Kelley students reflect on experiences in London

A group of Kelley students are spending their spring break in London this year.

The course is called Topics in International Business: Brexit, Business & Brits: An experiential course examining power, politics and economics in the United Kingdom.

Students are learning about the historic vote to exit the European Union in June 24, 2016, and the impact to business, government and citizens of the UK.

March 13, 2017: My Word is My Bond

By: Victoria Sefcsik, MacKenzie Stratton, and Kurtis Oldiges

Today was an especially exciting day abroad with our fellow Kelley students! We had the chance to tour the financial district of London as well as the London Stock Exchange!

The diversity in this city is incredible and the sights are a lot to take in. Although we don’t have a language barrier, there are cultural differences and throughout this trip we’ve conversed with locals, taken the Tube, and immersed ourselves into the culture!

Here are some of our experiences so far:

For the tour of the financial district, we had a walking tour guided by Insiders of London. We learned about the history of London’s financial district and our guide’s opinions on Brexit. There are many large investment banking and insurance firms in London.

Our group walked to Guildhall, where the Lord Mayor stays and is the center of the City of London. We learned that the City of London is separate from London as a whole. Square mile is the original city of London from when it first began. The remnants of the wall built around the City of London can still be seen today.

At Leadenhall Market, we learned that it was used to film Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, which was neat to learn about. Our tour also included the sight of the Bank of England, and the head of the bank is thought to be the “defender of the currency.”

After we finished the walking tour, we went to the London Stock Exchange Group. It was much different than the New York Stock Exchange in that there was no trading floor.

While we were there, we had the great opportunity to hear from Paul Meadows, who has been heavily involved in the London Stock Exchange throughout his career.

Through his lecture, we had a good short discussion about the distinctions of the London Stock Exchange Group.

The London Exchange group motto was the major element that stayed with us and many of our fellow Kelley students, which was “My Word is My Bond.”

Silicon Roundabout, Lloyds of London and Mousetrap: March 14, 2017

Blog By: Jaycob Vance & Daniel Shepple

This week has been the adventure of a lifetime! Learning everything from the history of the oldest subway system in the world, the challenges/opportunities of Brexit, finding our own adventures and much more has made for an exciting week!

Today, we were able to do a walking tour of Silicon Roundabout, or “Tech City” as named by former prime minister David Cameron, took a tour of Lloyds of London to learn the history of insurance underwriting, and we saw the oldest running play in the world, Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie.

Tech City is compared to our Silicon Valley in the United States. In London, it is much more historical, with companies embracing a graffiti-style art on buildings, sidewalks and even construction zones. This what not what we expected going into the “Tech City” part of London.

Next, we took a tour of Lloyds of London, where we learned how the “unsinkable” Titanic was insured. Insurance underwriting still takes on the traditional ways of business, dating back to the coffeehouse days on the Thames River. Brokers do not set appointments with underwriters; they are required to wait in line and sit on a stool to the side of the desk while they make their pitch. The stool was added within the past 50 years, as a respect to women as they made their way into the industry.

Mousetrap is the most complex mystery to figure out! From the very beginning, it was a very intriguing story keeping everyone on the edge of their seat the entire play. Sitting in the oldest theater with three levels was very interesting; sitting in the second row makes it even better! We can’t say how the play ends though, you’ll have to make the trip to London and see for yourself!

Today’s activities mixed the future with the past. We were able to explore the hip technology hub, while also exploring the roots of the insurance industry. We were able to walk through a neighborhood that had been destroyed by the Blitz, while traveling inside a state of the art “inside-out” building.

As our tour guide explained this morning, things are ever changing in the business world, and London displays this idea perfectly.

March 15, 2017: Adventures at Uni

By: Ashlyn Zufall & Jaci Zook

Greetings from across the pond!

Our adventures continued today when we stepped into the shoes of a typical university (or “uni” as the locals call it) student in London, as we attended two lectures taught by Alan Sitkin (an American!) and Ibrahim Sirkeci at Regent’s University.

We learned about the possible effects Brexit might have on the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States in years to come, as well as some of the basic economic and political structures in the UK.

Each lecturer gave us an overview of Brexit from their point of view, including personal opinions on the entire decision and resulting ramifications, which allowed us to gain a better understanding of what some of the locals may be feeling.

The more we learned about how tumultuous 2016 was for Great Britain, the more we realized how much it paralleled our own situations with the 2016 presidential election year back home.

Many of the contributing factors, including immigration and a desire for change from the historic status quo, fueled the dramatic decisions that were made and changed the face of each nation. Having had personal experience with a similar situation helped us to better understand the weight of this decision more fully.

Afterwards, we left the classroom and headed into the basement of the university to meet some students and faculty members at a mixer.

They even had posters welcoming us to campus and inviting students to come meet us.

During our conversations, we learned that Regent’s University represents over 130 different nationalities, including some Americans! 

Many of the students there were also in the business school, and some others were interns from Italy.

By hanging out and socializing with the students, we gained a deeper appreciation for the British culture, chatted with young adults from all over the globe and learned about some fun things to do in our free time during the rest of the week.

Finally, we ended the day by splitting into groups to eat, shop, or watch a play before turning in for the evening.

We ended our day at Piccadilly Circus, which some say is like the Times Square of London.

This trip is flying by so quickly, and we are thoroughly enjoying all the exciting tours, history and culture of the wonderful city of London.

We are so excited for what the rest of the week holds! Cheerio!

March 16, 2017

Blog By: Stephanie Atallah and Shelby Caulk

Hello from the Kelley Londoners!

Today was an exciting day because we were able to explore the historical Westminster Abbey.

On our way to the Abbey we walked down Whitehall and were able to see the Prime Minister’s home located at 10 Downing Street.

While viewing the PM’s residence, a man recognized our Kelley padfolios and introduced himself as an IU alumnus. Jason Chapman is the Assistant Attaché for the US Secret Service stationed in London. We were able to chat with him for just a few moments as he was on his way to escort the United States’ Secretary of the Treasury to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Once we arrived at the Abbey, we immediately noticed its gothic-style architecture. Not only is it beautiful, but it also holds the remains of some of the most renowned historical figures.

Rebuilt by King Edward the Confessor almost a thousand years ago, the Abbey was once a monastery; however, it now serves as a place of worship and royal celebration, including weddings and coronations.

During our tour of the Abbey, we were able to see the exact spot in the main sanctuary where Sir Elton John played the piano at Lady Diana’s funeral as well as the burial place for Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. We were also able to visit the tomb of Queen Elizabeth I and her sister Queen Mary as well as Mary Queen of Scots. One of the last stops on our tour was Poets’ Corner which commemorates famous literary figures including William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Edgar Allen Poe.

During our lunch break, we decided to bask in the London culture by trying traditional British cuisine. We stopped by the Marlborough Head and ordered ourselves Shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. We enjoyed getting to try this new cuisine (even the mushy peas!).

Our final visit of the day was to the US Embassy.

We were lucky to be a part of one of the last visits to the US Embassy at its historical location in Mayfair. The Embassy will soon be moving to a new location in South London.

At the Embassy, our class had the opportunity to speak to three employees: Dan, Dave and Mark. The men spoke to us about their diverse backgrounds, experiences and responsibilities at the Embassy. We learned about how they maintained a work-life balance while overseas as well as the importance the Embassy places on family integration while stationed abroad. The men explained to us that they go through extensive cultural and language training in order to easily acclimate into the foreign culture of their new station.

After our academic studies, we were able to explore London and the famous Abbey Road Studios.

This program has been absolutely amazing and transformational.

We have been able to see the merge of historical London with the modern, cutting-edge business hub that it is known for today.

Through these experiences we have been able to achieve our class’ learning objectives of cultural integration and global business awareness. Although our program is coming to an end, we are excited to make the most of the next few days in this beautiful city.

Shelby and Stephanie

March 17, 2017: A Journey to Windsor Castle

By: Jennifer Cukrowicz & Brittany Staley

Yesterday was our “free day,” which was both a blessing and a curse. We had open reign to explore whatever attraction in or near London; however, this meant that we had to narrow down which of the thousands of sights and activities we wanted to see. We chose to travel roughly 40 kilometers to Windsor, to explore Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle is nearly one-thousand years old and was initially constructed by William the Conquerer in 1070 as a method to secure access to West London and provide grounds for hunting.

Today, it is better known as Her Majesty the Queen’s vacation home, where many members of The Royal Family stay and travel to for events and leisure. State leaders, monarchs and presidents from all over the globe also reside at Windsor Castle when they find themselves visiting the monarchy.

Besides being absolutely breathtaking, Windsor Castle is an obvious attest to how the British people admire, respect, and preserve the tradition of the monarchy. While some British citizens may not agree there should be a monarchy system in place, nor an apolitical figurehead, it is clear that the sites remaining from this historical system are a major factor in their tourism economy.

Later that evening, all students, faculty, and staff headed to the historic restaurant, Simpson’s in the Strand. Simpson’s has been serving its patrons for over 185 years, including acclaimed figures such as Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Winston Churchill. Simpson’s was known for providing a relief for the dark times of The Blitz during World War II.

Many guests would find themselves in the theater or dining room while right outside, bombs were being dropped above their heads. Today, it is an honor to sit in a restaurant with such meaning and historical significance.

At the end of the meal, we presented our program director with a note of thanks and a pennant from Regent’s University, who had hosted our group this week and coordinated many of our learning experiences.