One year ago: Fighting homesickness in the Czech Republic


One year ago today my MBA team from Bryan College was hoping to fly home to the U.S. from the Czech Republic, where we were participating in international internships. But we were stranded by a volcanic eruption in Iceland that shut down air travel in Europe. We actually didn’t leave until the 21st. Follow the link below to read about the forced extension to our trip:

Fighting homesickness in the Czech Republic.

Beer battle at World Cup raises ethical questions


Last week’s World Cup event made the news for more than mere soccer. Dutch brewing company Bavaria received a great deal of press for pulling off a technique called ambush marketing.

Thirty-six young women wearing orange mini dresses associated with Bavaria were arrested by police during a World Cup game. Another beer company had the exclusive sponsorship rights. (Read about the incident here).

Ambush marketing is a marketing campaign that is staged during an event, such as a sports game, but does not involve the payment of a sponsorship or licensing fee.

The incident raises a number of questions. There are two basic considerations – the ethical and the legal.

The legal argument would amount to the fact the “ambushing” company didn’t pay a sponsorship or other fee to associate its brand with the event. Any association with the ambusher’s logo or name with the event’s name or logo could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Ethically, it would be wrong for the “ambusher” to use the event’s name or logo. But is it wrong for the “ambusher” to take this action?

Law and ethics do not always match up. Not everything that’s legal is moral. And vice versa.

The ambusher is doing an end-run around a legal agreement between the event’s sponsors and another company. But is it right for the company with the biggest checking account to be the only company in an industry to be associated with a particular event? Is that company’s director serving the shareholders faithfully? Or is ego a driver behind buying the exclusive sponsorship rights to an event? An argument in favor of exclusive sponsorships is that South Africa is a democracy and two legal entities have the right to enter into contractual agreements.

The South African police arrested the women who wore Bavaria’s colors. Here’s a great question: Does the police have a right to arrest people involved in a business contract dispute? These women should have been escorted out of the game, but arresting them went too far. Can you imagine the can of worms that would be opened as a result from police getting involved in every business dispute? Civil courts are much better designed to iron out the legalities of business contracts and freedom of speech.

Even if Bavaria had the right to conduct its unorthodox marketing campaign, the company may feel the legal repercussions long after the World Cup has ended. Undoubtedly we’ll see more such tactics at large sporting events because of the money involved and the desire of companies to find new ways to reach consumers.

Fighting homesickness in the Czech Republic


These are some of the students I led in a group discussion on the newspaper industry at Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci.

These are some of the students I led in a group discussion on the newspaper industry at Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci.

The Bryan College MBA team is waiting for our Thursday flight out of Prague, pending no further problems from the volcano in Iceland. We’re hoping the EU opens airspace before that and starts to clear out the backlog of stranded fliers.  Our travel arrangements could change at any time, so stay posted to this blog for updates.

WRCB and WDEF profiled our team on the news Sunday.

Many in the group are worried about their jobs since our 10-day trip has now extended to 11+ days. And we all want so desperately to return home to family and friends. Prague is a beautiful city, but it’s not home. I headed out early to exchange some currency, explore the city and work on the computer – basically, just to get out of the hotel for a while to slow down the process of going stir crazy. We are blessed, though, to be staying at a nice hotel at a reasonable rate.

One of our students has a friend from Denmark who will be here in Prague today. I’m glad that they will be able to visit, since the volcano disrupted our student’s plans to visit Denmark on a side trip last week.

Despite the travel complications, this pilot program has worked out well. I don’t know what shape future Bryan College international internships will take, but this one has been worth the investment in time, money and effort.

I especially enjoyed interacting with students at Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci (Palacky’ University in Olomouc). I’ve posted a couple of photos of my students from that experience. I should have posted these photos sooner, but I’ve had Internet connectivity problems throughout this trip. I plan to post more photos soon.

A day of teaching classes in Olomouc, Czech Republic


Our group helped teach two university classes today at Univerzita Palackého in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Dr. Adina Scruggs has been teaching at the university all week and has introduced the students to the SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). SWOT is used to analyze business strengths and weaknesses.

My group, including Josh Rule, Benton Jones and Julian Bennett, led groups of four to five students in analyzing businesses using SWOT. Czech universities normally only lecture to students and do not engage them in interactive learning, so Adina has been working to overcome that cultural barrier, which the students seemed to appreciate. They loved learning about American culture, from discussing music to how our university and colleges operate. Then, some of the students led us on a tour of their town, which dates to the 10th century.

Now, we’re back in Brno preparing to leave to Prague in a few hours–another early morning and lots of commuting.

International business presentation


Today several of our team members, including myself, delivered a presentation on international business relations to SAP’s Brno office.

The company was very gracious in allowing our team to visit. I hope they gained at least as much as we did. Discussion topics included business and general culture in the United States and how that compares to the Czech Republic, as well as teleconferences involving workers from multiple cultures.

Yesterday, Josh, Julian and I worked with a non-profit, Majak, to help them find a way to become a sustainable operation operated by local residents versus depending on support from America. Majak (the “j” sounds like a “y”) is operated by missionaries from America and runs a community center for sports, special events, conferences and provides flexible housing options. We provided observations and plan to follow up with the organization soon.

Tomorrow, the three of us will tour a Renault auto dealership and learn about the company’s Central Europe operations.

Day 1 in the Czech Republic — Getting there is half the battle


It’s 10 p.m. Friday, local time, in Brno, Czech Republic. My MBA group is finally settling into the hotel after having dinner with our local connection, a missionary named Rick. I couldn’t get free Wi-Fi access until now, but did record a couple of moments in time during the long trip here for my first blog. Here are the moments, which are recorded as they happened in Eastern time:

5:24 a.m. Friday Eastern: Relaxing finally at the airport in Frankfurt. It’s been an adventure. A plane from India was at our gate so we had to wait for buses to pick us up outside – crammed onto the bus like sardines. Rushing through security and finding the gate at the end of the terminal. Paid the equivalent of 7 bucks for an authentic German sausage on a roll….my credit card wouldn’t run through, and the clerk didn’t seem to know how to handle a 20. So, we’re waiting to board the plane to the Czech Republic.

8:14 a.m. Eastern, Friday: Have been trying to bring up wireless Internet at the Prague airport to no avail. I can’t figure out how to use the pay phones to use my international calling card. I did use a friend’s cell to text a message to my girlfriend. I may rent/buy a European cell phone to supplement my magicJack. We’re waiting inside an airport cafe on a bus to take us to Brno.

******

Getting here was a crazy day. Only one person in the group (which has six people) got a decent night’s sleep on the flight across the Atlantic, in part because the temperature was so warm in the plane. Also, we were packed in like sardines, which is standard for any public transit here in Europe. Other than our having to ride a bus from the plane to the terminal in Frankfurt, Lufthansa provided excellent service.

–Jason Reynolds,

Brno, Czech Republic

(Editor’s note: I also posted this blog for my employer, The Daily Post-Athenian, at http://www.dailypostathenian.com/facebook.)

About to head to the Czech Republic


I’ll be heading to the Czech Republic on Thursday! This is an internship and cultural exchange with Bryan College’s MBA program. We don’t know all the details yet, but that’s part of the excitement. One student (to be determined) will work at a Renault dealership. Check this blog for further updates.

My group will leave Atlanta at 6:15 p.m. Eastern on Lufthansa and land the next morning in Frankfurt, Germany to switch planes. We arrive in Prague around 1 p.m. Eastern. The group comprises: Dr. Adina Scruggs, director of graduate programs; Janet Brock, admissions coordinator for Bryan’s Aspire program and our trip’s invaluable coordinator; my good friend and former classmate, Benton Jones; and MBA students Josh Rule and Julian Bennett.

Here are several links pertaining to the trip:

I will have my laptop and cameras, so check this blog on a regular basis starting Friday for photos and video. Please pray for us to have a safe trip and that God will use us to do His will and glorify His name.

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