The morning started off with two great presentations at the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. It was exciting to see our Canadian flag hanging out of a building on a busy street in Munich. Mr. Steven Goodinson, Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner Consulate of Canada, provided an overview of Germany’s economy and its trade relationship with Canada. It was interesting to see how there is local support in Germany for Canadian businesses, and given Germany’s current skilled labour shortage, there is definitely the potential for Canadian MBAs to find work in cities like Munich. The group was also surprised to learn that a major import to Germany from Canada is coins.
The second presentation was from Mr. Frank Dollenndorf regarding small and medium enterprises (SME), which make up 99% of all companies in Bavaria. Frank is a representative of the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and therefore he had tremendous insight into SME’s, especially their role in the state of Bavaria. We learned that SME’s in Bavaria generate 40% of Bavaria’s revenue, 50% of investments, and employ 75% of Bavarian employees. Both Frank and Steven provided insight into German culture, and we are better prepared for any future business opportunities with German companies.
Later in the afternoon, we visited BMW headquarters. Unfortunately it was the Labor Day holiday in Germany, so we were unable to visit the world-renowned manufacturing facility. Instead, we spent time visiting the BMW Museum and BMW World. The car lovers of the group enjoyed examining the cars, engines, and latest prototypes with great detail at BMW World. There was also an indoor James Bond-like motorcycle stunt demonstration that was really cool. The BMW Museum showcased version of both BMW and Rolls-Royce cars and motorcycles, including the Phantom 6 (for fans of the Royal Family).
After visiting BMW, some groups went their separate ways; some visited the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics (Olympiapark) to check out the amazing stadium architecture which resembled giant tents suspended on metal wires. The soccer enthusiasts among the group visited the home of Bayern Munich and TSV 1860, the Allianz Arena. The arena holds a remarkable 71,137 capacity, and the group was able to pick up some souvenirs of the Bayern Munich team.
When we were introduced to Michael Muller, the owner of Soul Goods, he was kind enough to give us points about the night life of Munich. One point that struck home with me was his comment about buying the excessively large one litre beer that is commonly sold at most restaurants, pubs, and bars. We were told that the one litre beer is a dead giveaway that you are a tourist and you will most likely not be able to finish the beer before it gets warm and nasty.
The scene is set at the Augustinerkeller, Arnulfstr, it is the oldest beer garden in Munich. The dinner consisted of authentic Germany meals. After the dinner there were 9 of us enjoying the evening around a large wooden table. The drink of choice was a half litre glass of beer. As the night went on the number of servers dropped to one and we were running into difficulties satisfying our thirst.
We agreed to move to the one litre glass and now our local guide joined us in tourist spirit as we all shared these massive drinks.