After days of meetings with government officials, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, we visited the famous Kremlin and Red Square on the last day of our trip in Moscow. It is necessary to understand the Russian history and the Tsar’s rein in order to get a better idea of the current Russian political and economic situations. The Kremlin is separated into two zones. The tourism zone includes museums, cathedrals and art galleries, while the government zone is the president office (of course, we don’t have access to this zone. It’s heavily armed!)
Our group met up with the women of SEWA. The women started the meeting in prayer. It was a prayer based on Gandhian Philosophy – all religions are inclusive here. Founded and led by women, SEWA is a trade union representing self-employed women in India who are earning a living in the unorganized sector, unable to obtain the stability and welfare benefits typical of the organized sector. To put SEWA’s scope in context - India’s unorganized female labor force comprise of more than 90% of the total female labor force in India.
I’ll admit: traveling internationally with 20+ people – even my amazing peers at SOM – wasn’t exactly how I’d elect to spend my three weeks of Spring Break. Call me surprisingly introverted. However, getting to know a handful of first-year colleagues whom I had not known before was a real highlight.We tend to live a lot of our daily lives at SOM in our cohorts – and while I was lucky enough to have many of my fellow Blue Cohort members (there were 9 of us total) on our IE trip – it was really refreshing to get to know more of my classmates.
Wine is an integral part of Hungarian culture. Hungary has a long history of wine making, and wine is now a major export and revenue source of local residents. We may not speak Hungarian but we definitely recognize some Hungarian words because many words for wine derive from Hungarian. White wine accounts for over 60% of total wine production in Hungary. The most famous Hungarian wines are the dry Bull’s Blood and Aszu. On the first day in Hungary, we visited two wineries, Heimann and Takler, located in the southern Szekszard region, which is about 250 kilometers from Budapest.
If you haven't gotten the chance already, I'd recommend reading the recent blog posts discussing the International Experience. As a second-year student, I can honestly say that this 10-day trip abroad is one of the most formative, memorable and unique parts of the Yale SOM experience. As my classmates have described in their blog posts, the list of leaders that we have access to by traveling under the Yale SOM name is remarkable. However, I'd like to let you in on a little secret ...
Holi is celebrated all over India with the changing of the seasons. One evolving interpretation of Holi is of the celebration of equality. To some people in India, having everyone covered in colorful paint means we are all the same despite clear differences in race, religion, etc. Thanks to the generosity of the Chairman of Skil Infrastructure, Nikhil Gandhi and his wife, our group is treated to beautiful performances of song and dance as well as an amazing array of food. Within these confines, our hostess marks each of our foreheads with red powder.
The weekend was spent in Valparaiso. En-route to Valparaiso, we stopped by Emiliana Vineyard to taste some of their range of organic wines. Next we moved on to Vina del Mar, which is a municipality in the Valparaiso region and best known for its long sandy beaches. The city was a welcome breath of fresh air from Santiago.
Our IE trip was focused on Israel as the “Start-up Nation” – most of our visits highlighted either the financial or the technical drivers of innovation, especially in the clean tech / renewable energy industry. In Tel Aviv, we visited several venture capital and private equity firms. Even though I know relatively little about finance, especially compared to a few of my classmates on the trip, I really enjoyed these visits. They were awesome opportunities to meet and learn from people who have the vision, the courage, and the perseverance to build a business from scratch.
I have truly enjoyed my experience in India. It is intriguing to see a country that can boast over 7% GDP growth each year (for the past decade) and that was able to stay so strong in the financial crisis. Consumer demand is king in India, noting that with 1.2 billion people approximately 1 out of 7 individuals in the world is Indian. While visiting Gujarat we were able to visit a variety of production companies and also the Chief Minister of the state. Today we are in New Delhi (the city/state capitol of India) and visited Parliament as well as the managing director of HDFC Bank.