Friday, June 27, 2014

Two business visits and an outing to watch the USA vs. Germany World Cup game (Thursday, June 26)

Happy Thursday from Prague! We are nearing the end of our trip and I must say its flown by! This morning the students were able to sleep in a little bit. I’m sure they enjoyed the extra hour or so of sleep!

Our first presentation began at 10:00 a.m. and the presenter was Vladimir Kosek from Johnson & Johnson. He came to the meeting room at the hotel so we didn’t have to travel for this visit.  That was a nice change of pace! Mr. Kosek has been with Johnson & Johnson for the last 13 years in a variety of roles. During his presentation he discussed the healthcare industry in the Czech Republic and how it has changed over the years. In his current position, he works with medical devices and in the area of compliance. One interesting item he mentioned was that the Minister of Health changes every 15 months or so. If you are wondering why, it is because there are 7 political parties in the CZ and the doctors more or less drive who serves as the Minister of Health. In a 15-month time span, doctors will usually threaten to leave the country and move elsewhere if they aren't granted more money, better working conditions, etc. from the Minister of Health. After 15 months to 2 years, they want someone else in the position and the cycle continues from there. 

Doctors in the CZ make double the annual salary of the average employee. This comes out to about $2000-$2400 USD each month. I think this figure surprised the students! J&J has a famous credo written in the 1940's and altered slightly in the 1980's. Kosek talked about how the employees live this credo in their professional and personal life. This was an interesting section for me since we talk about this credo in my Organizational Behavior and Theory supplemental book. 

After we concluded the morning presentation, we broke for a few hours of free time. I went with five students down to the gardens that were closed on our first day in Prague. A few of them really wanted to have lunch at the John Lennon Pub so we grabbed a quick bite of lunch there before heading back to the hotel. 

Once we got back, we took about a 15 minute walk to Cisco System. Once at Cisco, we heard from a network and system engineer and the general manager of Cisco CZ. As we sat down, the Cisco employees offered us delicious pastries and water. These were the best pastries I've had in Europe! It was a great afternoon snack. At Cisco, Pavel Krizanovsky talked to us about the future of network development and how Cisco was preparing for the future. Once the General Manager took over, he talked a little more about the company, its history in the CZ, and took questions from the students. We finished our afternoon with a tour of the Cisco lab and a showcase of the Cisco virtual teleconference products. 

Group picture at Cisco with the Managing Director (his nickname was G9)
We changed quick and headed to the CZ's version of a sports bar or bar and grill. While it may seem like it's an easy task to find one of these in the CZ, it really isn't. Why you might seems like everyone here in Prague smokes. Restaurants really aren't really split with a smoking and non-smoking area. Instead....all of it is smoking! After searching for 6 hours, I found a place that served food, had TV's, and even had one floor non-smoking. The students will tell you they were most excited because every table had a beer tap in the center for CZ's famous pilsner beer. We dressed in our USA colors and enjoyed watching the USA play Germany. Despite the loss, we are proud that the USA is moving on to the next round!

cheering on the USA in the World Cup game vs. Germany
Teri and I in our USA scarves we bought for $5 at the subway station in Prague
After watching the game, a few of us headed back to the hotel and I was able to get to bed fairly early! The rest of the group headed out to explore Prague's nightlife.  Friday marks the last of our business visits. We will head to HP in the morning and then to visit Prague College in the afternoon before having a relatively free weekend to end the trip. 

Another good day has come to an end. It's been a great trip and learning experience!


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