Over the winter break, the Wisconsin School of Business traveled to Madrid, Spain to learn more about business practices and Spanish culture. The week included a packed schedule of company visits, cultural tours, nights of tapas, and more jamón (ham) than imaginable.
Our first night began with a lavish welcome dinner at Metro Bistro right in the heart Madrid in Plaza Mayor. The ten-course meal primed us all for an amazing week of great tapas, great food, and better company. The remainder of the week all of the students set out in groups to discover tapas restaurants and bars. Whether it was croquetas de Jamón or patatas bravas, we were always well fed (sometimes too well fed).
The company visits ranged across all industries and allowed students from each of the specializations to explore facets that they found intriguing. We learned about the largest metro system in the world at Metro Madrid and saw firsthand how the action unfolded at “Mission Control.” We talked global strategy with Wacker Neuson and learned more about the expansion of the Panama Canal with Sacyr. At Bank Santander we toured their vast campus, manmade forest, and talked with them about their sustainability efforts. We studied how to market and brand olive oil with the Spanish Olive Oil International Organization. And of course, we toured a winery and a cheese farm since Wisconsinites can never be too far from cheese.
Our trip also included several cultural sightseeing tours in Madrid, Salamanca, and Toledo. With our tour guide we explored museums, cathedrals, local shops, and highlights of each of the cities. One of the favorites was at Temple de Debod in Madrid where we stopped for sunset. We even had free time to explore Madrid on our own. Several students were lucky enough to score tickets to a Madrid soccer game. I went to the National Auditorium of Music with several friends to see the Madrid symphony perform a violin concerto and the world premiere of a new piece.
The trip culminated with a visit to GE Healthcare to officially kick off our consulting project for the course. We met with some of the top leaders at GE Healthcare Iberia who took the time to teach us more about their market and issues facing their business. Teams of students are now hard at work on solving a real-life problem for GE Iberia which we will present to leadership in a few weeks’ time. Buoyed by the excitement from the trip, we look forward to leveraging all that we have learned during this course and turning it into actionable insights for GE Healthcare.