Ciao! Il mio nome è Olivia Drohan! (Hello! My name is Olivia Drohan!). This is just one thing I have learned from the weekly Sunday meetings held in Benedum Hall. I will be traveling to Italy for the Pitt Plus 3 Program and I couldn’t be more excited! I am a freshman in the College of Business Administration and am thinking of majoring in marketing or human resources.
The pre-departure meetings have been extremely helpful. During the first meeting, we began to get to know each other with the “All About Me” presentations. I think it is important to be comfortable with the people I am traveling with in order to have a better experience on the trip. In addition, we covered the essentials for packing and for exchanging currency. I now know that it is important to pack lightly and to bring comfortable walking shoes. Heels + cobblestone do not go well together. I also now know how to handle my cell phone bill while abroad. I am also more prepared for Italy because I did not know that the Italians only use the chip, so I had to order a new debit card! Thanks to the first meeting, I feel confident that I will bring everything I need. At the end of the meeting, we discussed our first reading from Hugos that introduced us to supply chain management.
During the second meeting, supply chain management was the main focus. Since we will be studying the supply chains within the fashion industries in Italy, this was very useful! I learned how supply chains differ depending on the company or product. Each group presented the supply chain of a specific product. My group oversaw Polyester Fabric. It was interesting to see how far “back” the supply chain reached to all the raw materials. There is a lot more that goes into polyester than I was ever aware of. When managing supply chains, companies also have to be aware of aspects such as sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
For the third meeting, we learned about the culture of the Italians and the do’s and don’ts when we go. Each group presented a different topic about the norms of Italy such as values, attitudes, land, and people. Something interesting that I learned was that you do not tip the waiters in Italy and that you must ask for the check. I am excited to have “my own table” when I eat out in Italy. My group gave the “business briefing.” This topic was especially important for me because I am a business student. I learned that the Italians are much more laid back when it comes to making business decisions. They also appreciate formal business meetings, usually over a drawn-out dinner. Learning about the culture beforehand has prepared me for what to expect when I travel to Europe and how to react accordingly. In addition to the presentations, we focused on the six dimensions of wellness: physical, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, social, and emotional. I know that to truly have the best experience abroad, I must be healthy in these aspects.
One of the most useful assignments was when each group presented one of the companies we will be visiting. Before this, I was not familiar with any of them. We will be visiting five companies: MF1, Sculoa del Cuoio, Bottega Velasca, Consorzio Della Moda, and Mantero Seta Spa. My group focused on the Consorzio Della Moda. This company is a little different from the others. It was created by a group of businesses and now members around 40 fashion businesses. I am excited to finally see the Consorzio Della Moda in action after spending a week researching it. During the meeting, I learned about the supply chain of each company, where they are located, the products and services provided, the competition, and much more. When we visit the companies, it is important to have questions to ask. We prepared for this by writing down questions we had about each company. The four pre-departure meetings have made me prepared as well as excited for my trip to Italy. I am ready to apply the things I have learned in the classroom to the real world!