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May 28, 2009

Learning More & More

Over the past few days I have grown to enjoy Poland more and more. History is so important here and finding new little shops or polish places to eat has been fun. I have also been able to meet polish students who will be helping us on our Cargill project. The two polish students we have really made friends with have been Ula and Marta. Even with their busy schedules, they have made time to take us out, show us new parts of the city and just help us understand how the polish really live. A few nights ago they showed us the city by the river. From the river you can see both sides of the city and enjoy its beautiful night skyline.
In these past two days we have also learned more about our project and have a greater understanding of Cargill’s situation here in central and eastern Europe. Our first meeting was with the Cargill GM for Poland and the Polish team lead Martien. They truly have a deep understanding of what the market is like here in CEE. I am learning a lot about consulting projects and how they are continually fluid and can change scope when new information is presented. I am continually hit with new ways to look at a situation and problem, whether that is from a operations perspective, supply chain, or by understanding to customer better. Cargill’s great cooperation with us has illuminated how detailed our project is and its truly global reach.
Yesterday’s tour of Cargill’s Pet Food facility was very interesting and very informative when it came to operational questions and the town of Krypicie is very charming. We still have a lot of work to do but the next few days will be interesting and give me a real world view of consulting and working for Cargill.

May 27, 2009

First Day In Poland

Today was our arrival to Warsaw Poland. It started rising early Saturday morning and taking the short flight over to Chicago. Everything went smoothly and since we had extra time, a group of us was able to have lunch at Gerodano’s. This is Chicago’s finest for deep dish pizza and boy was it good. I had two huge pieces and could have had more. That killed most of the time we had to wait until check-in and so we headed back to the airport. A couple hours later we were on the plane and ready for our CEE adventure to begin. I spent the 8 hour flight just reading, sleeping, or making funny faces at the little boy sitting in front of me.

Once we landed I as happy to find that for the first time in my 4 international trips, the airline company had not lost my bag! This was a good start to the trip. We were meet by Gosha (a student) and a professor Bogdan from the Warsaw school of economics. We took a bus to our Hostel and were then told we had the rest of the day to explore. The group of Jesse, Olena, Justin, Mike, and Nate all went out to lunch and then following up with some exploration of the city center. We rode the oldest underground subway in Europe to the Centerum. The city is not huge and did not overly impress me. We only walked the very commercial area, and those areas for me are not very interesting because they are just like back home. That is until we went into the old town. It was everything ou see in european medeval pictures. I love it.
Prices are reasonable here but I have yet to exchange money so I am nervous carrying so much cash around. After exploring we returned to the hostel and I went for a run. I explored more of the city and casually jogged through some parks. I was happy to see more classic architecture and real character in the neighborhoods I jogged through. I finally showered up and then meet up with a larger group and had dinner.
Tomorrow we will be getting the official guided tour and meet our polish counterparts for the project. I hope I get to see more of this beautiful city.