We did not realize that defenestration was first associated with Prague Castle hundreds of years ago. With that in mind, our group heard and had many different views of politics, economics, business and even social policy. For instance, the Prague Pride festival had just started as we arrived last Saturday and thousands of marchers marched. We heard that the all-embracing Czech President Klaus had referred to the LGBT participants in the festival as “deviants” and worse. That was a bit controversial, wouldn’t you think.
Politically we understood that President Klaus is a Eurosceptic (similar to Prime Minister Thatcher years earlier) and that the other non-EU contingent, the Czech Communist Party, helped the President get elected a number of years ago. This strange coalition somewaht parallels the very liberal in our U.S. Congress aligning with that new little group who opposes tax/revenue increases to try to block recent proactive initiatives of Congress. Maybe politics is not a line from a far right totalitarianism to a far left one, with democracy in the middle. Maybe, it’s better depicted as a circle where those far left and right groups meet and even overlap. Time to get our truly stellar Political Science colleagues to help sort this out.
These and many other Czech, U.S., and global issues that were discussed during the week are controversial and our MBA colleagues were so good discussing and listening with no dismissing of others’ opinions and definitely no meanness or name-calling that is evident so often when a differing view is presented to extremists on either side. All 20 colleagues exhibited the opposite of a Gabler-esque behavior that more recently has been growing in Washington and throughout our own culture. This group of men and women indeed are very professional and quite cool.
But not all debates were that serious. We know have an idea of our favorite movies of all genres, rock videos, SouthPark episodes, Broadway plays, current literature, Baltimore and D.C. restaurants, and lots more. We did not get to the point of debating Moliere vs. Ibsen vs. Beckett vs the hometown hero Franz K. (I know, I know, he’s different than the others) – but that could have been next if we had a few more dinners. And speaking of dinners, we did debate schnitzel vs. goulash vs. duck and even brought into the conversation a totally cool pizzeria by the hotel. Food – that indeed was a popular topic.
Sometimes, the group forgot I was there and discussed all of the MBA classes – and professors – they have taken. Plus, they were counseling each other on who to take for various courses. I will keep that to myself but say that most was very positive. Plus, most importantly, we now know all so much about each others’ families and significant others in our lives – and our hopes. At one point, Will (I believe) asked “if you can have any job in the world, what would it be?” As you can imagine, the answers were quite reflective.
From a business/economics perspective, we understood the various comparative advantages of the country as well as the significant comparative disadvantages. But, as that is one of the essays on the final exam, I will not go too much further now. Likewise, from a management perspective, we understood comparative motivation and leadership initiatives in the country – but that is another final exam question.