Home » Middle East » Middle East- May 16, 2012

Middle East- May 16, 2012

Being able to meet with experts from various industries and hear their perspectives on all aspects of business is a rare opportunity, and it’s no wonder this is the culmination of our EMBA program.  Before we departed for a meeting with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) we enjoyed the best breakfast I’ve had in any hotel.  Besides the vast assortment of fruit, cereals, eggs, and every other traditional breakfast food imaginable, they truly showed their concern for my health and well-being by providing a bowl of dark chocolate discs.  Truly knowing about these health benefits, and feeling the depth of concern the Westin has for me, I am resolved to establish a tradition of dark chocolate at breakfast every day for my health.

PwC’s meetings started with HR practices.  The company has a well-defined path for moving up the corporate ladder from associate/junior levels through director and partner levels.  An employee starting with PwC at twenty-five could make partner, if they are good, in their early thirties.  I imagine that demands a lot of hours, more than the average employee puts in regularly, along with talent and luck, but if achieved it would be very rewarding for that individual.  We also had a question/answer session with one of PwC’s partners, talking about the economy in Spain and his take on why things are as they are and what can be done to recover.  Not being any kind of economist my biggest takeaway was to learn more about economics and how all of the things discussed work together.

Personally gleaning the three ways to recover from out-of-control debt seemed useful, until I realized the rules for countries defaulting and a person defaulting are likely not the same.  Oh well.

After a multi-hour break at the Westin we departed for Proctor and Gamble (P&G) where we were taught about business within P&G.  P&G, as many of you probably know, is responsible for all kinds of products that we use everyday, and with twenty-three billion-dollar brands they are present in billions of households worldwide, whether or not we realize it.  Being as big as they are hearing about their work in Iberia (Spain and Portugal), marketing business behind personal care products, and especially their supply chain efforts was all very rewarding.  Professor Burke Jackson always made operations management seem interesting, and I think the work done in places like P&G must be incredible for his mind to wade through.  The complexity in how they meet customers’ needs is mind-boggling, but they seem to have the right people for the job coming up with ways to be as efficient in their main distribution centers (DCs) while doing what helps their customers the best as well.

We left P&G a little late and so returned to the hotel a little late.A mad dash to change into something more comfortable led to our departure and metro trip a short distance away for what was probably the best evening entertainment we’ve had so far: dinner and flamenco dancing.  The brochures in the business said some of their dancers were among the best out there, and I believe it.  The energy of these dancers was something to behold for sure.  Hours and hours of practice undoubtedly precede a routine’s readiness for performance to have each dancer in time with the others.  Having any of the movements, and especially the sounds, out of sync at all would diminish the experience, but there was none of that tonight.  Classy, in the best and fullest sense of the word.  My ears are still ringing and I have a desire to go and pull down a few gigabytes of related video from Youtube, but that will need to wait until after the trip (the Internet connection here won’t handle that kind of impulsive behavior).

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