LINC Budapest | Student Blog
Blog 1-Jen

I’m super excited!

-Jen

Back to Beijing-Minghui Xu #4

It’s been more than a month since I left Budapest. However, I can still clearly recall all those things that I learned and enjoyable experiences that we had. Although I have been to many countries in the past, I’ve never interacted with local people that much like we did in Hungary.

It was my first time to try to think and act like local people instead of being just a visitor. This LINC trip not only opened my eyes to a new culture, country, and continent but also gave me the opportunity to do new things that I have never experienced before.

Good bye, Budapest. I wish I will see you again soon!

Company Visits-Minghui Xu #3

-FLOW Public Relations

The founder and CEO of the company gave us a speech which reminded me of many things that I learned in my marketing class. What’s more, I learned the difference between marketing and communication. Marketing is the seller telling buyers that our product is good, but public relations and communication is to let other people say that your product is good. The company does a lot of campaigns and makes stories to increase sales. Unlike marketing which has building blocks to test whether an advertisement is good or not, there are no standards for these stories; they are basically guided by experiences and guts feelings.

-AUDI

Then we visited AUDI and GE, two of the biggest global companies in the world. AUDI Hungaria is specialized in producing engines and just started producing AUDI cars last year. To avoid competitions between the factories, AUDI produces different cars in different factories across the world. For example, they only produce engines in Hungary, Lamborghini in Italy, and AUDI Q5 in Changchun. For countries that have special requirements for cars, AUDI also makes adjustments according to their laws. I was so impressed by their factory, but sadly, they didn’t allow us to take any pictures.

-GE

Unlike AUDI, who started the business in Hungary on its own, GE bought another company in Hungary to be its sub-company specializing in water plant. A very famous Chinese entrepreneur once said, “detail determines success.” This got fully confirmed in the GE factory. Before we came in, they gave us special shoes, glasses, ear plugs, and protective clothing. They have a well-designed visitor path that allows visitors to see the factory without interfering with production. The factory is huge, but it is very well-organized. GE also focused on its company cultures. Hungarians value family a lot, so GE not only takes care of the employees but also their families. GE is doing everything it can to make sure that the employees are motivated and satisfied.

Finally Home & I Miss Budapest—Crystal Song #4

Almost a fortnight since I got back to sunny LA again.

I was finally home after a series of long flights, Budapest to London, London to LA, and LA to Shanghai at last. Forty hours of dry and uncomfortable flight didn’t kill my thought of Budapest. I felt something called cultural shock, and it was stronger than when I first stepped on the land of North America.

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Lying in my own cozy bed in China, I could easily recall when I was rumbling on the Audrassy Street with my roommate. A beautiful Asian girl stared at me with her smiley eyes, eagerly asking me if I was Korean. I hesitated for a second and told her the truth. The girl left with an unsatisfactory response from me. I was a bit apologetic because suddenly I got a strong feeling about, what I would say, a cultural connection. It’s about blood and culture. Sometimes it could be a big thing resulting from incompatibilities and disjointing in the high-paced globalization. An Asian face was so rare that once spotted, it could be a cultural thing. I love Budapest and the thoughts helped me dig deeper.

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Last Day at Budapest, Time to Say Goodbye-Crystal Song #3

The last day at this city was definitely amazing. It was always hard to say goodbye, especially to a magnificent city like Budapest. The weather was as crisp as usual in late May, and I was so thrilled to know we would have an evening feast at a fancy boat on the Danube River. 

We had an entirely free morning until the exciting final presentation in the afternoon. Not used to being conclusive, I felt slightly hesitant to come up with five “profound” words to describe the LINC Budapest trip—actually what I could come up with were far more that five words. “Breathtaking”, I would say, was the first impression when I reckon in my mind’s eye. The beautiful views of the city reminded me some incredible throwbacks and imagination.

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People here in Hungary, mostly, were far more different from I had known in America or Asia. Robust, stiff, and always proud of their nationality. The characteristics could easily found in other Central European countries as well because of centuries of wars and turmoil by communism dictatorship. However, it gratified me to see lots of historic buildings survived and still glittered in the sun. 

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Back to Mundane Life-EJ Kim #7

It’s taken a couple days for me to get myself awake and up to write this final blog post…

It was like the world knew that I wanted to stay in Budapest just a little longer and didn’t want me going back home. Our journey back to LA and my final trip back home were difficult, challenging, and tiring. First, we arrived at the Budapest airport really early before the counter was open, so there was a sleepy wait standing in line. When we got to London airport and went through the maze-like system to go through security, trams, trains, etc to get to our next terminal, We were greeted by unexpected delay. While every other flight seemed to leave on schedule, our flight had to be the one to get delayed. After almost 3 hours which seemed like 30 years, we finally boarded to LA. Staying awake overnight definitely helped me to get few hours of sleep, but airplane seats are still too uncomfortable…

When we finally landed in LA, everyone rushed out and was ready to go home.  I was sore in every part of my body, but I was happy to go home…until…what seemed like LA traffic was an accident on the freeway. Even with the accident, cars seemed to pass by slowly, but of course when it was almost our turn to pass by, fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and the tow truck completely blocked the way. We were on the freeway with the engine turned off just waiting.  It took more than 30 minutes for everything to clear…

Well…after that long journey, I was home!!! I honestly don’t remember what I did the moment I was back. My body is still sore. I’m slightly jetlagged, but just enough(?) and not as bad so that I’m actually being a good kid and waking up and going to bed early. haha

I’ve been looking through the pictures I took in Hungary. Pictures are beautiful and look like paintings, but they still don’t capture what I saw and felt in real life. Hungary is such a beautiful place, and I will remember my trip without a doubt especially because it was my first European country.

I’m glad I was able to enjoy this great opportunity, definitely looking forward and planning to apply for other global opportunities available in Marshall.

With such an exciting and busy week that I had in Budapest, Hungary, I’m back to my normal, mundane life…but I do have another personal trip left in my summer, and I hope that will be as exciting and memorable as my time in Hungary!!!

Last Day….-EJ Kim #6

Well~~~ Today is our last day in Budapest, Hungary. As we are leaving the hotel at 5:30 AM tomorrow, I’m trying REALLY hard to stay awake overnight so that I can sleep through the flight which is why I’m writing this post. It was a fast week yet it still feels like we’ve been here for a month. I really knew nothing about Hungary before I was assigned to Budapest and attended the LINC classes. Arriving in Budapest at first, I felt lost and somewhat unsafe especially at night, but within just a week, I already had my go-to restaurants and convenience store like I have back home. Looking back to the past week, I enjoyed all the company visits, but I do regret my love for sleep. Every nap that I intended to take for only couple hours turned into just one long night of sleep which did refresh me for the day’s worth of company visits and touring. But, I do wish that I got to explore more of  the cultural experience and mingle with local people despite the fact that I don’t drink and never experienced nor enjoyed nightlife. A week was definitely a short time and I hope to come back to Budapest and Hungary to visit museums and other sights and aspects that I didn’t get to explore. Closure to our trip on the boat at night was definitely one of the big highlights of the trip even if it was a bit chilly. image Thank you Budapest. Thank you Hungary. Thank you University of Southern California Marshall School of Business Marshall LINC program for giving me this amazing opportunity. Thank you EVERYONE on the trip and also those who I met during visits and tour for giving me great memories to treasure. Köszönöm!!!!! Szia…..

Wednesday-Friday Recap-EJ Kim #5

The last few days in Budapest has been busy and packed days. I’m finally catching up writing about those days on the last day before we leave bright and early tomorrow!! Wednesday I started even more refreshed than other mornings as we started the day a couple hours later than previous days. Our first visit was to Audi. I had visited the Subaru factory in Japan before, but Audi was completely different from it. First and foremost, the Audi factory was huge in size especially with their recent addition. Unlike the Subaru factory which was located in a suburb, small in size with dark lighting and paint smell, the Audi was clean, white, huge, and definitely more adapted and friendlier to visitors. When the size of each factory is adjusted in scale, Subaru had more machines completing the car manufacturing process with less human workers needed. However, from the physical characteristics of the factory building, I felt like Audi was more modernized than Subaru. After Audi, we went to the Belgian Beer Cafe where we had fish and chips. Then we headed to Benedictin Abbey Pannonhalma. The way there and the panoramic view of the landscape at the top were just simply beautiful. My obsession with the blue sky kicked in again which made me take tons of pictures and smile and laugh for no reason… Haha imageThursday This was our busiest day which also began the earliest. Our first visit was to GE. After spending a long time checking in as visitors, we finally toured the company geared with safety shoes, glasses and vest. Never really thought about water filters and how they are made so it was interesting to see how they are made and how cautious, careful and thorough the employees have to be to ensure great quality. After the visit to GE, we had a luncheon with Jay Heung, Economic Section Chief where we heard about his personal experience and insights into U.S. embassy’s work in Hungary and Hungarian economy in general. I don’t know which department he works in, but I always only heard about the fun stuff that my uncle gets to do working in the embassy besides his normal work. After hearing from Jay Heung of how he is able to read newspaper articles and see media coverage of the work that the embassy and his department is involved in, it made me think again about the role of the embassy and also wonder about what my uncle does… Our day was followed by our visit to Corvenis University where we learned about sustainability and CSR. The professor was definitely enthusiastic about the topic and engaging as well. I have to admit that I was really tired by this point, but the knowledge and enthusiasm that the professor was sharing kept me interested in the presentation. Also about the university building, it was interesting to learn that the building was originally a customs house where trains and ships went through. The day ended with the visit to the Grand Market. Because we went close to the closing time, many of the vendors were ready to pack and leave as soon as 6 o’clock hit, but I still enjoyed looking around the market and souvernirs. As much as I wanted typical souvenir items, I couldn’t find anything that I would really use and appreciate if I took it back home. This and my hate of shopping combined shortly ended my interest in looking around, but I did stay at the market until it completely closed at 6 and even little past that. What I did enjoy was the walk back to the hotel from the market. Walking on the street with other Hungarians and European buildings around made me feel like I was really in Hungary again, but at the same time, I felt like I was in a familiar neighborhood at home since we passed through the street everyday in the bus. Thursday was definitely a packed day but it went by fast….. and…. of course, I knocked out this day… Hehe Friday Friday also began early since we had to drive for a couple hours to the Herend factory. I never really had any interest in porcelain so I was not expecting much. When Herend’s Sales Director came to talk to us, I was quickly engaged as it was really interesting to hear how the company considered keeping the culture and tradition was more important than maximizing profit and becoming a mass-production company. image Tea at Herend Lunch after Herend was great with a view of the lake and kitties!!! :) imageimage After lunch, what everyone was waiting for-Figula Vinerary! It was cool to see the barrels of wine and wine tasting was nice, but as I don’t drink normally and don’t really know the taste of wine, I think I remember the dogs that we met at the winery more than the taste of the wines. But, I must say that similar to Herend, I think it’s inspiring that the Figula Vinerary is more concerned about making high quality and different wines each time and finding customers appreciating their wines than trying to use to methods such as using chemicals to mass market the wines. image After the visit to the winery, we almost missed the ferry across the lake….how lucky we weree that some cars couldn’t go on the ferry on time because it was full. Not only was our way back to the hotel shorter, we also got to enjoy the breeze and the view on the ferry. image Phew…..I’m finally done catching up!!! Writing this post was helpful looking back to the whole LINC trip as today is our last day here T.T

Budapest Adventure-Crystal Song #2

I can’t believe we are here for almost half a week in Budapest —“Paris in the Eastern Europe”. The first sight of Budapest was breathtaking: old historical buildings on both sides of streets, green trees waving back and forth in the breeze from the Danube and classic music from Liszt everywhere in the air. The lovely weather, not too warm or cool (though sometimes with slight rain in the sun T-T), is the best for visitors to ramble around and discover the beautiful city.

Budapest is not only a peaceful city but also a capital city and the center of economy, industry and transportation. That is why we came here for global business experience learning. After two days of company visiting in Ferroport, FLOW and Audi, we have reached half-way of our trip.

The three companies vary from each other and are quite representative of each industry. Ferroport Shipping & Warehousing is located at an island in the River Danube, which operates 94% of aluminum products of the whole nation. The factory site on the band was windy and cool in the shade. We are surprised to find a bunch of ducks swimming in the river just beside the factory. The tour of Ferroport ended early so we had chance to visit a synagogue in downtown Budapest.

FLOW Public Relation has been my favorite one. The director of FLOW worked for politics before he started his own public relation company, which supported him with both experience and some barriers. With the change of PR model from traditional to strategic communication in 2008, it is challenging for a new company to deal with complicated public crises and individual requests. But, a PR consulting company should always be ready for instantaneous changing strategies. The presentation was short but very informative.

Budapest - The City of Romance! - Minghui Xu #2

After a long and tiring fight, we finally arrived in Budapest - The City of Romance! The atmosphere here is filled with peace that makes you want to do nothing other than enjoying the beauty of this romantic city. However, relaxation is not for us at this time; we, USC Marshall students, are here to learn about international commerce.

On Monday morning, the wonderful and entertaining speech about Hungary given by former Trojans Mr. Daniel Csoti & Mr. Aron Toth marked the opening of our LINC trip. The funniest part of the speech was how Hungary sees other European countries and how the rest of Europe sees Hungarians:

Hungary sees

Austria=Brother

Sweden=IKEA

Italy=Pizza

Russia=Gazprom

The rest of Europe sees

Hungarians=welcoming;

Hungarians eat, drink, & smoke like champs;

Hungarian sounds like dog barking and is impossible for foreigners to learn.

 After the speech, I originally thought we were going to start visiting companies right away. However, Monday was a religious holiday in Hungary and hardly anyone worked on that day (Luckily ^^), so we started our city tour on Monday afternoon. The ancient castle where most young people shared first kisses, the parliament building & church, as well as the panorama of the Danube almost took my breath away. How lucky I am to study business in this amazing city! I’m so looking forward to exploring Budapest more every day.image

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