As it being ‘one of the greatest projects’ of FAECTOR, we simply had to write an article about it: the business trip. For this, we had an interview with Alex, one of the members of the committee who organized the trip. As the external officer, he was responsible for acquiring companies and overseeing the acquisition process. We discussed the main ideas of the trip, things that surprised him most, and gained some insights on the recent trip to Seoul, South Korea.
The business trip organized by FAECTOR is a trip to a foreign country, specifically a country outside of Europe, with the goal of investigating foreign culture and the way businesses operate there. It is important that during the trip, there’s a balance between social, cultural and business activities, meaning that while it includes fun activities like going to bars and experiencing local culture, the focus is on gaining insights into the foreign business world.
The group of 22 gained these insights during the inhouse days they had in Seoul. The trip included five during which they visited five different companies. Consisting of presentations, visits around the office, and case studies, the inhouse days provided the participants with a unique opportunity to learn about international businesses in the field of econometrics. After these business-oriented days, the group had time to enjoy fun activities such as going to bars and experiencing the local culture. ‘My favorite activity happened really spontaneously,’ Alex says. One of the participants suggested going to a baseball game, which apparently is highly favored by South-Koreans, and it turned out to be a great idea. Everyone had a great time enjoying the festival-like atmosphere of the game. ‘It was a blast.’
Seoul turned out to be full of positive surprises on all fronts. First and foremost, the participants of the business trip were taken aback by the open-mindness and hospitality of Koreans. Even though you might need to be the one who breaks the ice, as soon as you reach out for it, you will always find an open hand to help you a little with whatever you’re struggling with. As Alex said, asking someone for directions you don’t just get an instruction, but you have a good chance of a sympathetic person walking with you to make sure you reach your goal. The open-minded spirit had an effect on the business world as well. Historically, Korea has been known for its extremely strict business culture and stiff, hierarchical organizational structures. Although, you still can feel the chaebols’ legacy, as Alex explained, more and more companies are embracing a more relaxed approach where the the CEO resides in an open space with other employees and everyone is encouraged to come up with their own initiatives and stay open-minded instead of just fulfilling the tasks of their specific role.
We’re sure that everyone involved in the business trip learned a lot. For Alex - as one of the people responsible for organizing this great event - the most pronounced lesson was the importance of planning. While not everyone might be aware of this, it really takes a whole year to organize the business trip. There are thousands of details to consider, but the committee does its very best to be well prepared for many scenarios to ensure a great experience for all participants. As Alex points out, many times good planning enabled them to avoid challenges and save unnecessary stress.
Overall, the business trip is an invaluable experience for anyone interested in international business and culture. It offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain insights into the business world of a foreign country while also experiencing its local culture. The recent trip to Seoul exceeded expectations and offered positive surprises on all fronts. The open-mindedness and hospitality of the Koreans left a lasting impression, as did the evolving business culture in the country. We're sure that the Business Trip Committee will continue on delivering so make sure to stay informed and apply next year!