Lesson of the week:
When walking on the sidewalk you have to keep your head on a swivel, and be looking left, right, up, and down, all at the same time!
Reason being: 1) the sidewalks are never even, 2) they are never the same size, 3) there are a ton of cafes and bars with patio furniture and patrons to be aware of, 4) there a ton of people walking, with animals, and 5) poop, there is not a lot of green space and aforementioned about people walking pets. Oh and pigeons, they are everywhere!
Week 3 has started to level off from being a blur to a feeling of normality. It is still crazy at this point to think that I am not just vacationing in Milan, I LIVE here! Milan is a beautiful city full of energy, fashion, and culture. Being the center of the fashion world it is not uncommon to see a photo shoot happening, oh say on the steps coming out of the metro. It is not uncommon for a guy in sweats on his way to a workout to walk through said photo shoot due to not paying attention to my full surroundings as I try to figure out exactly where I am going.
By this point we have had the ability to see some of Milan’s famous sights including the Duomo Cathedral and checked out a few of its trendy shopping districts. But Milan has a hidden sense of culture, for example in Rome, pretty much everything is historical and has a story. In Milan you could pass a building or church with beautiful architecture and say “oh that’s cool” but not be fully aware of what it is you are looking at. I am really looking forward to learning more about this city and all of its secrets and Christine has signed us up for a city tour in early November to do just that!
Growing up I played football throughout high school and in college, and then proceeded to play 5 years of Semi-Professional football for a team called the Des Moines Blaze where we recored a recored of 56-2 with 5 Midwest Football Alliance League Titles and 1 National Championship. So after reading “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham it was only natural for me to explore that option here in Milan. Milan has 2 American Football Teams, the historic Milano Rhinos, and the current Back to Back Italian Football League Champion Milano Seamen. Unfortunately the Rhinos never called me back, but the Seamen did, and although they already have their 2 imports (former Division 1 Sacramento State QB, and a SS from New Mexico) I am able to continue my love for the game by training with them and helping out on the Coaching Staff. It is amazing that I get to help a culture who does not embrace American Football and help promote it within my small (soon to be large) network in Milan. I also think it will be a great way to use football to help lower the language barrier and improve my Italian. I have a goal to leave Italy speaking the language.
Week 2 in class has been straight into working in groups and getting our hands dirty. We have a visiting Professor from Germany in for a few days teaching a lesson on STP or Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. Over 3 days we went through the process to first segment a market into opportunities, then choose a target(s) market, and our overall positioning. This was done through choosing a specific product. Our group chose the GoPro camera and broke down our STP. I felt like this was a great project, and it was fun to use a hip product as GoPro to learn and create. I tried searching for our presentation so that I could attach as an example, but am unable to find on my Mac.
One of the challenges in the group work was communication. As English is the universal language of business, and the language used in class we can all communicate effectively. But as you know if you have worked with folks form other backgrounds what you say is not always what is heard or perceived and of course there are language barriers within the language based on how you learned and what you do or do not know. This first lesson was very eye opening and really something you cannot replicate in a classroom, unless your classroom has many different backgrounds. I learned that this is and will always be a challenge of working in International Business and one that I am getting the opportunity to learn, adapt, and hone this skill first hand.
When it comes time to interview with a International or Global Company and they ask what your experience is working with or in other countries/cultures, how will you be able to answer? What does your Global Network (if you have one) look like? Where and in what field do you want your career to look like?