To conclude our time spent in the beautiful Czech Republic, we made a cultural collage with contributions from each student. Each item represents some aspect of the student’s experience here in Prague – none of which could be purchased. Each student’s interpretation of the collage is posted below in the comments section in the form of a headline.
Filed under Teaching, Travel
Tomorrow will be our fifth day in the Czech Republic. So far we’ve been trying our best to leave behind our “visitor” identities and experience Prague as the Czechs do. In order to help us accomplish this, we’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with some new friends: Tomas, Suzanne and Tomas. All three are students from the University of Economics here in Prague. On Friday evening, Susanne and Tomas took us all to a traditional Czech pub near the University of Economics campus where current students commonly hang out. It was interesting to see how the students at the pub gathered primarily to have meaningful conversations with each other, which is something that is not as common among American college students. Luckily, Susanne and Thomas were able to explain the Czech students’ behavior that we were witnessing firsthand.
On Saturday we embraced the local culture by experiencing a day of Czech activities outside of “the big city” of Prague. With Thomas and Thomas (two of the University of Economics students) as our guides, we set out to have a Czech castle adventure. I don’t think any of us could have anticipated how beautiful the experience would be! We started out by taking a train about 45 minutes outside of Prague. Once we stepped off the train, we started our uphill climb to Karlstejn, stopping at small shops and stands along the way. After taking a tour of the amazing Karlstejn castle, an original castle of Charles IV, we headed back down to the little town to have a traditional Czech meal of pork and dumplings. Thomas and Thomas taught us some important Czech phrases over lunch: “prosím” (please), “děkuji” (thank you), “miluju te” (I love you), and “jedno pivo prosím” (one beer please). It was a great meal and an even better conversation.
After our castle adventure concluded and we arrived back in Prague, Thomas and Thomas took some of the students to the Czech Beer Festival. It was convenient timing for the students who are studying the beer sector. Check out their sector blog to learn more about their experiences at the Festival and their thoughts on the role of beer in Czech culture: Branding Beer Across Cultures.
A beautiful train ride through the Czech countryside, a tour of a real life castle, traditional Czech cuisine, a Czech language lesson, and the Czech Beer Festival: not a bad way to spend a Saturday! Děkuji Tomas and Tomas, for the helpful insights into Czech culture and for a wonderful day that was enjoyed by all.
After a quick train ride from London to Manchester and an hour-long adventure down beautifully winding English countryside roads in a coach bus, the class found itself at (hands down) the coolest B2B agency that I’ve ever seen: IAS. The IAS office is nestled in the hills of the charming village of Bollington, just south of Manchester. The building sits between trees, gardens, walking trails, a park and a canal. It is an inspiring environment that undoubtedly fosters the creativity of the agency.
To kick off the day, the students heard a presentation from three of the IAS creatives, Alistair, Natalie and Chris, who spoke about killing cliché B2B marketing tactics through the use of contextual, positively different, and multidimensional creative approaches. After learning about a few case studies and seeing some examples of the work, the students were put to the test. The proposed challenge was to create a set of concept ads in one hour. Each small group was given a creative brief prepared by IAS, a fact sheet and background information for one of the agency’s REAL clients, and then were set loose to explore the area, get inspired and start producing ideas. How exciting! Each group of students then presented their ideas to the rest of the class and the IAS creatives. IAS then showed the students the actual ad campaign that they came up with for that same client.
The visit to IAS overwhelmingly exceeded everyone’s expectations. I’ve never seen our students – or any group of students for that matter – so blown away and excited about B2B marketing. IAS makes B2B marketing cool. It was definitely worth the journey to Manchester. There is no question why the B2B Marketing Awards named IAS the best marketing agency last year.
Filed under Teaching, Travel
Despite all of the travel delays due to the volcanic ash over the UK, we somehow lucked out and our group flight was able to land safely at Heathrow Airport yesterday. So far the students have experienced a whirlwind of orientation activities and are learning how to become savvy Londoners, thanks to our friends at ACCENT.
This morning we heard a fascinating lecture by Colin Love, Teaching Fellow and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Imperial College Business School here in London. He spoke to us about marketing in the EU and showed some examples of effective UK advertising strategies, which the students compared to what they usually see in the US. This afternoon we will learn how to navigate the Tube and take a tour of Central London, our beautiful new neighborhood and primary research setting for the next ten days.
Tomorrow we will begin our first round of agency visits: more extensive ethnography training at Flamingo International and then a visit to Wieden + Kennedy. And we’re off – look out London, here we come!
Filed under Teaching, Travel
So how does it work out that all the students make it to London, but the teacher does not? Ash clouds.
I took the bus to O’Hare today only to find out — after I arrived — that Heathrow was closed due to more ash clouds. So, I hopped back on the very same bus I came down on, with the same exceptionally nice driver, and headed home. Meanwhile, two hours later, the students on the group flight arrived and waited patiently anticipating the same fate. But alas they fared better then I, and are now someplace over the Atlantic.
United was kind enough as to book me on a 6 a.m. Wednesday flight. Really. Enter Gail Gilbert from our Office of International Education and her sidekick at their travel agency. As of tonight I’m heading out tomorrow and will meet up with my students in London, on Tuesday morning at 9:00. From there, I’ll hit the ground running. In the meantime, my trusty teaching assistant Amanda will keep the show on the road.
Using technology is like dancing with a schizophrenic lover. Sometimes he’s on. Sometimes he’s off. So far my hard drive crashed, my Blackberry presets failed, and my out of office rely didn’t recognize my changes.
I hope my travel dance partners have better balance.
Now, considering I’ve couch surfed with strangers in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Canada; and developed this globe trotting class with the help of many wonderful industry and academic colleagues…I gotta think things are gonna get better.
Off to pack.