Saturday, June 28, 2014

A fun Friday in Prague!

Friday marked the last of our business visits in Prague. We began the morning by heading to HP. HP is located in a very modern building which resembles what we typically see in a US city. The company occupies 6 different floors in the building. Housed nearby are Microsoft, Vodafone, etc. 

We were welcomed by Marta from Talent Acquisition. Marta spoke excellent English and didn't miss a beat in the presentation. We later asked her about her English and she told us that her older sister teaches English and Marta began speaking English at 6 years old. Marta geared the presentation towards HP's recruiting process and offerings for new graduates. I think the students really enjoyed this! She asked the students some tough questions and went on to say that she is a recruiter and interviews often so she asks a lot of questions and tough ones, too. This kept the presentation lively and the students engaged. HP has offices in 170 countries, 324,000 total employees, and ended the 2013FY with $120 billion in total revenue.  Within the CZ, HP employs 1,300 employees and she mentioned they are always hiring and looking for positions in this area.

A few key takeaways from this presentation included:

  • HP is beginning reverse mentoring where new employees mentor senior managers/leaders to provide insight into generational differences in communication, style, etc. She gave one great example of how enlightening it was for senior leaders to realize how creative the younger generation is and how differently they do things.
  • At HP corporate culture is very important. She went on to say that culture in the CZ is different than in the US, but bottom line is that employees like one another, help one another out, and trust one another, and are on a first name basis.
  • HP CZ has its own development program which she feels will be implemented throughout HP. The program is done one time per year and is for those who have worked for HP for 6 months to 16 months. The program focuses on networking, work on interesting projects, the opportunity to gather experience in other areas of the company, and opens door to new opportunities in HP. 
  • Each employee is given 4 hours for charity/volunteer work each month. Marta mentioned many departments save these hours so they can go 1-2 straight days and give back to the community which is used as a team building activity, too.
Following some great Q/A, Marta took us to the roof of the building where we took a group picture with her. 

Following a quick lunch break, we headed to Prague College. The visit was different than what we expected, but it ended up being a meaningful and a good learning experience. Prague College awards Bachelor's and Master's degrees through a partnership program in the UK. This is important since the UK degree is valued more than a degree from the CZ. As with most programs in Europe, a bachelor's degree is earned in 3 years. The school is housed in one building but does provide living similar to residence halls/apartments in another area of Prague. The business school is the largest of the programs and accounts for just under 300 of the 600 students. The students are from 94 different countries and enrollment continues to grow. At the end of the presentation, we heard from Tony Achmat who works with Prague College. Tony is from Australia originally, but now works in the CZ doing communication training, business coaching, etc. He spoke of his work with many different multinational companies in the region and the importance of communication f2f (face to face) and experience working in a multinational environment. While short, it was an excellent message for our students! Three faculty members from the college also split our students into groups and held some discussion. Overall, a good afternoon visit!

We ended the day with a walk around the second district which is known as a quieter area of Prague. It's beautiful though and much slower pace due to the lack of tourists in this area. We found a nice little restaurant and sat outside to enjoy Friday evening.

Tomorrow is a free day and the students have a number of different things planned. For me, I plan to go see some of the sights we've yet to see and also do a little shopping for souvenirs, etc. It should be a great day!


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