Transylvania, Kittens, and Tripe
TEM Lab, Fall 2018
Written by Justin Hutchings
Welcome to the consulting adventures of Team HAIR+Z, brought to you by Justin Hutchings, Parker Andrus, Ian Blotter, Robert LaMacchia, and Zachary Garcia. We are second-year Master of Global Management students at Thunderbird School of Global Management. We are classmates, friends, and fellow adventure seekers.
We recently arrived in Romania to work with a small IT company in the northwest city of Cluj-Napoca: ServUsTECH. The name ServUsTECH is a play on a Romanian phrase meaning “service to all”. They provide solutions in the application, web, cloud, hardware, and firmware space, leveraging the rapid adoption of IoT in Eastern Europe and beyond. We will be establishing a marketing and sales plan for entry into the US market, while also providing cultural, sales, and marketing training to the ServUsTECH team.
Romania is home to Transylvania, Dracula and his castle (affectionately pronounced with a hard “t” by the Romanians), and a recent history of Communism. This Eastern European country shares borders with Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and the Black Sea. It is a place where less than 50 years ago a common mode of transportation was horse and buggy, and a bloody revolution just 30 years ago removed the people from the oppressive rule of Communism.
Our travel to Eastern Europe came with long flights, jet lag, flight-sharing with a professional sports team, and a serendipitous run-in at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport with Thunderbird’s very own Professor Richard Ettenson.
While adjusting to a time zone 6,244 miles (10,048 km) from home, we have dealt with the discomfort of infections and stomach bugs, enjoyed the thrill of a new culture and the beauty of European architecture mixed with the drab of Communist-influenced design, and were fueled by the excitement of meeting our client and understanding his business.
Our every day is filled with learning the stories of people, from the employees of ServUsTECH to the cab drivers to the random stranger who was willing to answer a question. If you were along for the ride, you might find us enjoying meals of tripe soup, sausages with wedge potato fries, a cabbage dish called Varză à la Cluj, or finishing an evening with gelato (every evening, of course). We could be spotted on early-morning runs, playing pick-up games of basketball with local youth at Central Park, making a fool of ourselves on the installed park exercise equipment, or playing with the resident kitten at the entrance to our apartment complex.
Wherever it is you find us, or whatever it is we are doing, you can be sure we are enjoying the life of T-birds abroad.