International Business Seminar – Trip to Charlotte
We the students of the MBA class XIV were looking forward to the International Business Seminar taking place at Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, North Carolina. The seminar, one of two abroad sessions within the THM MBA School, brought us to the third largest banking center and the southern region of the United States. Charlotte is a hub and can be reached easily via direct flight from Frankfurt. We took the opportunity to visit the first home game of the NFL season on Sunday after enjoying some real good BBQ on Saturday evening, since the North Carolina is famous for its smoked meat.
The atmosphere of NFL home game is a combination of families meeting on parking lots to BBQ and play tailgating games, cheerleaders and bands playing music in the streets. We enjoyed walking around downtown Charlotte and absorbed the spirit of the beginning season, the Carolina Panthers supporter were well equipped to support the home team.
The games started with a show: unreel of the US flag and the national anthem plus a fly over of two F-16 fighter jets over the stadium. Although there was no touch-down at all, Panther won 9 to 3, the game was exciting and the show was worth to see.
Meeting in the lobby of the hotel we started for a small city tour by bus. The program coordinator Dana Hanson showed us around and gave us some recommendations for the seminar afterhours before me had our welcome reception at Pfeiffer University.
The International Management Seminar was held by Chris “Doc” Howard and we worked on six case studies during the week in order to improve our skill in decision making and about international business soundings. It turned out that “Doc” lived abroad in Germany for some time and we had a lot of fun discussing differences between the US and Germany. The first day ended with a nice dinner at Bentley’s on the 27 enjoying the view on the skyscrapers and having fine diner together, a really appropriate way feel a bit more like international managers.
During the week we had the chance to listen to two guest speakers about liability of products in the United States. They presented also general facts and figures about the Charlotte area. Funny side note, the name of Charlotte was originally given to honor the German wife of George the V of England and the county is called Mecklenburg County. May be because of this heritage the Charlotte area accommodates a lot of German company subsidiaries like Groninger.
Apart from doing the in-class case study work, we visited different companies in the Charlotte area to learn about their business models and fields. Chatting with the general manager of Groninger about the difficulties of getting American students to take part in an apprenticeship, the economic situation in the States at Wells Fargo Bank trade floor or understanding the business model of UTC Aerospace revealed lots of information about doing business in the US and its economy and society.
After the last hurdle, presenting group-wise the result of a surprise-case study, we celebrated the successful end of the seminar with a farewell dinner at Carmel Country Club. It is a members only high-society Country Club with two golf courses, a huge swimming area and club house in style of old a southern mansions. We got our participation certificates and later we enjoyed a last drink on the balcony of >Fahrenheit< a roof top bar close to the hotel. Charlotte thanks for having us.