We started this morning meeting with Robert Hossary, the COO of The American Chamber of Commerce in Australia ("AmCham"). They are in a new location from where they were last year (in "The Rocks" section of the city), and it is very easy to find and get to. Mr. Hossary explained that his memberhsip has grown tremendously just as a result of the location change. In their new facility, they have over 50 members within a 4 block radius (allowing him to have very well attended meetings).
Robert talked to the students about a wide variety of topics including cultural differences between Australia and the US (with a great discussion on interpersonal interaction issues), politics, and technology. His message was clearly that our graduate students of today are the hope and future of our world - and it is imperative for them to look at the big picture issues... follow the news and politics, pay attention to what is going on in the world, etc. These are the things that will impact our world and doing business in it and if they are going to be business leaders, they have to start looking at the interaction of all of these issues. He also explained that as business leaders, when we discuss these issues, politics in particular, we need to stick to the facts and avoid interjecting our personal feelings and biases...
Next we were off to visit the Sydney Trains Control Center. This is the brain, heart, and nervous center of the entire public train system in Sydney (and up to 180 miles out of town!).
The level of control this group has over the system allows it to generally run at above 95% efficiency and on time.
We had a bad thunderstorm last night, so today several train lines were delayed due to damage to infrastructure.
Our tour guide, Andrew, told us he was at work until 11 p.m. last night and back in the office at 5 a.m. this morning managing the situation (so we are especially thankful he took time out of his day to talk to us!).
The entire system of trains is tracked on one big board. Each train has a code number assigned to it indicating if it is on time or late. If the train is late or on time will be indicated initially by the color assigned to the train.
After our meeting, some students went to the beaches, others went back to the hotel to work on homework. Myself and Professor MacKinnon decided to grab a quick lunch in Chinatown in a little food court. It is one of my favorite places to eat in Sydney and I always wondered if the food flavor was authentic and like what you would find in China. Fortunately, we had a couple of students who happen to be subject matter experts when it comes to Chinese cuisine..
Our first SME food tester, Haotian, gave both the lunch and especially the Bundaburg Passion fruit soda huge thumbs up... The smile on his face said it all! I asked him if this food tasted similar to what he would get at home and he tells me yes... Good enough for me!
And although she ordered a fish soup and received a fried fish dish, our second SME, Wenron, also gave the food here 2 thumbs up...
So in the end, I can feel confident in bringing future students to the lunch kitchen and telling them that this is good, authentic Chinese cuisine!
Next up, most of us met up for a group dinner at the Haymarket Hotel.
Wednesdays are "Lady's Night" - dinner specials and free manicures. We did have 3 guys who stuck it out and got a manicure!
The food was excellent - we had a wide range of dishes from steak (even after the meat festival we went to last night!), hamburgers, fish and chips, chicken schnitzel, chicken schnitzel wraps, calamari, and pizza! I don't think anyone left here hungry either!
Tomorrow we start out with a visit with Ben Thompson, the owner of Employment Innovations and several other related companies. To me, this will be the most informative visit of the trip for the students. Mr. Thompson is a visionary - I believe near or on par with the likes of Gates and Jobs. His insights are always eye opening and his organization is simply amazing. We visit Cochlear Hearing Implants in the afternoon and we may have another optional group dinner in the evening... Stay tuned!