Being a resident in Rotterdam I was quite excited to start the 2nd week-long Residency of our OneMBA program in my own city. As opposed to earlier years where the European Residency had taken place in Amsterdam, the RSM MBA staff was quite excited to be back in Rotterdam which was evident from the tremendous effort they has put into organising our stay in Rotterdam! We stayed at the Nhow hotel, which is located at the so-called Kop van Zuid, a nice semi-industrial /residential area in the southern part of Rotterdam, and the Nhow hotel rooms offered great views of the city and the river Maas.
After being reunited with out global team mates, our week started on Sunday afternoon with a boat tour on the Maas river that divides the southern part of Rotterdam from the rest of the city. We toasted on the hard work that we had done together in the past 6 months and were excited, and anxious, to find out what our new global teams would be…Halfway our dinner we were assigned our new global teams after which we had the opportunity for a short introduction, which was continued by many of us at the bar of the Nhow hotel after returning from a great boat tour. The hotel bar was buzzing with a lot of (jet-lagged) OneMBA participants from all over the world that were excited to be starting their 2nd residency adventure! Monday morning came way too early and many of use had to run for the buses that were taking us to the RSM campus. We received a warm welcome by dean Steef van de Velde who was happy and proud to host the OneMBA group at the RSM campus, and Academic director Marc Smelik walked us through the program for the week. After a short history class on Rotterdam city, we greatly enjoyed Martin Sutton’s and Koen Berden’s economic and broad political and economic perspectives on Europe…as it turned out many of the class members based in Europe had no idea of the existence of “Europe Day” on May 9…and had never sung the European anthem :). Great insights for all of us on the state of Europe; the affairs threatening its existence in its current form, the opportunities for enlargement by countries bordering the European Union, the enormous impact of the EU’s trade policies, but also the bureaucracy of Brussels and rising populism in various EU Member States in a response to terrorist threats. Enough food for thought when the OneMBA17 class boarded an old tram at the end of the afternoon for a tour of Rotterdam. In view of the little time we had in Rotterdam, the tour offered a perfect opportunity for our foreign class mates to see the different parts of Rotterdam, and the cold beer and some snacks made the ride even more enjoyable 🙂
We spent the next 2 days at the Nhow hotel with various interesting speakers, including female investor Hadewijch Cels and Dutch ex-prime minister Balkenende, as well as some interesting late night discussions at the bar. Company visits had been organized to Vopak, Port of Rotterdam and ISM eCompany, and upon return we shared the insights gained from the presentations made with our new team members over dinner in the neighborhood of the hotel. After checking out from our rooms on Wednesday morning and a last “how well did we really do as a global team” we left for Rotterdam airport where we would be taking a flight to Warsaw for our 2nd part of the European Residency. Rotterdam, its international appeal, the harbour, and a great stay at the Nhow hotel with a very well organized program, left a great impression on the OneMBA17 class!
Like Rotterdam, Warsaw had not hosted the OneMBA class in recent years when the 2nd half of the European residencies had taken place in Istanbul. Clearly, because of the current political situation in Turkey, the OneMBA staff had decided to divert our program to Warsaw. Lucky us! We stayed at the Sofitel which has a wonderful location near the Old Town of Warsaw. The Polish part of the program started on Thursday morning with impressive speakers from both public and private institutes, followed by various interesting company visits in and around Warsaw. The day was concluded with a performance by Polish celebrity Jerzy Owsiak who has developed a renowned annual charity in the form of a pop concert, and we enjoyed a great energetic performance hearing him speak about it! In the evening, most teams hit the old town in search of a nice place for dinner & after dinner vodkas 🙂
Our last full day of our stay in Warsaw started with interesting presentations on the history of the Polish banking system as well as a presentation by the female CEO of Virgin Mobile Polska. All presentations on the Friday were represented visually by an artist on posters, which served as inspiration for the global teams for our own poster assignment on Saturday!
The OneMBA staff made sure our last night in Warsaw would be a memorable one, and on Friday night we were all invited for a tour of the Royal Castle, the rebuilding of which was impressively financed and organized by the Polish people in the 1970s after the castle had been destroyed in WWII and left in ruins ever since. Today, it is a Unesco World Heritage site, together with the Old Town of Warsaw. Our tour was followed by a wonderful dinner and a great local dance show! It was a great end to a fully packed 2nd Residency were we caught up with old friends, made new ones and mostly enjoyed our continued OneMBA journeys! Tired but satisfied is how most of us left Warsaw the next day. Thank you OneMBA staff for another great week & we look forward to seeing everyone back in the fall in Brasil & Mexico!