Blogging abroad: Kelley School students in London

Kelley School students are studying abroad in London over spring break, during a course called Topics in International Business: Brexit, Business and Brits.

Over 11 days, the students will explore London, learning about the basics of how business is conducted in the UK.

Students will also learn about the historic vote to leave the European Union in 2016, as well as the impact to business, government and the citizens of the UK.

Each day, a different group of students will send back their own account of the day.

Read along as they recount their experiences in London.

Day One: Kelley Takes on London

By: Julie Pettypool and Ericka Coomer, BS'20

Excitement streams through us each morning as we prepare to hit the streets of London. Breakfast at the hotel helps to keep us full with all sorts of international delights such as a traditional English breakfast with poached eggs, toast, bacon and tomatoes.

After breakfast, we walked out into a rare London day … The sun was shining! Along with some rays, we took in some good London air as the group gathered to get instructions for the day.

A short walk down the street led us to our first double-decker bus, which took us to see the Queen’s Life Guard change. This means that we stood in a circle of gravel in an open space between government buildings in Whitehall and a pond across the street. We watched two different groups of elegantly dressed horsemen yell out instructions and excellently navigate their horses into formations.

Our transportation team then led us to 10 Downing Street, where we chatted with the gate guards and were tipped off that someone important was coming through sometime soon.

So, we waited and got to see the guards' protocol of opening the gates. We may have been witness to the arrival of a diplomat in London.

 

Kelley student plays ping pong at Marble Arch, while his classmates look on.  

A brisk walk down some London streets led us to Marble Arch and Speaker’s Corner. We engaged with others standing around the area. A Kelley student quickly grabbed a paddle and started playing ping pong with a man at Marble Arch, and the game felt fun and relaxed.

Speaker’s Corner had a tense vibe to it due to a protest, and there were many police officers in neon green jackets keeping the peace. As we moved through the gates into Hyde Park, we encountered open spaces with speakers poised and ready to preach to anyone passing.

A Kelley student engaged with a speaker along with other members of the group, and we all got a good feeling of the goings on in the Speaker’s Corner.

The adventure didn’t stop there. We also got a spectacular tour of Tower Bridge, and we even got to see the Engine Rooms with their room-size, green-painted engines!

The tour gave us a good grasp at the scale of the brilliant ingenuity of the British.

 

London's Tower Bridge.  

Our day as a group ended with a sighting of the Crown Jewels, which shimmered in splendid glory.

Their colors and designs impressed us, and we actually went back through the section of glass casings holding the crowns to get a second take.

The rain held off till the very end of the day.

We look forward to more exciting times ahead, as we continuously learn more about London's history, culture and business world.

SLIDESHOW: More photos from the first day in London.

Dictum Meum Pactum: My Word is My Bond

By: Abigail Gomez, BS'18; Maurice Reeves, BS'18

Greetings from across the Atlantic!

Today, the Kelley students in London had a wonderful day full of learning and sightseeing.

Our first destination was the original square mile of London that is now known as the Financial District. Many of the major companies that operate out of London are located here.

Thanks to the Insiders of London, we were able to see many of the city's historic preserved buildings and its marvelous new skyscrapers. We learned that Londoners call this seeing “The Old & The New.”

On our tour we had the opportunity to see Lloyd’s of London, the Bank of England, and even the first coffeehouse of London.

Did you know that coffee was originally brought to London by a Syrian slave? Before coffee became popular in England, the Brits enjoyed a pint of gin while trying to conduct business. Needless to say, after the advent of coffee they were much more productive.

The design of Lloyd’s will leave you speechless and probably a little confused.

The building is like no other in the world of its feature of being inside out. The tubing and even the elevators of the insurance company can be seen from the street.

The architecture of the building is so unique that it is now listed as a historical attic fact although being built not too long ago compared to others around the city.

As we strolled to the Financial District, we came across the Bloomberg office in London.

For any student who has had Professor Steele, I am sure you will understand the significance of actually seeing their award-winning office in the city of London.

Although our walking tour came to an end, our day did not!

We ended our walking tour of the Square Mile at the London Stock Exchange. From the outside of the building, it would be incredibly hard guess what was inside.

This is because the London Stock Exchange is a bit more “humble,” as compared to our New York Stock Exchange that you may be familiar with.

Additionally, this exchange does NOT have a trading floor. They use an electronic platform to trade.

While at the London Stock Exchange, we received a private lecture from Paul Meadows.

Paul Meadows is Chartered Financial Analyst and teaches courses through Chadley House Training. He provided us with an in-depth look at how the equity capital financial markets work.

During our lecture we had a challenge to see who could guess the closing price of the FTSE100, which is an index of 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange by market capitalization. The winner was Parker Criswell, BS'19, who had the closest guess to its eventual closing price.

Today was the perfect balance of learning and tourism. We are super excited to see what tomorrow holds in store for us! Cheerio!

 

Tuesday, March 13 - The Modern London

By: Meghan Ziegler, BS '20, and Matt Sidor, BS '18

 The day began with a tour of the Silicon Roundabout in the East End of London. Formerly a shipping district, the East End has since been transformed over the past 15 years into London’s tech hub. We learned that these startup companies were originally attracted because of the low rent. The area has since been transformed, and even as our group was exiting the Tube, shops were scattered throughout the station showing the life and growth of the area. One of these shops was Nincomsoup, which accepts Bitcoin as an acceptable form of payment and even has a Bitcoin ATM.

After meeting with our guide, we began our walking tour. Thankfully the rain held off, and we enjoyed a brisk London morning. We visited the White Collar Factory, which is one of London’s emerging coworking offices. As well as startups, White Collar Factory also is the home to companies such as Adobe, Capital One, and Box.com.

With the growth of the district, the skyline is rapidly filling with modern apartments and offices. We walked through the streets lined with trendy stores and restaurants. This fast-paced and exciting area houses London’s most innovative companies, such as Google and Moo. Practically hidden within the modern buildings is Hoxton Square. This historic square has been the center of the community for hundreds of years and now connects those in the tech industry.

 

We ended the tour at the Google Campus. From there, we hurried across the river towards the U.S. Embassy. Opened in January of this year, the U.S. Embassy in London is the largest in Europe. The size makes it an imposing building in the surrounding skyline. We made our way through security and into the building. We were immediately faced by the massive Seal of the United States. The grandeur of the facility was as inescapable as it was breathtaking.

            We were led to a conference room in one of the upper levels of the building. There we gathered around a panel of members of the economic, security, and public affairs outreach departments. We were given the opportunity to hear a little about their work, and they also fielded (perhaps more like volleyed) questions. Eventually, we had to let them get back to their work. We certainly walked away with far greater insight than we had come in with.

            We then left the embassy to continue our journey. Our next mission was to explore some of the local culture. We returned to our side of the river to go to St Martin’s Theatre. There were a few hours between our departure from the embassy and the start of our show. Many of us took the opportunity to sample some of the local pubs (very important in British culture).

Afterwards, we arrived at the theatre and took our seats. We enjoyed a lovely performance of Agatha Christie’s The Mouse Trap, which has been showing for 66 years. At the end of this thrilling performance, we were instructed not to reveal the outcome of the play in order to preserve the story for future audiences. We strongly recommend you visit St Martin’s Theatre to find out for yourselves who did it!

Day Five: A Change of Pace

By: Thatch Gbur, BS ‘20, and Kaleb Britton, BS ‘19

After spending several days making our way through London’s bustling city scape, a day spent in a classroom felt welcoming and relaxing.

The classrooms of Regent’s University London have a much more subdued atmosphere than the tube stations adjacent to its campus. Regent’s University has strong American ties and offers UK and US degree programs.

The campus is represented very well internationally, with students hailing from over 140 different countries. Only twenty percent of the university’s students are British Nationals, with the rest of the university’s student body being international.

Kaleb and I vary greatly in our political opinions, but it was coincidental that we would be collaborating on this write-up after a day spent learning about the political implications of Brexit. Three professors from Regent University’s School of Business provided their differing viewpoints of Brexit during our day spent at Regent’s. Since Kaleb and I fall on opposite ends of the political spectrum, we decided to share our different opinions which were shaped by today’s lectures.

Thatch’s Opinion and Takeaways:

The United Kingdom and the United States share similar political environments currently. The US and the UK each experienced political shocks in 2016, with the Britons voting to leave the European Union, and the Americans electing Donald Trump as president. There are several similarities to each occurrence, both in what lead up to the events and the aftermath of them. Donald Trump and the Leave campaign both provided individuals who felt that they were being suppressed and silenced a platform for their voice to be heard. Hillary Clinton fared well in districts with large, urban populations, and had a commanding control of the millennial vote. Similarly, boroughs in the United Kingdom that housed major cities and many young people overwhelmingly voted to Remain.

The Leave campaign focused on access to goods, services, and capital, and the people that interact with those goods, services, and capital. The campaign stressed the importance of immigration policy reform. This connected well with individuals in rural communities who were heavily affected by the increased competition in the workforce stemming from increased immigration originating from non-EU countries.

The aftermath of Brexit is indeterminable until the leave occurs. The leave is scheduled to be finalized at 11 PM on March 29th, 2019. The issue is not black and white, the United Kingdom can face varying degrees of change after the leave. Before March 29th, 2019, however, the United Kingdom must find a way to address the 3,000,000 European nationals that reside in the United Kingdom currently. The United Kingdom must also deal with the phasing out of European Union laws as well as the restructuring of trade agreements. 

Kaleb’s Opinion and Takeaways:

It must be said that the choice of the UK to exit the European Union (EU) will come with some setbacks, though as was discussed today they may not be as impactful as initially thought. The choice made by the people of the UK to leave the EU was one which came from a socioeconomic divide caused by the mass immigration permitted by EU policy. The allowance of open labor mobilization allowed for immigrants from other European countries to mass migrate into rural communities. These immigrants were willing to work decreased wages which saturated the job market put many rural citizens out or work. While the EU policies worked well in heavily populated cities such as London, it was doing so at the expense of the livelihoods of local families in the name of globalization. The move toward independence from the EU allows the United Kingdom to control the amount of immigrant workers, negotiate trade deals which are unregulated by the EU, and have judicial independence. Leaving the European Union allows the UK many freedoms it lost from joining an alliance which is beginning to deteriorate.

Thatch and I may have two opposing views on Britain’s choice to leave the European Union, but they are derived from the in-depth lecture provided by the esteemed lecturers at Regent's University London. The opportunity to be immersed in the current political issues going on in the UK has been a valuable lesson on both the impacts of globalism and how countries should respond to the changes caused by it.

SLIDESHOW: Images from Regent's University and students' Thursday adventures in London.