The Atlas Trip is a yearly business trip organised by the Atlas Committee. The trip takes one week, with this year’s location’s being Zagreb and Budapest. In this part you can read about the experiences in Zagreb, in chronological order.
It was a cold Sunday morning, 6 ‘o clock, when everyone’s alarm started ringing: the Atlastrip we’ve been waiting for was finally on the verge of kicking off. A little over 7 in the morning the first people arrived at the Central Station in front of the piano. Some were tired, others still half-drunk from the night before, but one thing was for sure: everyone was excited. With a group of 25 we left for Schiphol, while the rest joined later: later it became clear that there was an angel sitting on our shoulder: apparently a train exploded after we left.
A while later at Schiphol, after the long process of checking in, we finally got on the plane with a whopping 37 people. I was the only one sitting front row, excluded, which was boring but also let me extend 3 into 4 hours of sleep. One and a half hours later the city of Zagreb unfolded from under the clouds.
A bus drive and a ten-minute walk brought us to Hostel 63, where we would stay until Wednesday morning. After everyone acclimatised we made our way to Restaurant Johann Frank, a mix between an Adidas hipster-bar and a chic restaurant with bottles worth hundreds of euros. A lovely three-course dinner prepared us for the pub crawl which followed, along with a list of challenges such as taking a bodyshot, or try getting a stranger’s number. Some were concerned with the Crazy 88 we handed out before, others were more interested in Honey-Nutella shots with dark beer. Alcatraz Rock was the final station, after which the first small escalation took place. The first quote of the week is therefore:
‘Beer is so cheap…’ – unknown because of too many beers
Cheap beers certainly have their effect, causing some people to feel a light hangover before heading for the first company visit. The first formal event of the week was a visit to Zagrebačka (say: Zagrebatsjka) Banka, Croatia’s largest bank and part of the Italian UniCredit Group. There, at 9:15, we were warmly welcomed by Albert Hulshof, head of the Finance department, and colleagues, who welcomed us with a brunch-like opening with cookies, croissants and more drinks than you have fingers. This pleasant surprise was followed by a very educational presentation not only about the bank’s history, but also subjects like Customer Relations Management (CRM) and digitalisation, all in line with our theme: ‘Innovation in Eastern Europe’. To top it all off we had the chance to work on a real-life case study about setting up a loan agreement with a client. This all made it a valuable experience which showed us what kind of complex activities we could be dealing with in our future jobs.
‘’I understand words, not numbers.’’
Two-and-a-half hours later and one goodie bag richer we had a lunch break where we could explore Zagreb a little bit more, before being taken on a city tour around various sight-seeing spots, most notably the big church. This was followed by a nice dinner at a Pizzeria Veza and a lovely wine tasting evening at Wine Bar Bornstein. Let’s say that quite some bottles of wine left the store afterwards. The wine tasting was the final activity of today; some went back to the hostel, others went ahead to try the shisha they discovered earlier that day.
Our last full day in Zagreb, and also the most formal one, started with our second company visit to ImpactHub. After everyone had their breakfast, we had to walk for a whopping five minutes, That’s right, ImpactHub was actually in the same street as the hostel. Once we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by Hermés, the Mexican CEO of the company. He showed us what ImpactHub’s activities include. We had valuable information about business models and of course innovation. All together it was nice to have a visit to a company that is not active in the (sometimes) harsh corporate world. Also it was a story of someone who came from abroad to take the risk while pursuing his dream, which is always a nice experience to witness.
Next up was the University of Zagreb, well, the Faculty of Economics and Business on the other side of town. The weather was really nice at this time which made it a challenge to not just sit in the large park in front of the building. Before the afternoon program started, we had the opportunity to have lunch in the fast-food area of the building: the options were pizza, microwaved hamburgers and microwaved hotdogs. Let’s say it was an interesting and new experience.
The program itself was beyond our expectations: first off, we had a lecture about Innovation in Eastern Europe by a member of the International Innovation Institute Academic Council. Goran, a marketing professor, also used a neuroscientific perspective, which meant that we got to learn about people’s intuitive behaviour. After the lecture we got presentations about the International Office, study programmes and associations. eStudent (similar to Bedrijfskundewinkel) and Ekonomska klinika (focussed on improving literature as well as solving case studies for organisations) were very happy to introduce themselves. With these presentations the day concluded, after which everyone was free to roam around. Still everyone ate together at a pub, which meant large beers and large meals. This evening we were able to see Ajax-Juventus at another Irish Pub, a game that brought much joy to the group, and was enough of a reason to go out later on. Gin Tonics and Rakija were widely consumed.
Everyone knows what happens when you drink too much; therefore one of the members came across a surprise when he wanted to sleep. This quote is for everyone that was on the trip:
‘’Is Marijn eating in bed?!’’