MSIS Continental Connections

2018 Study Tour Part 1: Netherlands

My MSIS study tour immersion trip to the Netherlands and Spain showed me how multinational companies use technology to accomplish their strategic goals. The tour also reminded me that in order to thrive, these businesses must operate in harmony with multiple cultures and a fast-changing political environment. – Nick Williams, MSIS Class of 2016

MSIS Alumni Nick Williams on Study Tour

From the moment students walk into their first Foster School of Business Master of Science in Information Systems classes, they are exposed to a world of new ideas. This includes technology, business operations, management issues, and even a diversity of student faces and experiences. It’s all new, and challenges them to think, react, and create in ways they never expected.

This year’s 2018 MSIS study tour immersion trip to the Netherlands and Spain amped up the MSIS experience for four recent graduates: Stephanie Tran, Wayne Olson, Benjamin Hou, and Nicholas Williams. For some this was their first trip outside of the United States. For others, their first trip to Europe. For all, it was the first time they experienced trucks being assembled using virtual reality technology and business intelligence analytics. They also appreciated the warm Dutch hospitality that fellow Foster expats showed, and many still taste the memory of the last crumbs of apple cake.

The MSIS Study Tour, like the program itself, was constructed to allow students and alumni to explore, discuss, and discover. With multinational company tours, start-up ventures, and the overarching role of government in commerce, students were able to see how their classroom studies were reflected in the thriving EU business community.

First Stop – Eindhoven and DAF Trucks

DAF Trucks, a subsidiary of the US-based PACCAR, is located in Eindhoven, a Dutch city south of Amsterdam. DAF welcomed the alumni with a full day of activities. The tour included workshops led by DAF Truck employees, a demo of their VR and 3D truck configuration application, and a presentation on how both DAF Trucks and PACCAR use business intelligence and analytics to drive value. The day was capped off with a tour of the PACCAR Parts warehouse and a discussion of the company’s supply chain operations.
PACCAR Parts Engines

Organizations operating in more than one country have many issues to consider and technology makes these transitions easier. However, all companies must adhere to regulatory compliance and cultural considerations.

MSIS Alumni Stephanie Tran on Study Tour
“Russia has one of the larger European markets in regards to the automotive industry. However, doing business here can be challenging due to the government’s restrictions on manufacturing, one of which requires products to (mostly) be made in-country and labeled as ‘made in Russia.’ This is a logistical nightmare that DAF has engineered a solution to by establishing a manufacturing facility where individually constructed parts are shipped to and assembled. In order to facilitate these complexities, DAF has had to tightly align its IT solutions with its supply chain.” – Stephanie Tran, MSIS Class of 2017

Re-Routing to Cisco Systems

A visit to Cisco System’s Amsterdam office gave students a different view of this well-known technology leader and communications hardware giant. The tour included a round table discussion on a variety of tech and business topics and included a demo of the latest enterprise-level conferencing hardware and how innovations in information systems allowed for a diverse and responsive supply chain. MSIS alumni learned about trends in cloud computing and how Cisco is shifting toward a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model as a way to service customers in a world where specialized hardware is becoming a commodity product.
MSIS Alumni at Cisco on Study Tour

Next week, read about the second half of the MSIS Study Tour as students traversed to Spain and learned more about the cross-section of technology and fashion, agriculture, and manufacturing robotics.