Now, at the halfway point of our trip, it is astonishing to think that we have only been in Korea for three days, given the amount we have seen and done, thanks to our classmates who have organized this incredible experience.
Our Korean food adventured deserves its own separate write-up, so for now, we will focus on the tourist highlights and company visits.
Nanta a non-verbal performance and the longest running show in Korea, which is best described as a cooking-themed version of Broadway’s “Stomp”
Gyeongbokgung Palace Tour
Shopping in Dongdaemoon
Korea War Memorial Museum
Our visit to Yonsei University began with a presentation from Dr. Hahn, Columbia Business School PhD (‘81), about the transformation of the Korean political and economic environment during the past 60 years. Learning about the growth the country has undergone during a relatively short timeframe was astonishing. We then had an exchange with Yonsei MBA students and went on a guided campus tour where we got to “experience” the high-tech Samsung Library. We were blown away by the flat screens scattered throughout the first floor that served as large touch-screens allowing students to do everything from using an interactive campus map to reading the news from nearly 100 countries in any language imaginable. The whole group was struck by the beauty and energy of the bustling campus; based on our initial impression of Yonsei, it is easy to see the appeal of attending this prestigious and thriving university.
-Liz Millman, CBS ‘14
We were graciously received by Severance Hospital, the flagship branch of the Yonsei University Health System, Korea’s first modern medical institution founded in 1885 by American medical missionary Dr Horace Allen. The medical faculty gave us a presentation on Yonsei’s work in robotic surgery, which at a cumulative caseload of 8,000 surgeries, is one of the world’s most experienced centers of robotic surgery. Yonsei has made impressive breakthroughs in expanding use of robotic surgery beyond urology and gynecology into general surgery (GS), where it has performed by far the most procedures in the world in part due to the FDA having not yet approved robotic surgery for GS in the USA. We toured Severance, built in 2005 and designed by American architects Ellerbe Becket, which resembled more of an airport terminal than a hospital with ubiquitous kiosks resembling ATMs for patients checking in. Severance is 100% paperless with exclusive use of electronic medical records (EMR) and has over 1,200 beds. Nearly all of us were left wishing we had such an efficient, comfortable, and modern hospital back home in New York.
One of our most highly anticipated company visits, today we spent the day at Lotte Co. LTD, specifically visiting the Lotte Home Shopping Network HQ, the Lotte Confectionary factory, and one of many Lotte hypermarkets. We had the honor of being hosted by Chairman Dong-Bin Shin, Chairman of Lotte and CBS alumnus, class of 1981.
Trip student organizers with Mr. Shin
Mr. Shin joined us for tours of 2 (out of 60+) Lotte business units, which culminated with a presentation on the current state of the conglomerate from the Chairman and Q&A.
Tasting Ice Cream at the Lotte Candy Factory
Our visit made the digital front page of the news, which can be found here.
Photo Credit: Yonhap News
What an amazing opportunity. Thank you to Mr. Shin for generously hosting us this week in Korea and today at Lotte Co.
More posts about our trip to Korea can be found on the Chazen blog
Writing from New York, one week after returning from Tunisia, we have had some time to reflect on our whirlwind experience of meeting some of the country’s top business and political leadership.
Tunisia is a country in transition. It is a country whose constituents were never allowed to have an opinion until January 2011 and who are now asking questions of national and individual identity: What does it mean to be Tunisian? What does it mean to be the spark that ignited the Arab Spring? How do we fit into the broader context of North Africa? Of the Arab world? Of the area south of Southern Europe? What has democracy changed? What changes must we still demand?
The world watches Tunisia, awaiting these answers with proverbial baited breath. These answers will determine how the world “does business in North Africa,” how North Africa interacts with the West, and how this next potential market will emerge.
We had an unparalleled opportunity to visit Tunisia at this moment in time and to bear witness to a country and a region as it forges its future.
Salam and Bonjour from Tunis! We arrived in Tunisia yesterday, with the 22 CBS students flying in from destinations near and far from prior winter break travels. For those of us who arrived earlier in the day, Chazen organized a tour to the visit the ruins of Ancient Carthage, just a few miles north of the modern city of Tunis.
The Empire of Carthage, founded as a Phoenician city-State in 814 BC, was significant both politically and as a trade hub amongst the ancient empires. It is notorious for warring with the Greeks and the Roman Republic, which culminated with the Punic wars, which were led by Hannibal, immortalized by Vergil’s Aeneid, and ultimately ended with the destruction of Carthage.
Carthage, Atlas Mountains, Mediterranean
Remains of Carthage with Latin Inscriptions
CBS at Carthage
Following the tour of Ancient Carthage, we traveled to the summer vacation town of Sidi Bou Said, a 12 miles outside the city, for a welcome dinner. The town is known for uniform white buildings punctuated by azure doors and windows. Tunisia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, currently embroiled in a nationwide scandal, was a fellow diner at the seaside Dar Zarrouk restaurant.
Blue door in Sidi Bou Said
Yesterday marked the 2nd anniversary of the Revolution. The country decided a few weeks ago to officially recognize January 14th as a holiday, and as such, most businesses closed in recognition. In order to avoid the demonstrations in the streets, populated by Tunisians off from work, our group enjoyed the morning meandering through Hammamet, a, popular resort town outside Tunis, whose population quadruples in the summer months. We explored the town’s medina (old city), browsing the souq(marketplace)for Tunisian handicrafts, and stopped for some mint tea, a traditional beverage, ubiquitous throughout the region, at a salon de the (café).
Salon de The
Coastline in Hammamet
Mediterranean in Hammamet
The CBS Group
In the afternoon, we had several meetings focused around Foreign Investment. For a more complete recap: click here.
At the Mediterranean School of Business
This morning, we began the day with a Media Panel. Again, for details, click here.
To sum up the historical (and arguably current) history of the country’s censorship, one of the panelists told us the following famous Tunisian joke: A newspaper decided to interview Americans (developed country), Ethiopians (less developed country) and Tunisians (somewhere in the middle) about their opinions on the shortage of meat. When the journalist asked the Americans about their opinions on the shortage of meat, the Americans responded “shortage…what do you mean ‘shortage’?” When the journalist asked the Ethiopians about their opinions on the shortage of meat, the Ethiopians responded “meat…what do you mean ‘meat’?” And when the journalist asked the Tunisians about their opinions on the shortage of meat, the Tunisians responded “opinions…what do you mean’opinions’?”
Until the next (freedom of press protected) post –
I know, I know. Trips to Guatemala and Cuba have come and gone – and I am pathetically behind on updating photographs and stories.
In the meantime, I’m leaving for Tunis, Tunisia tomorrow as part of a course called “Doing Business in North Africa,” (CBS’s Global Immersion Program) and I’m the official CBS media blogger for the trip! Check out my first blog post here: Tunisia on the Eve of the Revolution’s 2nd Anniversary
I’ll be leaving behind the grey, chilly of the NYC winter for some balmy Mediterranean weather (ok, just in the 60s, but still!), to check out, what Lonely Planet calls, “North Africa’s most relaxed and hospitable [and]… most interesting” country