Landing in Frankfurt (Nov. 2006)

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
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Trip End Dec 31, 2008


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Friday, January 5, 2007

Landing in Frankfurt (Nov. 2006)
We're back online, this time from Frankfurt...... We moved on the 1st of November from Vienna, excited on the one hand by this new step and the opportunities it would bring and a bit sad on the other hand: we have lost our hearts to Vienna and Austria in general. It's such a beautiful country/city, with such a great quality of life, we really are going to miss it..... But hey, the path of life runs in weird ways, who knows whether we'll come back to Vienna in the future.

The move went fairly smoothly, apart from some trouble with our apartment in Vienna (Austrian law requires you to renovate the entire place when you move out and the guy we hired to do this more or less screwed up in a big way). Our place in Frankfurt is great though. We're on the river Main with a direct view on the skyline of the city. Frankfurt is a 'banking city', with a lot of guys/girls in pin striped suits that flock down onto the city on Monday morning and leave on Friday night. So far we haven't really explored the city, since it's been pretty busy in the past few months. I started a new job at Nike Germany (doing the same job as in Austria, Strategic Account Manager, but with a slightly different scope since the German market is much bigger) and that's a lot of fun so far. Kat has become Managing Partner in the Krauthammer office in Holland, so that's a huge new challenge for her as well.

MBA
And of course we're busy with the MBA (which we started in September). It's a lot of work, but also a lot of fun so far. Our class consists of 45 people from all over the place. We're divided into 'study groups' of 5-6 people. In these study groups (which are sort of a home away from home, you study together, talk about all sorts of stuff, complain about the workload etc.) we work on cases and assignments that we have to present to the class or hand in. So far, we're really happy to have decided to start the program. It's exciting, high energy, good people and professors and the content is very challenging. We've both already applied some of the stuff we've learned in class. We're also very happy to do it together. It may sound corny, but it's nice to be able to discuss 'net present value' or 'competitive advantage' over dinner. Seriously, it's motivating to do it together and we keep each other sharp and help each other out a lot. We feel very privileged to be able to do this together. So far, the workload has been pretty intense, we devote pretty much 2 nights per week (doesn't always work in combination with work...) and the weekend to studying. We've already done the first exams, so far so good.

X-mas
Over X-mas, we decided to go to Tirol (Austria) for a week to have a bit of time off to relax (and prepare for the finance exam the week after New Year.....) after a few hectic months. We went to Amsterdam the week before to see my family and some friends and spend some quality with them right before X-mas. After all, it's weird not to be home for the holidays (first time ever.....). It was great to be back in Austria. We stayed in an apartment on a mountain overlooking the entire 'Kaunertal'. The apartment belonged to friends of friends of ours from Vienna (Bernhard and Madhu), that had just finished the new complex. What a beautiful place! They conceived it as an 'Idea Center', where people can get together and think about new ideas and concepts and can do so in a relaxing environment, surrounded by nature. They have 3 apartments and a wellness area (sauna etc.), small scale, very high quality and not very expensive (check it out at www.chi-q.at). After X-mas (which we spend eating home made sushi, reading, skiing and not talking about 'return on equity' and 'performance management'), Bernhard and Madhu joined us and we spend some wonderful days together. The snow wasn't great, but we went skiing a couple of times anyway. The wheather was beautiful and we just enjoyed the mountains, nature, running, going to the sauna and having long conversations with Bernhard and Madhu. With New Year's eve, Gerhard and Helga (the Idea Center's owners) organized a party for about 20 people, which was nice. From the complex, we overlooked all the fireworks all over the valley and had a great start to the year.....

Now we're back into full swing. Kat's at Krauthammer University (2x per year 2 weeks internal training) and I'm doing the last reading for the marketing course we'll have next week as part of the 3rd 'in residence' period, taking place +- once every 2 months. During those 'in residence' periods, which take place in Frankfurt, but also in Chicago, Hong Kong and Toronto this year, we have class (professors fly in from Kellogg in Chicago), work on assignments with our groups and socialize with the class.

So far so good in this new phase in our little lives, we'll keep you posted and don't hesitate to stop by in Frankfurt.....!
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