Diary of a great cultural experience
In cooperation with its partner institute, the EAE Business School, the Rome Business School organized an educational trip to Barcelona for its students.
Five days of company visits and lectures aimed at increasing the students’ international perspective and knowledge. The following is a day-by-day diary of this great cultural experience.
DAY 1 –March 3rd 2014 We landed in Barcelona at 11.30 a.m., we took a taxi to the hotel, the location of which – just two minutes’ walk from the school, the Plaza d’España and the Plaza de Toros – was perfect. We had lunch and then we went to the EAE Business School for our first lecture. The EAE is a higher learning institute for management in an international context, with students from over 45 countries training for management functions within the world of businesses and institutions. Currently, the EAE Business School is one of the most reputable business schools in Spain, and one of the best in Europe. We followed a lecture given by Paola Cocos, who talked about “Doing business in Spain” and introduced us to Spain’s recent history, from the 1936 civil war to the 2007 crisis. We considered this country’s present through its strengths and weaknesses, i.e. tourism, energy, banking and the economic situation. After class, we went out together for a walk. Destination: the port. We had great fun walking along the quayside; the port’s atmosphere was amazing and we enjoyed it while drinking coffee on a terrace with a magical view. Then we took a walk along the Rambla (the street which connects the Plaza Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus monument at Port Vell); it is very popular with tourists, featuring many shops, cafes, hotels and restaurants. We had dinner there in a very nice restaurant and then went back to our hotel to sleep.
DAY 2 –March 4th 2014 After breakfast we went on our first visit: the Fira de Barcelona. It is Barcelona’s trade show institution and one of the most important in Europe. Every year, it organises numerous trade shows and congresses, which bring together leading companies from different economic sectors to showcase their new products, exchange experiences and promote business. We were welcomed by the marketing director, who took us to a wonderful office overlooking the Plaza d’España. She explained how the fair works; it was interesting to learn what lies behind events like these: the liaisons with the companies, the advertising and communication, the competitors, the means and channels used to attract new customers. (The main shows held in the Fira de Barcelona are: the Mobile World Congress, Alimentaria, Hispack + Bta Food Technologies, Business Travel, Carbon Expo, the International Motor Show, Seafood Barcelona.) Then we took a walk through the pavilions, the theatre, the meeting areas and finally we went up to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, from which you can enjoy an amazing view of the whole city. Then we had some free time to spend in the city’s best known and most distinctive shopping centre, situated inside the Plaza de Toros. After lunch, at three o’clock we attended an amazing lecture about International Business given by Prof. Marsal Gifra. We analysed the major trends affecting the global scale environment, we saw how and why globalization, oil and the Internet have changed the world and the impact they have had on the most powerful countries in the world. The core topic of the lecture, anyhow, was the analysis of trends: so we saw how to set International business goals and objectives based upon trends and, most of all, how to forecast them by means of a useful and very interesting model used to assess which country is more suitable to do business in and create opportunities for the future. After school we had dinner in a very nice restaurant; we ate typical Spanish meat dishes and we had a great time together!
DAY 3 –March 5th 2014 Breakfast at 8 o’clock and then ready for our next visit: El Centro de Alto Rendimiento. This centre is an organisation which provides support to athletes to enable them to be competitive at the international level, (especially at the Olympics) through the best technical and scientific resources. We met the person in charge, who explained to us the CAR’s objectives: to provide athletes with all they need for a complete training plan so that they can share their knowledge and their activities. In fact, the CAR considers an individual’s personal development and growth just as important as physical training. Basically, the centre trains talented athletes or teenagers with the goal of getting them to take part in the Olympics in a few years. Many teams in all sports use the CAR for their training (football, handball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, diving, gymnastics, athletics, taekwondo, boxing, etc…). We then had the privilege of visiting the centre’s facilities for each discipline, with their cutting edge technology. It was very interesting to get a feel for the quality of the facilities and for the overall elegance of the centre; just realising that many top level athletes were there enhanced the centre’s allure. Finally, we met the marketing director and his medical counterpart, who explained to us the centre’s communication strategy and the shared mentality of its workers. After lunch, we went back to the school for another amazing lecture given by Josè Luis Marin, EAE’s general director. He set up a very interesting business game to make us understand the difficulties involved in negotiating in order to maximize profits; we had fun playing, besides realising how effective and instructive it was. During the second part of the lecture, we focused upon International Business, analysing situations from all over the world, import/export and trading strategies. Once the lectures were over, we took a walk along the Gran Via from Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona’s fashion and shopping heart. We saw Gaudì’s house and then we had dinner together in a very good restaurant where we ate typical dishes such as tapas, bread with tomato and tortillas. After the best meal of the trip we went back to our hotel.
DAY 4 – March 6th 2014 The destination of the fourth day’s visit was amazing: the Estrella Factory. Estrella Damm is a pilsner beer brewed in Barcelona since 1876, and is the oldest beer in Spain. We were welcomed to the factory’s conference room with a video about the brewery’s history, and then we started our tour through all the phases of the beer-making process with the head of communication. We covered a lot of topics and we asked questions ranging from the scientific and technical process to the marketing strategy, event organisation, branding, targeting, positioning, sponsorship strategy, advertising campaigns and the company philosophy. At the end of the visit, we were invited to a beautiful room on the top floor where we enjoyed some bottles of beer together, taking pictures and having a lot of fun. They even gave us two bottles of beer each to take away! After this wonderful visit, we went to the school to listen to another lecture given by prof. Marsal Gifra. This lecture was even more interesting than the previous one: we analysed some data together in order to get a picture of the overall situation of some countries by looking at indicators and factors like demography, economy, environment, politics, society, infrastructure, lifestyle, etc. The second part of the lecture focused upon innovation and on how it can be the driver of change. We studied some examples from the past to forecast the future, how to anticipate trends to support business, the impact of technology and hyperconnection (did you know that, while you are reading this, about 4 million people are flying above you in over 50.000 aircraft and 100.000 ships are at sea? Or that there are more than 1 billion cars in the world? Or that over 15.000 satellites are circling our planet?). We then had a look at the meaning of going global, at the importance of the competition and at some marketing tools; finally, we were introduced to some amazing technologies that are going to change our lives over the next 10-15 years. All of us felt that this lecture had broadened our minds, we understood the importance of taking the wide view and increasing our knowledge of the world to be in control of our businesses. In the evening, we had dinner in a nice restaurant located in an elegant area of Barcelona. We then went back to our hotel after a good Cervesa!
DAY 5 –March 7th 2014 Unfortunately, our last day in Barcelona was here, but it turned out to be just as interesting as the others. Early in the morning, we took a train to the RSD Español Stadium, an amazing structure built in 2009 that is not only the venue for Español’s matches but also for events, concerts, congresses and has a capacity of over 40.000 seats. The stadium is known as the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat because it straddles the border between the municipalities of Cornellà and El Prat. It has all the most modern facilities and we enjoyed this tour very much. We visited the press room, where we saw an interesting video about the history of the club, from its foundation to its last season. Then, we visited the dressing rooms, among the most modern in Europe and the VIP areas. The most enjoyable part of the visit was a walk on the grass of the pitch, where we took some funny pictures. Finally, there was a particularly moving moment when we saw the area of the stadium entirely dedicated to Daniel Jarque, the captain of the team who died of a heart attack in 2009, at the age of 26. After this fantastic tour, we took a taxi to the airport, feeling truly gratified for the unforgettable personal and professional experience that we’d had together… it will stay in our memories forever.