Arrival at Moscow
This is the day, MBA SCM Course 9 will commence our first trip outside the borders of cozy & safe Switzerland.
14 of the trip participants had ended up booking the same flight, LX1326 from Zürich, and even some effort had been spent to seat all of us together.
Roughly an hour before boarding, familiar faces start to appear in the newly opened terminal section “B”, slowly grouping together at the bar close to our gate. From the outfit it seems that everyone took very seriously the warnings about the cold winter of Mother Russia.
Boarding complete. Some 30 minutes behind schedule, the Swiss Airbus A321 takes off and heads for Moscow. We would have some claims to Swiss about the flight, Georg did not get the requested no alcohol-no sugar menu, and also the side order of extra fries obviously had been forgotten, that many of us requested. I don’t even want to get started about the requested group seating, let’s just say it didn’t work out.
The flight arrived on time, and at the Domodedovo airport we were received by Anna, from Lomonosov Moscow State University. Unexpectedly, we had a bus transport waiting for us to the hotel.
The traffic in Moscow is well known for being always jammed, therefore we were happy that on Sunday evening there was hardly any traffic. After a much quicker than expected transfer we arrived at the hotel in good spirit.
At the Park Inn hotel we started to see more familiar faces, course members who had arrived via different routes, some already taking a few days head start. It seems everyone made it without being robbed, losing their kidneys, or just getting lost, so everything looked good.
In the evening, most of us enjoyed dinner at the restaurant of our own hotel, naturally with an open end at the bar afterwards. The time difference of +3 hours made it very easy to stay up late, and very hard to get up in the morning.
All in all things didn’t feel that different being in Moscow, the same group of people, drinking together, getting ready for another day at the school. Be it Moscow or somewhere else, it seems it’s our group that makes the atmosphere, not that much the location.
The first actual day of the trip started with a standard breakfast at our hotel. Our day was to include the morning at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, in the afternoon a visit to a construction materials company called Knauf, and in the evening we would still be treated with a 3-hour roundtrip in the night of Moscow.
We were supposed to walk from the hotel to the university (which is supposed to be nearby), so everyone wrapped themselves in arctic gear and got ready for the transition at 8:45 at the lobby. As it turned out, the distance was very “nearby”, maybe 50 meters from the hotel entrance, so our preparation was not required.
Development of the Russian State
We were given an introduction into the development of the Russian State, starting from the very early days ranging back to Roman Empire and Mongols. Dr. Alexander Lazutkin explained very clearly why Russia has become what it is today, and also his opinion of the future. He personally didn’t seem to have too high hopes for Russia, the options are either to join the EU, or to die within the next 50 years. All in all a very enlightening presentation, and some food for thought for all of us.
Knauf company visit
After a Japanese-style lunch, our bus was waiting to take us to Knauf, which is located just at the city border of Moscow. We were shown around their production facilities, and we saw how different construction materials are produced. Before and after the factory tour, we were explained by various people the supply chain of Knauf, and what problems they are facing with it.
One of the big issues in Russia that we discovered was the poor condition of the country’s infrastructure, which is clearly slowing down the overall development of the country. Knauf had exactly this problem, a lot of their supply chain depends on rail transports, and the poor condition and poor availability of locomotives and cars is a constant problem.
Moscow city tour
After returning from Knauf, we had very little time off to arrange ourselves something to eat before we already headed off to the Moscow city tour. In a very condensed 3-hour trip we had the opportunity to do some tourist shopping and sightseeing, visit the famous Red Square, and see many of the famous locations mostly from the bus window. At least now we know where the Gorky Park is (by the Moskova-river, as we know from the song), what the Bolshoi-theater looks like, and how massive really the Luschniki-stadium is.