Author: Olin Around the Globe


About Olin Around the Globe

Olin has more than 20 global experience opportunities in 14+ countries – including study abroad, internships, summer programs, class trips and international exchanges. For more information on undergraduate programs, contact Elizabeth Snell, For information on graduate level programs, contact Laura Fogarty, For information on CEL programs, contact

On our Venture Consulting trip to Budapest, Hungary, our team was comprised of Harini Venkitarama (MBA ‘18), Vanesa Ewais (MBA/MArch ‘18), David Allston (JD/MBA ‘18) and Ryan Cao (BSBA ‘19). It was a great opportunity to extend the camaraderie and close-knit community we feel at Olin in St. Louis and delve into a new problem half-way across the world together. Each member on our team comes from a different background and we capitalized on each other’s diverse strengths as we were faced with this new task.

From left to right: Harini Venkitarama, Vanesa Ewais, Dorá Misnyovski, David Allston, Ryan Cao in the Oriens office in downtown Budapest after our presentation.

Student teams in the Venture Consulting Course, taught by Clifford Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship, spend 10 days in Budapest, Hungary immersed in the startup community and working on specific projects with founders. They also learn about Eastern European history and culture. This blog post was submitted by the students.

Our team was challenged by the Oriens Investment Management group to work with a local start-up, GPS Tuner. The problem at hand gave us the opportunity to explore a new industry, the electric bicycle or “e-bike.” This start-up provides exciting applications for e-bike users that assists with route selection and efficient battery consumption. We found out, through a week of intense research, about the e-bike’s customers, its parallels to the electric car industry, and the intricacies of its supply chain.

Our team had the opportunity to visit the start-up’s office and have meetings with the CEO of GPS Tuner. The environment and open dialogue were very encouraging and truly supportive in helping us attain the information we needed. The lines of communication continue to flow freely as we work remotely on the project throughout the remainder of the summer via phone or video calls

Krisztian Orban

We spent the week working with the Oriens Investment team at their beautiful office in the center of Budapest. The week began with a brief history and acclimation to Hungarian history and culture, and learning how to structure a problem via the McKinsey method from the founder of Oriens, Krisztian Orban.

Our team mentor, Dorá Misnyovszki is a strong analyst for the company that helped us throughout the week in making sure we framed our presentation successfully and were asking the correct questions to be able to solve the problem at hand. The entire Oriens team hosted us in Budapest and showed us a wonderful time getting to know the city, and more of their perspective of working in the venture capital industry in Hungary

Overall, it was a successful trip and truly helped enhance our learning experience at Olin. We would recommend this opportunity wholeheartedly.


Living in the Netherlands for three months has been surprising and challenging in many ways. Adjusting to total independence, fitting in to a new culture, and making new mistakes have all been interesting, but the most surprising thing for me has been how comfortable I felt in this new home.

Comfort is something I did not expect from my abroad experience. Whether it was flying on budget airlines with not enough leg room even for my short legs, sleeping in 16-person hostel dorm rooms, or simply always feeling out of place, discomfort — a clash of a person with their immediate environment — felt like an inevitability. While I did experience my fair share of embarrassment and confusion, something unexpected happened when my abroad country became my home. It was only as I was preparing to leave that I realized just how at home I felt in my little city of Maastricht.

The main way I realized that I had acclimated to Dutch life during my semester abroad was through my relationship with my bike. In the Netherlands, there are famously more bikes than people and that fact was clear everywhere I went.

Bike paths went everywhere, and cars would always stop for bikes, something wildly unfamiliar to me even in my bike-friendly home of Seattle. Even stranger was seeing Dutch toddlers perched helmet-free on their parent’s handlebars, blond hair blowing carelessly in the wind, looking as comfortable as if they were held in their parents arms.

While I knew how to ride a bike, it had been years, and my first few trips were unstable to say the least.

Cobblestones are a Maastricht mainstay, and bouncing along on my old bike was uncomfortable.

Grace PortelanceI wasn’t sure if I would actually bike everywhere, or just walk. However, as time passed I became more attached and more comfortable on my bike. I began to enjoy the rush of zooming down cobbled paths. I began to use my bike for more trips, more challenging trips. When I felt restless, I would just hop on my bike and ride — sometimes into Belgium — with confidence that I could make it home. And finally, when I had to sell my bike I felt like I was losing a friend, a right hand. I never imagined myself being so comfortable on a bike! Biking was what made me feel like one of the native Dutch people in Maastricht, and without it I felt like a tourist.

I believe that living in Maastricht gave me a confidence and comfort on a bike that will last my whole life. I am going to be a bike commuter at my job this summer, something I never imagined I would do, and I hope that each time I ride I remember the city that fostered this love of biking in me.

Guest Blogger: Grace Portelance is a junior studying Economics and Finance with a minor in Computer Science.

CATEGORY: Global, Student Life

Student teams in the Venture Advising Consulting Course taught by Clifford Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship, spend 10 days in Budapest, Hungary immersed in the startup community and working on specific projects with founders. They also learn about Eastern European history and culture. Each team in this year’s course will submit a blog post about their experience and consulting project.

We are fortunate to have been selected to work on a consulting project in Budapest, Hungary for a company that creates software and apps for e-bike navigation: GPS Tuner, a leader in the field of software development for GPS navigation. GPS Tuner currently works with original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) to build GPS navigation devices for e-bikes. They aim to transition into launching their own application for the end consumer.

Our project is to identify a strategy to differentiate GPS Tuner’s e-bicycle navigation app by conducting a competitive analysis, crafting a clear value proposition for the app, and developing a strategy that will solidify the company’s strategic position going forward.

Throughout our week in Budapest, we’ve focused on developing a hypothesis tree to clearly define and tackle our project. This problem-solving strategy is focused on finding one core business issue and then delving deeper into mutually exclusive, but collectively exhaustive sub-issues, which might be causing the business problem.

Budapest3DOur work with the client, GPS Tuner, introduced us to the struggles of a fragmented market and how a setup like this can lead to beneficial results for an incumbent market leader. From an academic standpoint, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all markets operate as efficiently as possible, making it very difficult to sustain a competitive edge.

After our conversations with the CEO, we learned that the cycling industry operates in a unique situation. The industry leader currently benefits from keeping every aspect of e-bike design and manufacturing in-house, and from minimizing compatibility with competing hardware components. As a result, we’ve identified an inherent opportunity for GPS Tuner within the market.

Budapest3AAlthough our time in Budapest has been short, it has provided a tremendous opportunity for both academic and personal growth. We’ve received excellent feedback from Professor Orban, which has guided our analysis and allowed us to set up a framework for our project going forward.

We are also lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Ivan Pap during our time here at Oriens. He has been a fantastic guide and mentor, and he has made our trip very memorable. Although we are sad to leave the amazing city of Budapest, we are confident in our direction and look forward to diving deeper into the opportunities GPS Tuner faces as it enters its newest growth stage.

Team GPS Turner: MBA students Courtney Callegari, Douglas Mullenix, and Kirtika Singh.

CATEGORY: Global, Student Life

Student teams in the Venture Advising Consulting Course taught by Clifford Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship, spend 10 days in Budapest, Hungary immersed in the startup community and working on specific projects with founders. They also learn about Eastern European history and culture. Each team in this year’s course will submit a blog post about their experience and consulting project.

After the initial excitement of arriving in a new city, our team jumped into our project: building a brand image and recognition in the U.S. for Sziget, a premier European festival. The Budapest-based festival strives to create an “island of freedom” that promotes open-mindedness and tolerance while creating a festive central meeting point for people in Europe.

Having visited the site of the festival, an actual island in the middle of the Danube river, it is easy to see how a truly unique environment can be created there every August. The Sziget festival prides itself on not only being a large music festival, drawing headliners like Rihanna, but also on fostering an environment that offers a complete artistic and cultural experience.

Currently, the festival garners huge recognition in Europe, but has not endeavored to promote itself to an American audience. While yearly attendance is greater than 400,000 patrons, in order to continue the growth of the festival, Sziget’s brand image needs to gain recognition within the United States.

Sziget PhotoWe, as a team, are helping Sziget to generate brand image and recognition in the United States by producing a detailed road map of the process to best reach consumers and leave a subsequent impression. If successful, future sales efforts will be able to leverage this familiarity within the American market to generate increased revenue.

After brainstorming, we produced a hypothesis tree that we believe will drive results. A benchmark was established that we believe, if reached, will accomplish Sziget’s American branding goals. All resulting strategies were crafted with the aim to hit and surpass this benchmark.

Working with Sziget has been a fun experience, since the company’s office is located on the island where the festival takes place. While the projects that were assigned to the two other teams on our trip are interesting, being able to work with one of the largest festivals in the world has been an incredible experience that we have all enjoyed. Additionally, it has been a rewarding experience learning from Professor Orban and working with the Oriens team.

Professor Orban is an amazing teacher and has left us with many of the consulting techniques that he utilized while at McKinsey Consulting. Being able to mix this amazing learning experience with the fun of exploring one of Europe’s great cities is an opportunity that the team is grateful for. While we will be sad to leave Budapest and our new friends at Oriens, we are excited to continue the project and see what final recommendations we conjure.

Sziget Team: Tom Smith PMBA, Trent Pavic PMBA, Josh Schuftan, BSBA, Erin Kim, BSBA


Student teams in the Venture Advising Consulting Course taught by Clifford Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship, spend 10 days in Budapest, Hungary immersed in the startup community and working on specific projects with founders. They also learn about Eastern European history and culture. Each team in this year’s course will submit a blog post about their experience and consulting project.

Szia from Budapest! Over the course of our intensive, onsite week in Hungary, we worked with a local education company that wants to expand a new kind of study abroad program to students throughout Central Europe. Our client, Milestone Institute, helps Hungarian students get into and succeed at highly selective Universities in the UK. They also look to bring these students back to Hungary to build the future generation of business and community leaders. Milestone asked us to suggest strategies to build an international presence.

Milestone Institute Mission: Our mission is to act as a national centre for nurturing, launching and bringing home talent. Rather than strike out on their own, we seek to create a community of bright young minds who want to broaden their horizon by studying abroad. Our hope is that they will return, so that Hungary as a whole will benefit from the experience and skills they have gained. In the last four years, we have thus prepared nearly 300 students for leading English-speaking universities.

budapest1AA lot of our work in the education market has been informed by our experiences around Budapest. The country is relatively small, with only 10 million people. However, as Hungary is a member of the European Union, it has much stronger ties and relationships with neighboring countries. The country sees itself more as a key stakeholder in the Central European Region. This worldview impacts the value we see Milestone can provide, as their services could prove highly beneficial to other local markets.

Monday: On Monday, we got a personal perspective on Hungary’s history. Hungary is a country which shares its history with the Roman Empire: Roman Law and Roman Catholicism. However, there are cultural differences as well which encompass a free people mindset, primarily branching out from German philosophy. During the 19th century, Hungary and Austria formed the Austro-Hungarian empire, creating a melting pot for people from different cultures, which can still be seen today through the art and architecture in Budapest.

BUdapest1CTuesday: On Tuesday we had the privilege to meet with two of the founders of Milestone Institute. The founders had so many ideas about what to do and how to best support Hungarian startups and NGOs, while at the same time encouraging Hungarian students to study abroad.

Having a strong vision, Milestone Institute will help to put Budapest, Hungary, on the map as a leading force in the study abroad educational market as well as improving economic prospects for startups.

Wednesday: On Wednesday, We prepared for our first presentation and got advice from David, our project leader, on how we were doing. Professor Orban taught us to use a MECE tree structure to test hypotheses and formulate the problem in its entirety. We spent most of Wednesday developing this model and fine-tuning our understanding of how to tackle this project going forward.
Thursday: Our day began quite intensely, as we presented our approach for the summer to Professor Orban. Afterwards, we stopped in at our clients location for further clarification and to discuss an action plan for the summer. Following this, we continued with more preliminary research for our final presentation in Budapest.

We look forward to continuing our work over the summer and have taken much different perspectives from our time in Budapest!

By Anish Agrawal, Adam Clark, Sawyer Kelly, Lauren Rogge

Top Image: Budapest Heroes Monument, Giannis Arvanitakis, Flickr creative commons