The execMBA class of 2017 will spend nine days on an international residency in Prague, Czech Republic, and Munich, Germany. Two execs have volunteered to chronicle their trip as they take a deep dive into global business and contextual intelligence.
Here’s what’s on blogger Christine Mathews’ mind right before hopping on a plane to Europe:
Preparing for Europe
It’s busy, busy getting ready to leave for a trip like the one we are about to embark on. Home, work, pre-reading. So many things to do before leaving so that we’re fully immersed once we’re “across the pond”! I think mental preparation is especially key to really take in a trip like this one. I’m thinking about what I want to watch for, where I’ll go, and how I’ll communicate and get around the different cities. It’s all part of the experience, and I hope that the more I prepare before I go, the more I’ll be able to take it all in while I’m there!
Issues in Global Business
Fortunately, I have been able to do some international travel for work over the last few years. I’ve worked for AT&T since I graduated from Mizzou with my BSBA in Finance and Real Estate in 2010. I’ve held multiple operational roles and was promoted to Director of Training in 2014. I specialize in training call center agents to optimize efficiency, customer experience and overall cost. Ironically enough, I was in Slovakia and Czech Republic just a few months ago visiting some new call centers and talking with the local teams. Last year, I took a similar trip to the Philippines where we have many vendor call center sites. As a result, I was able to get exposure to the cultures in both places and better understand how work gets done around the world.
I was impressed to see the discipline, rigor and intelligence. However, some of the technological explanations were difficult for our team in EU to grasp. What I didn’t realize was how differently the technology works from a consumer perspective. In Europe, the infrastructure provides similar end results to customers as in the US. However, the way in which technologies work and are obtained can be very different. It’s difficult to grow up there and then try to explain to an American customer how they can troubleshoot their own service. I’m excited to see across different industries how people interact and what helps/hurts them when it comes to getting work done in this region of the world.
Excitement and Concerns
Anticipation and excitement, of course, are both on the radar; however, it will be a challenge (as so many of us know) to balance work/life/school while away. The great part about being connected all the time is that you can stay engaged and solve issues on the fly… it can also be the worst part sometimes as trips like this don’t come along every day, and taking advantage of the nuggets of learning that will be right in front of us is a priority.
Once we get over there, I’ll be checking back in to keep y’all posted on the companies and sights we see – very anxious and excited to share more! So long from Texas, see you in Prague! 🙂
Christine Mathews built her career with AT&T, rotating through various roles in the leadership development program. She spent time in marketing analytics, customer care ordering, and retail sales management. Later she moved up through positions in the Digital Life Operations department including Project Manager, Chief of Staff, and Field Ops Market Manager. In 2014, she took the opportunity to serve as Director of Training for AT&T University Operations Training.
Featured photo credit: Kathryn Lucchesi