So Travis brought this toy . . . Day 6

and by toy . . . I mean this really amazing quadricopter

If you are like me . . . I had no idea what this was, a hybrid toy helicopter and video camera?. . . but infinitely cooler

controlled through GPS . . . it can fly extremely high (of course the team tested for validity), it has a homing device, it records video . . .I mean . . .

photo 4

and i have trouble figuring out the remote for the tv. . .

photo 3


Anyways . . Gina and I decided to take a walk around the Marina and grabbed dinner. . we were gone for about 3 hours, very nice relaxing dinner

Of course, while we were gone . . . boys will be boys. . .



They headed down the beach at night and tested out the ‘copter’

Not only did they get a nice video of the Dubai Marina Area, they turned the ‘toy’ into a fighter pilot . . . sorry Gregg

Grad Students Use Their Brains . . . Day 5

It’s another hot day in Dubai . . .and the construction continues


This building is located across the street and due the rapid progression in three short days I’ve decided to start documenting, will it be done before we leave??

Not likely, but it is truly incredible the amount of construction going on in this gigantic city and how quickly it is completed.  The city that grew overnight . . .


We woke up to a very surprising email this morning. . .

Ghassan is the CEO of RISE Trading and our sole communication within the company.  He has been traveling in the US and was not scheduled to be back until the 12th but an important meeting brought him to the UAE last night . . .and he wanted to meet for lunch today to discuss our progress. . .

We spent the morning drafting our discussion points, highlighting three key areas of focus and remaining areas where we felt we needed further clarification.


We were supposed to meet for lunch at 1pm, Ghassan called to inform us the Sheikh requested to see him and he would have to delay our meeting.  The Sheikh has been extremely hands-on in Dubai, driving the development of this cosmopolitan city and has a focus to provide the best customer experience from touch down to take off in this city.


So the team hung tight and had lunch . . . another exciting day in the Dubai food world.

Gina and I stuck with appetizers and salads. . along with the rest of the team we enjoyed the traditional lebanese cuisine.  Today. . .Travis was our brave soul . .

Travis also ordered a salad.  . .

a salad of lamb brains


And yes it looked just like you are probably imagining right now.



Gregg took a try. . . and followed with “I bet Kate will try it” . . come on

How do I describe it. . . chewy

I make a note for our assignment: ‘I don’t think this concept would franchise well in the US’



After lunch Gina and I ordered coffee. . . my first experience with Turkish coffee . . . AMAZING!  Our coffee has nothing on Turkish or Arabian coffee. . . I am officially hooked.


Ghassan joined us shortly after lunch.  Ghassan is actually a graduate of The Ohio State University and worked with Gina back in Columbus.  Today’s reunion marks more than 20 years since they last saw each other.  Technology is truly amazing . . .


We split up to run a few errands after lunch and then meet back at the apt.  Somehow our half ended up back here first without a key . . . whomp whomp.  In the evening it is quite nice out in our courtyard so we just hung out and waited for the others.

It’s ironic that coming over here, after working with the team for 7 weeks, I felt that I knew very little about my new colleagues.  But within a few short days of living in-country we are really getting to know each other, sharing our personal experiences and our life stories.  We bring together a very wide range of circumstances and it is really helping me to better understand them and facilitating a better team.  This really is our very own Real World Dubai . . stay tuned

Getting Comfortable in Koblenz

Hallo (that means Hello) from our German home! After only a few days in Koblenz, we are starting to feel comfortable with not speaking the language, driving (and stalling) on the Autobahn, and interviewing VP-level (and above) executives in the automobile industry.

To compensate for the delicate pastries, heavy bratwursts, and free flowing beers, I’ve gone on a couple of runs along the rivers. Koblenz is located on the confluence of two rivers: the Rhine and the Moselle, in the heart of wine country. Newsflash: running with beautiful scenery makes the experience much more pleasant.

Running with a view

Today was our first long drive day, which meant plenty of team bonding on the Autobahn.  Devin and Tim would yell “Ausfahrt” (that means exit) every time we passed a highway exit. Meanwhile, I would daydream about living in one of the many castles that lined the German hills. Neither of these activities should be considered unusual, if you know us.

Ausfahrt, ya!

Back to business. Today we toured DHL’s warehouse located around the corner from Audi’s main manufacturing plant. Now, this is not your textbook (MBA 6231 Operations I) warehouse. DHL does sub assembly for Audi, which basically means that they receive lots of tiny parts from suppliers, then DHL assembles into a larger piece and sends to Audi so they can seamlessly pop it onto the vehicle on the assembly line. I never would’ve thought that a logistics company would do pretty complicated manufacturing, so I learned something new today! Plus, we get to wear sweet safety gear, so I make sure to document every time that happens.

We look good in neon green, no?


The boys went off to Karaoke Night at our neighborhood Irish Pub, where they made friends with locals and also came across some University of Michigan undergrads. Don’t worry,  only playful rivalry ensued. Our Buckeyes decided not to get on stage this time around, but stay tuned till next week, where maybe our comfort level will be ready to belt out some Backstreet Boys. Any song requests?

Culinary experiences part 1

In India people are divided into vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and being in the last category kinda…. Sucks! Not only the restaurants are vegetarian but people would not eat vegetarian food in a restaurant that cooks meat. You never know, a sausage might have exploded in the kitchen at one point in time.

Our task of finding food is even harder with Amanda’s 1001 allergies.

Looking for meat we found this nice restaurant where a pre-monsoon torrential rain caught us and eventually left us in the dark, dining under iPhone flashlight. Internet worked though!

I was so excited at the thought of having an Indian hamburger (vada pav) only to discover that it’s …. vegetarian.

the next treat was a typical sweet (peda). Good by vegetarian or non-vegetarian standards.

Last but not least, worth mentioning, the awesome Kingfisher beer and a weird non-alcoholic blue sparkly drink.

image image image image

Day 5: Tea time with Dan


Yes, that tiny little glass about the same size as the tea candle is what I am supposed to drink out of, somehow.


I thought it would be nice to give Melissa, who has been doing an excellent job with our team’s blog, a break for a day and would write a bit about my day instead.  Day 5 in Malaysia started much the same as most of my days here.  Waking up early and heading down to the hotel’s pool in order to get my daily Pelotonia training in.  Since the local roads and traffic habits don’t particularly lend themselves to cycling around, a morning swim is going to need to do for now.  After my swim I grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then we loaded into the shuttle bus, and went into the office for the day.

Our hosts at WD have been most generous during our trip, and have been extremely helpful.  Today we had a nice discussion over lunch with the VP in charge of materials for Asia, who offered some experienced based insights into some of the challenges that we are facing.  After a busy day at the office working on our project, we once again loaded into the van, and zipped through traffic back to the hotel.

We decided to head back to the Sunway Pyramid mall for dinner tonight, as the variety of options available there is for practical purposes, limitless.  We chose a local tea house and Chinese food establishment called the “Paradise Inn”, after comparing the menu’s of several nearby restaurants.  The one problem I have found thus far with food in Malaysia is that it pretty much all looks delicious, and it is usually hard to decide what exactly I want to order.  It is also, generally speaking, very reasonably priced.  I eventually chose a beef and onion hot pot meal, along with Oolong tea, and a mango based desert.  As with every local meal I have had thus far, I was not disappointed in my choice.

Food here is inexpensive (not cheap), and delicious. A meal like this costs around 30 Malaysian Ringits, somewhere around $8-9 USD, depending on what exactly is ordered.

As Melissa mentioned in a previous post they take their shopping malls very seriously here in Malaysia, with a wide variety of experiences available under one roof that you generally don’t find in America.  One of these experiences at the Sunway mall is an indoor archery range, which is across the way from the Mui Thai gym, and bowling alley, and nestled next to a jewelry store.  I wasn’t about to let such a unique experience pass me, or my team by, so after dinner we headed up for some relaxation/archery practice to top off the evening.

There was no way that I was going to pass up a chance to get some team archery practice in at the mall.


We then made our way back to the hotel so that we can prepare for another full day of amazing experiences tomorrow, before we fly to Singapore on Saturday.  With so many new and different things to experience, one could easily become distracted and lose focus during a trip like this, but thankfully my team continues to do an excellent job of staying on target.

Staying focused on the target is a key part of a successful project.


Go Shorty, It’s Your Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Melissa! We were excited to celebrate Melissa’s thirty-th… er… twenty-first birthday in Shanghai! It was a busy day, but we still fit in some fun.

Of course we had to start the day off with some donuts.  What?!  The local Donut King doesn’t open til 10AM?!  Apparently donuts aren’t eaten for breakfast here, but are rather considered a dessert.  It’s really strange that sugar-coated fried bread is considered a dessert here…

Philips - Donut King Tai Chi

 But at least they’ve got Tai Chi (which we have vowed to participate in).

Next, we became “mystery shoppers” to see how medical sellers operate in China.  We went to Shanghai No. 1 Pharmacy (BTW, most everything starts with “No. 1” here, so the “No. 1 Chinese Restaurant” in Columbus now makes sense…).  This pharmacy was huge, spanning three stories!

Philips - Shanghai No 1 Pharmacy

The first floor was all Eastern medicine.  There were tons of herbs, and some that looked like dried starfish ran between $200 to $5,000.  Yes, $5,000!

Philips - Chinese herbs

The medical device companies like Philips were on the second and third floors.  OTC (over-the-counter) is one of the newest channels for Philips in China, but accounts for less than 30% of total sales for respiratory products (I know you were very, very interested in that…)

Philips - Distributor Front Desk

Next, we met with Ni Libin, one of the most successful Philips distributor owners in Shanghai.  What a dynamic entrepreneur!  The interview was conducted in Mandarin, and we had to wait through 2-5 minutes of Mandarin dialogue before getting an English translation.  It gave Justin plenty of time to beat his high score in Angry Birds (or 2048)….  Just kidding.  But Ni was great and despite the language barrier, he made us feel very welcome.

Philips - Distributor photos

When we got back to the office, Philips surprised Melissa with a cake!  And we presented Desmond with a thank you gift for supporting our GAP experience (he loved his OSU white coat!).

Philips - Cake with Desmond

Philips took us out to a phenomenal Japanese restaurant, Dozo, where we had lots to eat.  And maybe just a little bit to drink…

Philips - Justin and sake

 And a rhino may have also been involved…

Philips - Rhino riding 2

Do you feel in charge…?

Yesterday we saw some Chinese hospitals. Two words… Mind blown! One sound effect… Boom!

There are over 200,000 hospitals in China, and of the top 1,200, this was one of them…. But it’s insanely crowded and old.

Philips - Hospital lounge 3

Plus, the level of hygiene was, to say the least… a bit unsanitary compared to American standards. Doctors were coughing in their hands – where’s the hand sanitizer? And the bathrooms were squatters… with no tissue OR soap. Slightly unsanitary? #chyeah

And this was a top tier 3 hospital!

Philips - Hospital frenzy

This experience was humbling and eye opening, and it’s changed my entire perspective on practicing medicine in a state-of-the-art facility like the OSU Wexner Medical Center.

Makes me feel… legit!!

Philips - Bain

Pudi (AKA Bane)


Day 4: Risk Management in Action

Today we traveled 2 hours to a city called Melaka, which is in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula and only about 90 minutes from Singapore. We started off the day meeting with another supplier that works with Western Digital. We learned about their in-house operations (which were extremely vertically integrated and very impressive), and then we took a tour of their facilities.

The supplier team took us to lunch right on the beach of Melaka, too! It was a beautiful view and our hosts were extremely gracious the whole day.

Our team with the supplier team.
OSU team with the supplier team.
View from lunch - not bad!
View from lunch – not bad!

After lunch, we went on another factory tour – this time needing to get suited up again in our full body suits and gloves to enter a ‘Class 100’ cleanroom. Cleanrooms are classified according to the number and size of particles permitted per volume of air, so a ‘Class 100’ room allows only 100 particles per cubic foot of air. As we were touring the facilities, suddenly all the machines turned off, the lights went out, and the alarms started going off. Trying not to panic, our team looked around and saw all the workers simply sitting patiently at their stations. We asked if power outages like this happened often, and we were told that this was the first power outage in three years!

Lucky us!! We’re on a project all about risk management and creating business continuity plans (BCPs) for situations just like this one – and a scenario occurred right before our eyes! We were later told that the power was out for 3 hours, that a BCP existed where employees knew to turn off certain machines in case there was a surge when the power came back on, and that all customers – including Western Digital – were phoned within the first two hours to let them know the situation at hand. Seeing that the power had gone out in the entire area (which also meant no AC for us Americans), we decided to head to downtown Melaka to finish our meeting with the suppliers at a local hotel.

Downtown Melaka has buildings going up all over the place, and is a great town right on the water. We had the opportunity to take a quick tour of the area before a storm came through, and learned that Melaka is inscribed on the World Heritage List for sustaining a Portuguese colonial area from the 16th and 17th centuries. In honor of this Portuguese heritage, the supplier team took us to an authentic Portuguese-inspired Malaysian meal. Right on the water, we enjoyed some of the best seafood any of us had ever had – ranging from fresh clams and shrimp to spicy crabs (everyone’s favorite), it was a family-style meal that was delicious!

Portuguese-inspired meal with our new friends
Delicious Portuguese-inspired meal

Overall, a great day in Melaka spent with new friends. Next up: a full day in the office compiling all our learnings from the past couple of days and hopefully some more good Malaysian food!

Deep Thoughts with Dr. Heisenberg

He’s about to drop some blue crystals of wisdom on you.


First, let me introduce Dr. Jeff; A man on a mission to find a Coke in France under 5 Euros, always armed with a saucy comment, and the dad figure of the group.

Formal Title: Saucy Daddy Pop or Saucy DP for short

Quote: “Kids, you have to wake up, it’s almost noon”

The following are his experiences so far;

“Friday: Columbus to Lyon. Shai makes boarding with seconds to spare after a two hour standoff between the travel agency and the airline which included both parties shouting and hanging up on each other at least once. Travel was otherwise remarkable only for being so unremarkable. (P.S. United runs on Linux)

photo 1

Saturday: Slept 18 (yes, that’s one-eight) hours. (Blackout curtains, FTW!) America runs on Dunkin, France runs on bread. I haven’t seen a vegetable since Dulles and every meal feels like I’m loading for a marathon. Coca-cola and Coke Zero are completely ubiquitous and are more expensive than coffee or beer. So I have switched beer (when in Lyon…). Saw Roman ruins. A young boy told me the stones are approximately 2,000 years old, though I suspect at least one of us misunderstood something. Dug around and found the original Roman sewer about 20 feet underneath a really poorly protected trapdoor that was begging to be opened. (Americans: Discovering things after France discovered them after someone else previously discovered them since 1803) Visited Basilique Notre Dame de fourviere. Nobody burst into flames. Walked home. Had crepes and/or French Italian food for supper.

Monday: Arrived at Scotts SAS approximately 8am. Spent next two hours greeting the Scotts employees as they trickled in. Found Coke for 0.80 Euro. #jackpot. Long conversation with Doug Larson. Project plans are aligned and on track. After descending upon the cafeteria like a herd of locusts, a certain group of American ducklings stopped all progress at the cash register for approximately 15 minutes as we tried to explain, yes, it’s all going on one card and, yes, we are going to eat all of this. (I believe the British term would be “gobsmacked”.) Apropos, London is confirmed for Thursday and Friday. Home by 6pm, French Italian food for dinner. Decided to go home and have a decent dinner. Instead spent an hour figuring our how to say “jumper cables” in French. (Word to the wise: You have to actually turn the power off before getting out of some hybrid cars.) Got a jump and finished introducing ourselves to the entire company as the giant, ravenous, inept, non-French-speaking Americans. Later some of us walked to the mall (did I mention we’re Americans?), had a snack and went to Carrefour (imagine a small Meijer) and came away without the primary objective – apparently contact fluid borders on a specialty item so pack appropriately.

Tuesday: Took the hint and arrived at 9am. Made *fantastic* progress on the project plan and booked a full day of meetings for tomorrow. Brains are exhausted. A side topic/obsession among the group has been the rumored trend of “American parties” in continental Europe. Coincident to this, one of the highest rated restaurants within walking distance of the hotel is Best Bagels Co. so we decided to have an American night as a way of seeing how American activities are perceived. The bagel place was more American than most restaurants in America. It. Was. Awesome.


We have already collected 25 Euros to mail Thibau an OSU t-shirt. Afterward we sought a karaoke bar which, after many miles, did not open for hours. So we made due with an Irish bar staffed by Irish and full Irish…where we proceeded to explore respective cultural perceptions – purely in the name of high-minded academic interest, bridge-building and networking. Off. The. Chain. Little known fact: “real” Irish car bombs are  of a modular design allowing for the use of a detonator (Bailey’s) to be set off by lifting the fuse (Jameson) to your mouth. All the alcohols were consumed. I wore a hat (see above). We may or may not have ended our networking after some GAP teams began work on Wednesday.


Wednesday: Rolled out of bed fresher than a coat of wet paint and spent the day meeting with company leaders. Confirmed many of our hypotheses, gained terrific insight into others. Tonight will be an early one (relatively speaking) as we have 7am flights to London in the morning. #FisherGAP”

GAP experience: “Working hard, play hard”

Brussels global experience can be summarized in four simple words: “Work hard, play hard”. During the day we are immersed in interviews in the evenings we go out and check the amazing places Belgium capital has to offer; we walk the narrow and lively streets, check famous tourist spots and enjoy dinner in charming restaurants tasting the local cuisine.

Grand Place is the most important tourist destination in Brussels according  to the holders of all human knowledge (McKinsey and Wikipedia).
Grand Place is the most important tourist destination in Brussels according to the holders of all human knowledge (McKinsey and Wikipedia).

As soon as we saw the first glimpse of this place, we were mesmerized with the grandness of this place, truly grand in real sense. The picture cannot really depict the actual beauty and feeling of the place. The area about 400-500ft radius was surrounded all across by the grand architecture which was nothing but perfect. The top layers were plated with gold and on one of the buildings there was a statue a golden horse. The vast architecture was built with so much dedication and perfection which could be felt even today. Just looking at the sight was humbling, I wonder how satisfying this would have been for the person who built it.

THE Grand Place.
THE Grand Place.


The spirit of the place was not only in the architecture but also in the lovely ambiance. In midst of the grand views there were delicious foods from different countries and lovely people who were enjoying the great sights, food and wine with their loved ones. People looked so happy and relaxed and were really enjoying the overall experience. One thing we’ve been observing about the people here, no one seems to be in hurry, no one wants quick service, people really cherish the food, the surroundings and the moments, and dinner is never an hour, its three hours 🙂 .


Overall, the evening at the Grand Place was a treat after a long day at work, and a definitely must see place while in Brussels.