The CEE experience: Work, sunsets and amazing food

When talking about Central and Eastern Europe, sometimes people still have an old-fashioned communist image of the countries in this region. However, 30 years after the fall of the iron curtain, CEE countries have much more to offer than many expect. Besides beautiful landscapes, the business environment in these countries is particularly interesting because of its fast-moving pace. We, the students of the Master Class 2017/2018, had the great opportunity and pleasure to get profound business insights from managers in the CEE region, to embrace the CEE spirit and get charmed by amazing cities in Hungary and Bulgaria.

The Master Class Central & Eastern Europe (MC CEE) is a compact and practice-oriented university program led by Competence Center for Emerging Markets & Central and Eastern Europe at the WU. During the two semesters, we attended classes about the history and current business topics in CEE and engaged in a research project. This year our research was focused on the current challenges of HR in CEE for which we collected data from secondary research and more importantly through insight talks with our corporate partners and our two field trips to Hungary and Bulgaria. Besides the company visits, we also conducted interviews with HR departments of other companies who operate in the CEE region to get first-hand information about the challenges and opportunities in this market. Time flew by and in June it was time to present the findings in front of our colleagues and partners, and unfortunately say goodbye to the Master Class CEE programme.

However, the best thing about the Master Class CEE is that it is not only theory, but you also go into the field. As business students, there is not much that beats getting first-hand information from top managers of well-established companies like Siemens, Erste Bank, VIG, Henkel, Mondi, Bosch, BlackRock and many many more. When else do we get the opportunity to meet so many top managers and ask any curiosity we have about building up a business, managing people or discuss where the business world is going?

Besides the business part, the field trips are also a lot of fun. We got the see Budapest covered by snow, watch beautiful sunsets from the seven hills of Plovdiv, eat traditional dishes in fantastic restaurants and learn that people from the CEE region are amazing hosts. Therefore, when looking back to the last nine months, we can say that we have achieved a lot. Of course, we are proud of what we learned and what we found out in our research project. But more importantly, we are proud of the team we have become and the friendships we have built. We started the program as 25 individual students from 8 different study programs and 11 different countries, and we ended the program as one group of close friends. Together we have traveled to different countries, introduced each other to our local cultures, celebrated our birthdays and successes and had fun together after long study and work days. We have become a team in which everyone found his/her own place and which is always open to new adventures.

Are you interested?

We, the students of the 2018/19 CEE Master Class, hope that the program will continue to exist in the future, to teach many more students about CEE and experience a year full of adventures. This sounds like an experience you also wish to make while studying at WU? Apply by October 18, 2018 for the Master Class CEE 2018/19. Here’s more information.