So….and where exactly is this „Central and Eastern Europe“ located?
When it comes to studying at WU Vienna, one always learns new things. Zhivka Dangarska, Gersa Tome und Luada Torotook part in last semester’s Master Class CEE program and not only took the chance to learn and travel with each other, but also discovered the true colours of Central and Eastern Europe.
It all started in the beginning of the winter term 2016, when we found out about the Master Class CEE program. Well, it sounded interesting and horizon widening, it sounded challenging and demanding, it also sounded prestigious and promising – enough reasons for every masochistic WU master student to sign up for a year of extra effort and no free time. The truth is that most of us didn’t even know which countries exactly are covered by the term Central and Eastern Europe. Probably we googled it all just before the interview with professor Schuh. But at least we knew that it is not the same Europe, as the Europe we were currently living in, and we were all eager to learn more about the it. Soon we were going to find out that it is a lot more than knowledge t this program offers.
Austria, and more precisely Vienna, is a center where a vast variety of cultures coexist in harmony, and in the same time it is a place where the old Austrian traditions and spirit are preserved. Probably this is one of the reasons that brought us all to study at WU in first place. But maybe it is also due to the fact that Vienna has always been the connection between the East and the West in economic terms. It is probably a logical (and geographically closer) option for young and motivated CEE bright minds to make their first step towards conquering the career battlefield of the West…
Look to the East
But somehow each of us, who joined the Master Class, had his/her reasons to look to the East. Some of us came from the region and wanted to go back some day, bringing best practices back home to improve the local standards. Some had spent a semester or more in a CEE country and had fallen in love with its people, culture and spirit. Others realized the market potential and thought about opportunities of doing business with companies from the region. Well, the program provided everyone with the thing they came for. It more than met all our expectations by combining theoretical knowledge with hands-on and „eyes-on” experience. We now not only know more about the countries, but we also understand the why and how of their economic development till know. We have seen the way they are doing business and innovation. We have explored their strengths and weaknesses, their drivers and show stoppers. We met in person some of their local champions – wise leaders and bold entrepreneurs…
Be wise and bold
Besides unquestionably valuable knowledge and experience, the Master Class CEE also brought to us many unforgettable moments together. To work and travel together with 18 intelligent, highly motivated and likeminded people, is something that inspires you and brings the best out of you. We all put our hearts into the common project and supported each other, which lead to a final outcome that we could all be proud of. It is hard to describe this rare and rewording feeling, when you see that the hard work and several sleepless nights had paid off in the end.
Of course we also had our bad moments – we had our fights and our misunderstandings, we had our doubts and desperations, but we were able to overcome them in a really professional way. In situations like those, we found our leaders and pushed each other to give our best. But honestly, we were not just colleagues – we became friends, and we have collected lots of precious memories of our time together… A confession that some of us made after the program, was that out of all the networking and business connections that we could acquire as part of the program, the most valuable ones, were those that we built among each other. So thank you Master Class for bringing us together!
There was one thing that we all agreed on at the end of the year – Master Class CEE was the best thing that has happened to us during our Masters studies at WU and we are going to miss it a lot.