Since 2010, Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory (TEM Lab) has sent teams of student consultants all across the globe to get first-hand experience working in emerging markets and to deliver value to a wide variety of client systems, including governments, private companies, nonprofit organizations, and universities. This spring, there is one TEM Lab team representing Thunderbird on the global stage, and that is team Romania, who arrived in Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second largest city, this Saturday, to dive into their consulting project with Megatitan, a metal parts and products manufacturer looking to expand into new markets and business lines.
First days in Romania!
We arrived in Cluj Napoca Saturday, March 19th, tired and jet lagged yet ambitiously eager to start our TEM lab journey. Cluj is a city in northwestern Romania and is the unofficial capital of the Transylvania region. It is a university town famous for its landmarks dating back to Saxon and Hungarian rule. Our team was met at the airport by Ionut Luca, our host and liaison to our client. Ionut is a professor of math and statistics at University of Babes-Bolyai and was one of the key members in initiating the partnership between our client Megatitan and Thunderbird. Without much inhibition we were out and about in the city exploring and seeing the sights with Ionut. The next day we traveled to the outskirts of Cluj to see the “Salina Turda” or salt mines which was quite an experience unlike anything any of us had seen before. The refurbished salt mine had a variety of entertainment from ferris wheels to mini golf. We even practiced our rowing skills in the underground lake!
Its been two-and-a-half days of non stop exploring, working and eating. The Romanian people have been nothing but hospitable and forthcoming in making us feel at home here. Overall we are settling in well but staying alert for the challenges that lay ahead. Keep following our blog for updates on the progress of our project and our travels!
TEM Lab Romania-Megatitan
Meet our Clients!
First day on the job we had the pleasure of having an introductory dinner with Nelu Balan (Founder and CEO) and Nelu Dican (Marketing Director). They are both extremely friendly as we are finding most Romanians to be. We can conclusively agree that Nelu Sr. is one of the most charismatic and driven individuals we have ever worked for. He comes from humble roots selling walnuts in Hungary to running an international, multi million dollar metal fabrication firm. We posted a link to a magazine article that details his inspirational story below. If you use the Google Chrome Browser it should give you the option to translate the story into English.
Megatitan manufactures a variety of products. They manufacture metal parts for producers, suppliers and create some finished products as well. Just down the street from the warehouse there is a park full of modernized benches and trash cans made by Megatitan to satisfy a local government construction contract. After looking at the array of products and examining operations we will be exploring additional markets and business lines. We are now three days into the project and so far everything is progressing fairly smoothly. Tomorrow we are visiting a trade show with our clients to get a first hand view of the industry community.
We took an impromtu break from work today to visit a local market with Nelu Jr. (Just for clarification the two are not related.) The market is a weekly event where citizens from the local villages and farms come to sell everything from cheeses and meats to clothes and cosmetics. He introduced us to a street food called mititei (pronounced Mich). It is a flavourful sausage made from fresh ground pork and traditionally eaten with a creamy mustard and fresh bread. Our days have been long and strenuous as most consulting work is. We may plan on traveling to Cluj this weekend or possibly do some hiking in the mountains. Stay tuned to our blog to find out what happens next!
Team Romania -Megatitan
Eager to read more? Follow Team Romania’s TEM Lab blog posts at: emergingmarketslab.thunderbird.edu