Scott Yeung (TMMBA Class of 2017) traveled to Germany and Estonia last March on the Technology Management MBA (TMMBA) International Study Tour. Below are his takeaways, favorite memories, and thoughts on how the International Study Tour boosted his MBA experience.
A couple key takeaways about culture and doing business in Germany and/or Estonia
For me, the biggest takeaway about how each country does business is the influence of history on that country. From a historical perspective, Germany and Estonia are two very contrasting countries. Where Germany has traditionally been a global powerhouse and continues to lead the EU economically; Estonia has found itself overrun and occupied by its larger, more powerful neighbors for the better part of its existence. As such, you see two very different approaches by their respective governments to accelerate their economies. Germany has many resources, so you see a move towards higher education, higher risk taking in terms of entrepreneurship, and a society that wants to drive growth and is confident in its economic future. Estonia, on the other hand, is so small you find a country that struggles to attract talent and a society that constantly lives under the mindset that they will be taken over again at any point. This was a great example of where the economic theory of “confidence” had real world implications in these two very different countries.
What was your favorite memory of the tour?
There are so many to draw upon. I would say my favorite part was the many chances we had as a class to bond and connect throughout the trip. Every night there were groups hitting the town to explore museums, the symphony, restaurants, and bars. Getting an opportunity to spend time together outside of the classroom and free from the cloud of a group project or homework assignment was a ton of fun. Being together in a more social setting, to me, was the best part about the International Study Tour (IST) and I definitely came back with a closer group of friends as a result.
How did the IST enhance your global perspective?
As someone who has not had the opportunity to travel, it was very amazing to see the differences in culture across the globe. From the food, to the architecture, to history and social norms, I found myself both uncomfortable and excited at the same time. Overall, it a neat experience which gave me a greater view of other cultures outside of my own cocoon.
Which TMMBA courses came to mind during the IST? What connections did you make to what you learned in the program?
Macroeconomics was certainly one of the classes that I continued to draw upon as I went through the IST. Seeing the influence politics, rules and regulations, and different governing bodies have on business reminded me of all of the lessons learned in Macro. Another course that was very applicable was our Entrepreneurship class with Professor Ben Hallen. We had the opportunity to visit and consult real companies within two start-up incubators (one in Berlin, and one in Estonia) and getting a chance to flex our lessons learned was super fun!
Do you have recommendations for the next TMMBA students who are considering the International Study Tour?
I would highly recommend the IST for anyone considering it! It was eye opening to discover where other countries sit in the spectrum of the business world and gave great perspective into how the US fits into that puzzle. The whole TMMBA program does a great job of balancing work and play and going on the study tour is a great chance to explore new cultures. Most importantly,there is no doubt you will come back from the IST with a greater bond and appreciation for your classmates. Hands down, one of the highlights of an already great TMMBA experience!