“Where’s the ball! Find the ball!”

The Fingersmith!

The Fingersmith!

London! Ever since I was a child, I had dreamed of going to London – and here I was! This was my first time in United Kingdom – in fact, not just me, but for all four of us; Ben, Adam, Nishant and me. While the journey to the city was highly eventful in itself (Ben and I ran for all legs of the connecting flights and almost missed our international leg; did not get our bags on the flight and a whole lot of other misadventures), once we went out on the first weekend, it all was worth it. Watching Adam take countless selfies at every place we visited made me realize that it was not just me who found this place fascinating!

During one of these tours, near Big Ben, we came across this strange street of gambling, which we named “where’s the ball, find the ball” (cleverly named after what the person kept saying). The person managing the game let us call him the fingersmith (you’ll see why), had three small cups in front of him and a ball. He kept switching the position of the ball under one of the three cups, and the challenge was to figure out where the ball ended up. While a fairly easy game to make money, it seemed highly addictive since people went on playing multiple rounds. The fingersmith would act as if he was losing every game and made the person playing feel extremely confident of himself/herself. Then, in the last round, he would trick them into choosing the wrong cup or switch the cup without them realizing, thus winning back all the money and more. It was really interesting just to watch how he would use people’s psyche against themselves.

Could we have beaten the mentalist at his own game? Well, let’s just say that the 30th of May is our last day in London, and we have a lot to look forward to!

Before We Missed the Train…

Friday, May 15

After a week in Shanghai, everyone is starting to get used to the city despite it being completely foreign to most of us. Differences, once apparent, are beginning to fade away as we get acclimated to Shanghai life. While our morning commute never fails to bring excitement, (boltng through four lanes of traffic on three-lane roads at harrowing speeds), the initial culture shock many of us felt has gradually resided, replaced with the joy of exploring a foreign city on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Today, we are going to travel 200mph on a high-speed train to Beijing, where we will spend the weekend with a number of our colleagues on the Phillips team. Once we arrive in Beijing, we are planning on immediately visiting a restaurant famous for Peking Duck and later checking into our hostel, with eight of us sharing a room. Despite being an avid vegetarian, our teammate Sumanth is equally as excited as the rest of us to visit the restaurant.

As our work day winds down, and the thrill of the journey ahead of us begins to set in, I cannot help but reflect on how amazing my team has been. We not only work well together, but everyone has had a great time with each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, and with that I will sign out.


Joe Case

Lake Louise Road Trip!

Team Canada has been cranking out some serious work of late, including all but locking ourselves in the house our last two days in Calgary.  This follows a productive five days in Ottawa filled with meetings. Today we needed to get out of the house.  The weather was supposed to be okay, and turned out to be beautiful, considering just two nights ago it snowed in Calgary!  This was a fortunate turn of events for our trip to Banff National Park, including Lake Louise and Banff (the town).

The full “hike of interest” was 14km, 7km each way, but my personal goal was to make it to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, 5.5km away, not open until June (we found this out later, naturally).


DSC_1712When we arrived at Lake Louise, the first shocker was the amount of ice and snow on the lake!  It was no longer completely frozen, and you could definitely see the beautiful crystal clear water surrounded by snow-capped tree-covered mountains, but the Lake isn’t the same in May.  My previous trip here was in July, when there was no snow on the lake, and the beautiful blue lake surrounded by the lush green on the mountains makes for an unbelievable scene.  Regardless, the view was impressive, but with the girls’ photo rate constant and fast, and the hiking rate was intermittent and slow.  Thanks to Adi for the wonderful pictures.  The team before we started walking:

Compressed Flag at Lake LouiseAnd, then we started the flat walk around to the back side of the lake: ten feet… selfie break… ten feet… selfie break.

Killin' it.

Killin’ it.

And some group shots:DSC_1771After crossing the paths of a lot of other hikers, kids, dogs, and even rock-climbers scaling something gnarly, we made it to the other side of the lake.  The view back to where we started:

Yes we started next to that huge building.

Yes we started next to that huge building.  The one behind the snow covered like and in front of the snow-capped mountains.  Yes, that one.

And, now we came to a decision point.  The next part of the trail to get to the (closed) Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House was no longer along the lake, included some elevation change, and was mostly through the woods.  The shade meant the snow hadn’t melted in many places, and where it had there was mud.  We didn’t trek much further, but decided to head back and check out Banff.

Going Beyond

Always Going Beyond!

Banff is a neat little town nestled between the mountains, but we didn’t do anything too exciting there, just grabbed a bite to eat, some coffee, walked around, and stopped in a few standard tourist shops.  Then it was back to home base to unwind.  Tomorrow will undoubtedly bring more work, our last full day in Calgary.  Then it’s off to Vancouver, before home sweet home in Columbus.

DATA is a Four Letter Word

For seven weeks of Strategy class, all we heard about was how we should appreciate the case exhibits and how difficult good, clean data would be to get in the real world. Well, the real world done slapped us the face. Our project is to find real, total, landed costs of parts in a global supply chain, and compare them to quotes received from suppliers based in China.


Me showing all the data we need to find

SPOILER ALERT: Getting the data you need is hard!

It’s not that they don’t have data, it’s just not what we need. Without access to their IT systems, you have to constantly rely on others to get data, and, in other cases, estimate costs to try to complete the picture. It pretty much reminded us all of this:


Who doesn’t love a nice Zoolander reference? Anyway, on top of all of this, people are busy, and asking them to find time to help students comes in a less than close second to their day-to-day duties. This is not their fault, as their jobs are important, but it is a hindrance.  All in all, we are making progress and are using some methods we learned in Operations class to find some of the data ourselves.  We are confident we can find what we need and provide a strong end product for CVG.


Eating in Tanzania

By Elliott Ethridge

Our group has now been together in country for over a week. During this time, we have experienced an exceptional range of locally sourced and processed foods.

In Zanzibar, the primary source of protein was seafood. Shocker. Groups of fishermen would take anything ranging from a wooden canoe to a wooden hulled sailing vessel out into the Indian Ocean to fish for anything that would bite. Around 6pm, the boats would paddle/sail/motor back to the beaches and moor just off the shore. The children would then take turns hanging from the mooring lines. Fisherman often sold their daily catches to middle men who would take it to the town square and lay it on a layer of newspaper for display. This part was pretty worrisome, as there was no refrigeration whatsoever. Flies were everywhere, and I have a sneaking suspicion that inventory not sold was held for the next day. I ate a lot of rice and fried dough in Zanzibar.

As we migrated to Morogoro, we passed through multiple small roadside markets consisting of shacks selling fruits, vegetables, and various other wares. For dinner, we stopped at a road side restaurant and ate what would turn out to be the first of many meals consisting of fried chicken, rice, and beans. One thing to note in Tanzania is that Indian dishes are popular. Curry is a delicious addition to an otherwise repetitive ingredient list.

A few nights ago, the group just couldn’t stomach any more rice, chicken, and beans. We took a taxi into town and found a restaurant that offered American fare (sort of). Items included “Chicken Kentuck”, “Kenturky Chicken” that was offered “crumbred or fried”, and a “hamburg” described as, “two bun filled with beef parties”. After a 2.5 hour wait, we received our food. On the whole- it wasn’t bad. We were honestly just happy to eat something different and faintly reminiscent of our native cuisine. Since then, we’ve found a wider range of food including a pretty decent pizza and some really tasty bird wings of some sort referred to as “Drums of Heaven”.

Now, we are in transit to Dodoma near the center of Tanzania. My keyboard is covered in crumbs from Alpella Rings – a marshmallow and chocolate covered confection purchased at the last roadside market we passed. They’re pretty good and will serve to hold me over until the next adventure called dinner.

Typical Tanzanian meal of fried whole tilapia with rice, beans, and spinach, washed down with a refreshing mango juice

Typical Tanzanian meal of fried whole tilapia with rice, beans, and spinach, washed down with a refreshing mango juice

“Teaching” Operations and Marketing in Tanzania

By Mike Sargent

Elliott "Teaching" an MBA Operations Class at SUA in Morogoro

Elliott “Teaching” an MBA Operations Class at SUA in Morogoro

We concluded our week in Morogoro by teaching an Operations and Marketing course to MBA students and MSC (Master of Science Agribusiness) students.

This was a deeply humbling experience and an exciting opportunity for us to apply our knowledge from our first year at Fisher. Professor Matta’s and Professor Chandrasekeren’s slide decks were instrumental. But, Professor Dial’s use of interlocking fingers was the single most valuable takeaway, and it proved just as effective in our new culture (or so we hope).

Despite not threatening a participation grade, we were successful in soliciting comments and questions. And, other than Elliott drawing an incorrect diagram on the board for queuing theory, everything went according to plan. We even asked the professor if he had anything to add at the end to which he casually replied; “We presented a good introduction to the topic.”

We feel that we mitigated personal embarrassment and by extension limited damage to Fisher’s strong reputation.

A Poem about a Kenyan Desert

We thought that traveling would be really neat,

We didn’t know that we would be cleaning feet.

A mission trip was outside our project scope;

But, understand the people – that is the hope.

I gathered my thoughts on the bus ride home,

Here is the result: I wrote a poem

Bus Group

The trip began by boarding a bus,

There was barely enough room for all of us.

The twelve hour journey was crowded and rough,

The road was not paved, by the end we’d had enough.


Twelve hours of bumps and a whole lot of dirt,

Limited water and food made my head hurt.

But this trip it is not about all of my woes,

We must get the bugs out of kids’ toes.

Pastor Hirbo greeted us with his famous smile.

One look at his face and the trip was worthwhile.

Jiggers bite the feet and burrow into the skin,

Over one million are effected, where do we begin?

We knew we would be with medical staff in Marsabit

But, we didn’t know that we would be a part of it.

John_Andrew_Me Cleaning

Apprehension was high and nerves were shot,

MBA students yes, but medical students we were not.

We broke into groups and were shown our tools,

Some drove and some walked to the nearby schools.

Wash, soak, rinse, then dry-

The vaseline makes the jiggers go bye.

Ryan Treating

My shoes are red and covered in dirt;

But, that’s nothing compared to how my heart hurts.

We arrived to help make Kenya jigger free

I didn’t know how much it would affect me.

Bus at Village

The kids were strong and tried to smile,

But, the treatment was painful and took a while.

The sight of one boy made my heart break in two,

The jiggers got to his feet and he didn’t know what to do.

Boy with gloves

The shame on his face and pain in his eye,

A lump came to my throat and I started to cry.

I got comfort from my team; we worked as one.

We were committed to help until the treatment was done.

The last step in the process is putting shoes on their feet,

The one-for-one model from Skechers, which was pretty neat.

Putting on Shoes

At the sight of the shoes, the kids formed a line,

All of them wondering – will one of those pairs be mine?

Shoe line

More kids than shoes, a sad realization-

How can we truly help this great nation?

Over 300 were treated with kindness and care,

And jigger prevention they are now well aware.

We debriefed from our days and said our goodbyes,

The impact of this experience was truly a surprise.

Jake Carrying

 We started the journey a bit distressed.

As we leave, we are feeling overwhelmingly blessed.

Farewell to Marsabit and it’s desert air,

This brief look into our trip; I’m glad I could share.


Sometimes you just gotta improvise.

Business trips are not glamorous. One of the downsides of business travel is that the gyms are nowhere near as nice as the RPAC. We have had to improvise to make sure that we stay in shape while working here in Mexico. We’ve been working so hard that we don’t have time to visit the hotel gym. However, good problem solvers are always looking for ways to kill two birds with one stone. We found a dual-use for aluminum castings:

photo (16)


In all seriousness, we’ve learned that the key to business travel survival is to be flexible. It’s uncomfortable to be out of your element and without the luxuries of home, but a great opportunity to learn how to adapt to any situation you get thrown into. We’ve learned to use humor as a coping mechanism—teams that laugh together, thrive. We laugh a lot.


Morogoro Agricultural Experiences

Janet teaches us about native Tanzanian crops that are grown at SAT

Janet teaches us about native Tanzanian crops that are grown at SAT

Naturally-filtered, Rainwater fed tilapia ponds at SAT

Naturally-filtered, rainwater fed tilapia ponds at SAT

By Christian Medeiros

During our stay at SUA, our hosts took us on several field visits to experience Tanzanian agriculture firsthand.

The first visit was a short trip to SUA’s on-campus poultry facilities to take a look at the poultry research trials being conducted with broiler chicks (the kind of chicken you eat).  The trials were testing the effectiveness of small housing units from a South African company that could be used by smallholder farmers to improve their poultry raising methods. The control group was raised with traditional methods, while three test groups varied housing type, heating type, and feed.

Later in the week, we visited a medium sized poultry farm for layers (the kind that produce eggs), which was run by a professor at the university. Undaunted by the hordes of flies and lack of sanitation gear, we stepped into the poultry houses. Along the way, Carlos and the professor discussed the finer points of poultry rearing in Colombia. The farm used small cages like those typically seen in the United States. The professor did mention that they put one less chicken in each cage than the maximum capacity. Apparently this practice leads to higher egg production as the less crowded birds are less stressed. The farm also utilized a biogas system to capture waste from cows and goats so that they don’t have to purchase gas for cooking and heating. 

Our final visit was to Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), an organic farm and training center located outside Morogoro town operated by a husband and wife team, Alex (from Austria) and Janet (from Tanzania). The trip to the farm passed along a very rough road through rural farmland. Along the way, Alex and Janet pointed out different crops and how poorly many of them were growing on smallholder farmer plots. The 2015 rainy season started very late in Morogoro, and so many farmers planted too early, resulting in stunted crops. Even though the rains continued beyond the typical end of the rainy season, it was too late for most plants. The plots that looked better were those that were patient in planting. SAT had to plant their maize three times in order to time it correctly with the beginning of the rains. 

Arriving at SAT, we were greeted by the first dog that I have seen in Tanzania sporting a collar. The grounds at SAT contain many experimental plots that are intercropped to help develop the soil and that utilize as many indigenous species as possible. They also employ a large rainwater catchment system that collects runoff from their buildings and stores it in a large reservoir tank. They had have a reservoir and are trying different trenching techniques to try and increase the catchment area to fill the reservoir. Alex and Janet are very passionate about organic, sustainable agriculture and helping farmers utilize these techniques to increase their income. 

Both vehicles had an interesting ride back to town. Some of our team was swept along at ‘lizard pace’ as our host prodded the driver to hurry and get her back for a meeting, resulting in a very rough ride that left several people disjointed for days. The other car went way down a wormhole when Elliott accidentally mentioned GMOs. All in all, it was a very interesting trip and a great experience to see a different way to farm in Tanzania.

King Solomon – A Zanzibar Legend

By Mike Sargent

Classic antics from King Solomon on the Zanzibar beach

Classic antics from King Solomon on the Zanzibar beach.  Also of note is Mike’s hat.

You may think you know who King Solomon is. Well, what I’m about to tell you will change all of that.

We spent our first weekend in Tanzania adapting to the culture and our new time zone by taking in the sights of Zanzibar. An added bonus was having Kurt Roush join our group.

Forgive me as I digress. Back to King Solomon.

It begins with Christian’s innate ability to identify talent. Christian was able to parse out King Solomon from the army of tour guides and salespeople accosting us at every turn. Whether it was Solomon’s questionable sobriety, crazy tech t-shirt (which we later realized was the only shirt he ever wore), upbeat personality, or just the simple fact that he “randomly” showed up wherever we were, he was the perfect choice.

Never in a thousand years would we have been able to squeeze so much into so little time had it not been for the monumental efforts of King Solomon. On the first day, King Solomon escorted us to a local restaurant and arranged our visit to Jozani Forest. At the forest, we saw wild monkeys leaping among the tree branches and explored a beautiful mangrove.

The next day, we took a boat trip to Prison Island where Zach became known as the “tortoise whisperer.”

Zach encounters a sleeping tortoise on Prison Island

Zach encounters a sleeping tortoise on Prison Island

Tortoise begins to stir

Tortoise begins to stir…

Getting to its feet...

Getting to its feet…

Standing at attention...

Standing at attention…

Later, we hopped back on our boat and fished while heading to a local snorkeling spot. It was amazing that some of us actually caught fish: we were neither using rods nor reels! (I must pause now for a special shout out to Elliott for miraculously snagging two fish at the same time.)

After snorkeling, we all swam back to the sand dune to swap stories about what we saw. However, instead we found two of our crewmembers taking turns slamming something on the sand. We watched for ten to fifteen minutes until we figured out the recipient of the beating was an octopus – and later our calamari stew. The funny thing is that it still had the texture of a Goodyear tire so the abusive efforts were likely in vain.

Well tenderized octopus meat

Well tenderized octopus meat

On the way back to Zanzibar, Carlos almost caused significant damage when he slipped on the boat narrowly missing the charcoal fire burning in the hull. This happened three times.

Solomon and team huddled around a hot stove while at sea in a small wooden boat

Solomon and team huddled around a hot stove while at sea in a small wooden boat

After returning to Zanzibar, we relaxed in the beach bar with Solomon. His final legendary act was to facilitate the purchase of our team Tanzania soccer jerseys for $7.50 each.

Sunset, Beach, and New Jersey

Sunset, Beach, and New Jerseys

In closing, I would like to offer the easiest way to find Solomon on Zanzibar: simply listen for “Kichizi Kama Ndizi (crazy like banana)” – King Solomon’s favorite saying.