11th June 2011:
|The group getting ready to board the bus from Cranfield|
A group of 21 students accompanied by the US IBE Lead- Sean Rickard- landed in Washington Dalles a 1.30 pm EST on 11th June 2011. The flight was long and tiring and the weather made the group feel a little more tired. The immigration process was quick. Our first observation about US... they had made an effort to remove the bottleneck... Interesting!
We checked into Holiday Inn Central by 4 pm. Sean took us to a place called J. Paul in Georgetown around 7 pm for dinner... a place with variety of crab dishes where I had roasted vegetables which consisted of 2/3 pieces of broccoli, exactly 4 pieces of red and yellow peppers, some mushrooms and that was just about all!
12th June 2011:
|The White House|
A free day in Washington DC called for a sightseeing trip. After much deliberation on whether to take the bus tour or a walking tour, we decided on the walking tour given that our hotel was just a 15 minutes’ walk from the White House! So, the day started at 10 am. Walked to the White House which took just a little over 20 minutes. Went round the building and moved towards the Washington Monument. This huge tower is a memorial to George Washington, the first President of the United States and I read somewhere that by Law, no building in DC can be made taller than this one. The view around is beautiful with all the prominent landmarks in sight from this place. The walk continued towards Capitol Hill. We stopped the National Museum of American History... saw the beautiful gowns of the most talked about women of the world...the first ladies of America... science in America’s everyday life, Julia Child’s kitchen among other things. The tour continued towards the US Capitol, the magnificent white building that shone even from a distance. However, by the time we reached the Capitol, the sun had won over us and we could walk no more. So, the next stop was Union Station...which though a station did not look like one. It looked more like a shopping mall and had I not read the name of the place outside I would have thought the cab driver dropped us at a wrong place. This is the most beautiful station I have ever seen...there are various levels to it... food at the basement, shopping at level one and two... I don’t know where the trains are though! ;) Well... actually they too are at the basement but the entrance is separate. J Some food at the Union station, followed by buying snacks for the daily muching ended our day trip. Ohh wait..there is something very exciting after this....in order to explore the public transport system, we decided to take a bus back to the hotel. It took us about half an hour to figure out which bus to take and from where would we get it. There were absolutely no indicators on the station about where the bus stops were. Then it so happened that we were waiting for about 15 minutes in the wrong direction (confusion caused due to the Americans driving on wrong side of the road ;) haha). Having corrected this, it was another 5 minutes before the bus that we had decided on finally came and we told the bus driver where we wanted to go. She said the bus would not go there. We still remained on board the bus, opened our map and as the bus kept turning, we kept tracking our way....and when we thought we were near to the hotel, we disembarked. It was interesting coz we did not really know where we were going! We were just enjoying our ride it seems!
The day was tiresome yet lot of fun. We spotted a lot of differences between UK and USA. Most of them cultural but many business differences as well. The glaring difference was how pedestrian friendly UK is compared to the US. All roads and ways are so clearly marked in UK that you would never need to ask anyone for directions while in US there are almost no markings about directions! Lot of other differences which will form a part of my report!
13th June 2011:
A day spent at George Washington University: The group reached the University a little early and we had a photo session before starting the day. Had 3 back-to-back lectures. The first one about the various crisis in the world...the two major ones discussed were:
- The 2007 US financial crisis that caused the global crisis. Its causes and impacts. What is next?
- The Eurozone crisis.
- The difference between them and whether they are curable?
It gave me a glimpse of how different countries think about these crises. A very thought provoking class. There was also a mention about whether China was capable of becoming the world’s super power. This session gave me a lot of food for thought and quite of bit of a material for my report as well!!
The second lecture was about Corporate Responsibility and stimulated some discussions in the class. We questioned each others’ definitions of CR and whether it was a cause or a result. The professor acted like a moderator for the class giving the students the liberty to discuss what was on their mind, which was quite like some professors at Cranfield do.
The last lecture was about mortgages in US. More about what makes people want to buy mortgages and why all sub-standard mortgage borrowers do not default. A bit more on the psychology behind these things.
After resting for about an hour we a group of 9 of us left for Chinatown in a expectation to taste some good Chinese food. But, I would rather not mention the pathetic food there. L All in all a good day though.
14th June 2011:
The day started at World Bank office. A talk on what the World Bank does...its history and its aims. We got some insight on how the World Bank functions. Next was IFC’s talk on opportunities within IFC for Finance professionals followed by an alum talking of his experience after his Cranfield MBA. We had a delicious lunch at World Bank Cafe. Indian food in US... which tasted exactly like Indian food should... that’s the specificity of the World Bank! After the great lunch and photo session, we went to the IMF head quarters for our next session. Most of us dozed through that session after the awesome lunch. But the discussion towards the end of the session about IMF and what it has been doing about the recent crisis et al became interesting and woke everyone up.