has set in). Nonetheless we’re hoping to get to a football game, and to climb some of the smaller hills around Santiago.
The good people at the business school have provided us with an extensive packing list – which I’m largely going to ignore. I’ve travelled on business more times than I care to remember, and I can assure you that 3 suits and 6 dress shirts for what amounts to five days of business meetings is on the excessive side. It’s better from my experience to travel light, taking a minimalist approach to packing; in the worst case scenario you can always buy replacement gear on the ground.
It’s a shameless product endorsement, but my (sadly no longer made) Antler Size Zero bag helps immensely – it’s a suit carrier that looks like a sports bag (the suit and shirts roll up around an inner bag that holds everything else) and it can be taken as carry-on luggage. It’s also durable, having survived the brutality of both Charles de Gaulle’s baggage claim (imagine a group of well dressed but jetlagged and caffeine deprived people rioting and you get the idea), and of an SMU Cox Rugby tour (our field camp at the MBA World Cup was muddy and makeshift). It’s been a good investment.
The other endorsement I'll add is for noise-cancelling headphones (I personally use Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 cans, but it's worth testing different brands to find one that fits and sounds good to you). They're not cheap, but once you've experienced long haul flight with a pair, you'll wonder how you ever did without. It turns the roar of the engine and the rush of the wind into nothing louder than a quiet grove.
Enough with the endorsements and back to the trip. I’ve been assigned the role of blogger for the group, so there will be a few entries over the next two weeks as I update from on the road. They’ll be short and packed, but hopefully a good insight into the experience of the Cox Global Leadership Program. I’ll also post links to the other groups’ blogs as they go up – we’ve got groups going to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Bratislava and London, and they’re bound to have a great time.
Observations on music, coffee, and the occasional controversial thought.
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