BRIC Program: Growth in Russia
This blog post was written by Amani Mehta and Debbie Cohen, two undergraduate students currently participating on the BRIC Program…
So far, BRIC has been a complex and beautiful array of introductions, adventures, and teachings. It’s crazy to think that just over a month ago we were back at Babson excitedly anticipating our pre-departure. After much thought, we found the words to capture the essence of this program: growth.
It takes a certain measure of courage to step out your comfort zone and enter a foreign country, expose yourself to a new culture, and explore unfamiliar places. We think it will be fascinating to observe where we stand at different moments in time as we conquer another country.
We networked with local students, entrepreneurs, and other young professionals. It was extremely relevant to hear their take and experiences navigating the Russian business environment.
We had the opportunity to visit several businesses such as: Solopharm, the American Chamber of Commerce and Imperial Porcelain. It was interesting to meet people who worked in different fields and get to know their perspective about working in Russia. Each company we visited was completely unique, so we could compare and contrast various industries and working environments. Also getting to know the CEO of Solopharm was inspiring. The cohort was impressed by his entrepreneurial spirit, his honesty and his humble attitude. In less than five years, he started a business that distributes around 30% of the medicines in Russia. As well, through his business career, he maintained his transparency. Even though, he acknowledges bribing people in Russia is common, he does not follow that trend. Additionally, he mentioned the importance of balancing his life at work and at home. He wishes that in some years he can retire, so he spends time with his family.
We were made aware that Russia was going to be the academically rigorous leg of our trip and “8 credits” certainly lived up to its standard. Combining language classes, site visits, historical context through poetry and novels, and the numerous reflective essays we definitely exceeded our expectations with what we could accomplish. Simultaneously, we opened up to Saint Petersburg and got a taste of the metro, the hockey fandom, the rich architecture, and delicious meals.
Also interacting with twenty-four people from all over the world, is a learning opportunity. We can learn about everyone’s culture and unique traditions.
Affectionately dubbed “the squad” our group has come together and supported each other in an infinite number of ways and it has been integral to the success and overall happiness of these memories. We learned about each other’s passions, ambitions–how we manage stress and how we fight our health battles. We also learned much about teamwork and adaptation given our diverse group background.