Previous Winners

Winners 2017

Raja Jain and Nimisha Gupta from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee became the winners of Go Green in the City 2017. The idea of using the ancient Indian technology of earthen pots to develop a modern day cooling system brought the grand prize to the team during the Paris finals in October 2017.
Go Green in the City was a dream come true! Winning a competition against 20,000 participants from 180 countries also gave us such a great sense of accomplishment. If you care about how technology will play a part in greener practices and sustainability, you will not get an opportunity better than this!
Raja Jain and Nimisha Gupta

Winners 2016

Rini Bharadwaj and Vivian Silas Jeyachander Manohar from Fachhochschule Aachen in Germany were the winners of Go Green in the City 2016. They proposed an off-grid irrigation system that reduced both financial and environmental costs by utilizing tree-mounted wind turbines.
Go Green in the City gave us an opportunity to look at energy innovation in a whole new light. It has motivated us to apply our theoretical acumen on global problems and made us think as an entrepreneur. The mentorship we received from Schneider Electric has helped us to define our ambitions for the future more clearly. We are all winners, having gained huge knowledge both technically and professionally.
Rini Bharadwaj and Vivian Silas Jeyachander Manohar

Winners' trip - USA and Australia

Rini and Vivian’s Final Thoughts

Learning from Go Green in the City

We have learned that the simplest of ideas can still be a winner. You don’t need to go overboard and make things unnecessarily complicated. From the beginning, we believed that our idea was simple but feasible and this confidence helped us win the competition. Besides that, we got a taste of innovation around the globe.

Go Green in the City and future endeavors

Winning such a prestigious international competition and featuring it in our professional profiles will be a huge highlight when we look for prospective opportunities in the future. Apart from that, the clarity we have gained with regard to our field of interest from working at Schneider Electric, Berlin and interacting with Schneider personal during our winner trip is something incredible.

A learning experience

It was an overwhelming feeling to win Go Green in the City, knowing that we have been given this incredible opportunity to experience innovation and culture around the globe, and that we had to make the most out of it. But that feeling was quickly replaced by curiosity and excitement. The winner’s trip did not disappoint and gave us a wonderful experience to learn about life in the two countries as well as their work culture. We met many great people and got a brief glimpse into the emerging technologies in those countries.

Traveling in style

In addition to the exciting opportunity to take a trip around the world in our 20’s, we did it extravagantly. From the point of getting picked up at the airport, a luxurious hotel stay, a perfectly planned itinerary and extremely friendly Schneider Electric colleagues who helped take care of all our needs, we had everything we could want. Such a well-planned and comfortable trip would not be possible if we had done it by ourselves.

Getting to know Schneider Electric

It is always exhilarating to meet people with the same passion for technology. Our visits to Schneider Electric in Boston and Sydney were no exception. We appreciated the number of people who took time out of their schedules to interact with us, discuss our Go Green in the City idea, talk over their field of expertise and indulge in delightful conversations about the city and company.

A trip to remember

We can’t point one specific experience that was our absolute favorite. The entire two-week period of exploring two different continents, the cultures, cuisine, people, and even the crazy jet lag and time differences were enjoyable.


6th August 2017
Day 16

Goodbye Sydney!

The first thing we did in the morning was to check out from the hotel and eat a long breakfast at the there. As planned, we went to the Manly island and the weather was great. It was sunny and a little bit windy. We sat at the Manly beach for hours staring at the waves and observing crabs on the shore. We finally got up to walk from manly lagoon to North Head.

In the end, we went to the art museum on the island and then headed back to the Sydney Opera House with the ferry. We walked back from there to the hotel for the last time.

It was almost the time to go, take the long flight and end our journey here.

At this point of the trip we were just thankful to all the people without whom this wouldn’t have been possible. Most importantly, we’d like to thank Ruby who was there with us from the beginning until now, it’s not quite the end yet.

Thanks to Tyrus and Sunita who made us feel comfortable in their cities and of course the SE employees who scheduled their time for us. It was the most adventurous trip we’ve ever had!


5th August 2017
Day 15

Today was Vivian’s Birthday and we went to the Taronga Zoo!

We got up in the morning to catch the ferry and a cable car to the zoo. We spent 5 hours in the zoo without realizing the time. We got the see the seal show, bird show and we even got to see how ibis steal food. Yes! They stole Vivian’s fries!

By the time we came out of the Zoo, the cable car had stopped. We had to take the bus and catch our last booked ferry within 10 minutes. Did we make it? Of course, not. The bus came late but he allowed us in without having to pay for it and reached there just in time. So, did we take the ferry? No! it was gone! We just waited for the public transportation, told them the story and they let us in. We finally made it to the Sydney Opera House stop and just sat there and chilled.

Finally, we walked back to the hotel after realizing that it was our last night in Sydney. So, what did we do? We sat in the hotel restaurant until midnight and talked about the boat show to a new Australian friend we had just met.

Finally we snoozed out. And that’s how we spent our last night in Sydney.


4th August 2017
Day 14

Getting ready for the office and the thought of the day being “nothing Lasts forever”.

The day started with meeting Daniel Hancock, a Vertical Solutions Engineer, where we spoke about the solutions SE provides for food and beverage industries, coal industries and more.

Next in line was the Clipsal Power House tour by Brendan Pigram, a Customer Experience Manager, where we saw the automation solutions Clipsal offers the household industry.

Also a big happy birthday to Vivian! Not today but that’s what we did next. We had a discussion with the the graduate students, both from engineering and commerce backgrounds about their experience during the traineeship and our Go Green in the City idea. After a good discussion, we had cake ready for Vivian whose birthday would be tomorrow but, thanks to Sunita, we were able to celebrate it with the SE family.

With the cake and the lunch, it was time to meet the automation engineers. We discussed everything from renewable scenarios in Australia to programming to customer service.

After the healthy discussion with the engineers, it was the time to meet the VPs and present them with our idea. We want to give a big thanks to Pip Russel, the VP of HR, Chris Quinn, the VP of Marketing, Jenny Vo, acting CFO, Else guenin, the internal communications manager for taking the time to hear our presentation.

After the presentation, it was time to leave the office and explore more of Sydney before we went back to Germany.

Our time in the office has been incredible. We would like to thank everybody for sharing their time with us. A special thanks to Chui and Rachel for organizing everything and taking amazing professional photos!

Last but by no means the least, we would like to thank Sunita for a warm welcome to Sydney and Schneider Electric.

And so, with this, we left the SE office with a heavy heart.

After getting back to the hotel, we went to the 309m tall Sydney tower where we get to see panoramic view of Sydney. And there is no point of going to the Sydney tower if you are not going for the SKYWALK. We walked and jumped on the glass floor at the top of the tower. It was a great experience.


3rd August 2017
Day 13

We started out the day with delicious breakfast at the hotel and then hopped into a taxi going to Schneider Electric. Today on the schedule was the National Distribution Center (DC) of SE in Ingleburn, New South Wales. We received a great tour from Craig, a project manager and Helene, a supply chain Intern. This DC was no ordinary one. It was better than any DCs we’ve ever been to. After the DC tour, we headed back for lunch in the Macquarie Park mall.

A taxi picked us up to see the “8th wonder of the world”, the Sydney Opera House, where we took a tour. It felt like it was all a movie and we hoped they would have a concert for us but unfortunately not. Not that it was supposed to happen anyway. One thing you must do when you are at the opera house is take as many photos as you can. But if you don’t, you can still get some from the internet. Seriously, if you go to the opera house, just sit there because that’s what you can’t get on the internet. As said we just sat near the water, staring at the waves and the mountains of water they make, looking at the Sydney Opera House and of course the Sydney Harbour bridge.

It was time for Badu Gill- “water light” in the language of the traditional residents of Bennelong Point, the Gadigal people. It is a new daily experience that explores ancient First Nations stories in a spectacular seven-minute projection, illuminating the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sail year-round at sunset and 7pm.

After the show, we slowly headed back to the hotel, mesmerized by the beauty around us.


2nd August 2017
Day 12

After rejuvenating for a day, we started our Sydney journey with a visit to the Schneider Electric office in Macquarie Park, New South Wales (NSW). We finally met Sunita, the HR Business Partner in NSW, who with the help of Rachel, an HR Graduate, took care of everything while we were there. We kicked our day off by meeting with Andy Walsh, the Director Sales Excellence, about why it is important to invest in the ideas of the young minds and the risks behind it.

After having a constructive conversation with Andy, we spoke to Rachel about the Bright Sparks Graduate trainee program Schneider Electric offers.

It was time to meet Kirrilly Pavett, Simplify Leader at SE, where we got insight on how a project is defined and how external and internal communities work together on a project etc. Finally, it was time for us to meet one of the technical personnel, Brad Yager, Director Process Automation offer & BD Pacific at SE, where we spoke about IoT, ecostruxure and cybersecurity. We could have literally spoken to him for the rest of the day. But it was time for us to feed ourselves, so we went to Hattrick, a restaurant near SE with Sunita and Rachel.

After we came back, we had presentations from the Ignite program, one of Schneider Electric's flagship leadership and talent acceleration programs, where they talked about solutions to things that matter, but few actually talk about, like Gender equality.

With this, it was time to go out and explore Sydney. A Taxi picked us up from SE to take us to the hotel. With the time in our hands we roamed around the city, including the shopping mall to the Chinatown. We had never ending walks and finally came back to the hotel and called it a day.


1st August 2017
Day 11

We arrived at the airport early morning and had a Taxi waiting for us. We hopped in right away to check into our close to the heart of Sydney hotel. Getting used to the right-hand driving needs some time to get used to even though you are not the one driving. After hours of resting, we had our lunch at the hotel and started our journey right away starting with Madame Tussauds where we met the scientists, actors, etc. After meeting with the famous people, we went for a stroll in Sydney and called it a day. Jet lag hits sometimes, you know.


31st July 2017
Day 10

The day missing from our now-history. It’s crazy how we started on 30th and will reach Sydney on the 1st August.


30th July 2017
Day 9

And so, the first week of the world tour comes to an end. We can’t leave without being thankful to Tyrus for taking a good care of us. We had some travel problems, but when you have someone to take care of those, you leave taking the good memories. Thanks to all of Schneider Electric employees who took their time for us.

We decided to buy some souvenirs for our families and friends started out journey to the next destination and the other part of the world as seen on the maps (2D) ;)


29th July 2017
Day 8

Starting our day quite later than usual, we went to the New England Aquarium. Spent nearly four hours in there. God knows why. We had some museums on the list but no time for that. So, we went to the IMAX theater in the aquarium and saw Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland.

With the time, we had in our hands, we strolled a little bit at the harbor. While coming back to the hotel, we saw the African street culture where we stood, watching the sun setting as we listened to the band Niu Raza. The music was so incredible that we were just dancing the whole time.

After getting intoxicated by the Niu Raza, we headed back to the hotel and saddened upon thinking that it was the last day in Boston. We don’t know when would it be possible to be here again.


28th July 2017
Day 7

Finally, the tour which we couldn’t finish off on the rainy Monday is here – MIT tour. We sat in one of the classes, didn’t take one. It was a 2 and half-hours’ tour with one of the students studying at MIT. No words to describe how it feels even to enter MIT as a tourist, forget being a student there. We saw the “logical buildings” and the pranks played on by the students on the Administration…

Next we ran to the spot where the freedom trail begins. Freedom Trail is a walking tour in Boston for around 2 hours. We had some time to spare before we go to the next planned location so we just chilled.

If you haven’t seen baseball in Boston, you haven’t seen Boston, so, guess where we went next. Fenway Park for Red Sox and KC match yuhooo! Those memories of Baseball games in the movies and series were all coming live. People are just crazy. We were confused and happy. Didn’t know the rules very well but learnt by the end of it, or that’s what we think.

Since we used too much of our brain learning the game, we called it a day.


27th July 2017
Day 6

The morning started with visiting the Schneider Electric branch in West Kingston, Rhode Island where we visited the customer care center. Liz, Project Manager: Talent Acquisition, gave us the tour of the company and then went to one of the best restaurants in Rhode Island, called Matunuck Oyster for sea food for lunch, where they grew their own fresh produce and soon going to have Rhode island’s first Oysters Farm, with Kristen Larsen (social media expert at SE, RI), Liz, Tim, Tyrus.

Continuing our sunny day meeting with Customer Care Center Director where we spoke about the scope of starting with Schneider Electric with call center training. How that works and prospects after the traineeship, etc.

After playing with fidget spinners at his office for some time, we headed off to meeting the 2 guys who were responsible for solution management at customer care center (CCC) because they love abbreviations there ;) Where they showed us how the CCC works and how to get promotion in the same line.

After all the meetings Tyrus drove us back to the hotel in Boston and it felt like the trip was over right then and there. We had some heartwarming experiences and felt welcome everywhere in SE. “home away from home ;).

Well, we still had some time in our hands for the day so we decided to just walk through Boston. We went to the “Italian community” North End. While passing through we would just stop by to listen to the street music. We went till the shore, just relaxed for some time, and called it a day.


26th July 2017
Day 5

Today we headed South to Newport, Rhode Island. Our route took us through many small New England towns along the coast filled with large trees and blue skies. After grabbing some California-style Mexican food at Diego’s, which was delicious, we started our tour of the Newport Mansions. These homes were constructed and owned by the Vanderbilt’s, a prominent shipping and railroad American family during the Gilded Age. We started off in Rosecliff, a home that hosted countless gala events for the wealthy elite of Newport. Second was the Marble House which is appropriately named after the 14,000 square meters of marble used on the property. Our last mansion tour brought us to the largest of the Vanderbilt homes, the Breakers. This is the estate where the family resided up until the Second World War and death of Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

We set sail on the Adirondack II for a cruise in Newport Harbor where we saw beautiful views of large yachts and houses along the Newport coast. For dinner, we joined Mike McKinnon, Sr. Manager - Order Care & Digital Enablement and Tim Vaudrain, Director, Global Talent Acquisition & Mobility Programs at The Mooring. We tried oysters, tuna tartare, a bag of doughnuts, squid, and other seafood while watching the sunset.


25th July 2017
Day 4

Finally, the day we’ve been waiting for. Boston ONE campus. Thanks to Tyrus for an amazing day at the campus. We were given the tour by Steven Brown, Product Manager, followed by one to one conversation with Katherine, senior business analyst, who is a part of EPN (Emerging Professional Network). Afterwards we had an appetizing lunch at Palmers in Andover where Sandy and Mike, Recruiter at SE were sweet enough to take the time off their schedule and meeting with us. We had typical New England food, a must try Clam Chowder.

In the end, we had conversation with Liam who is responsible for E-strategy generalist.

Finally, Tyrus dropped us back at our hotel. Ended our evening with shopping ;) and eating and just chilling.


24th July 2017
Day 3

Today, Boston had become home away from home. It had rained all day long and tried it’s best to force us to stay back in the hotel but who could stop us from going to Harvard ;). We left for the Harvard tour and did the most obvious thing. Got lost.

“Don’t get lost! But if you do, do it in Harvard” – Vivian ☺

After an hour or so, we finally got the ticket for the Harvard tour. Which was amazing, given by Jonathan form Harvard university, interactive and very informative. Looking at the history of Facebook and people like JFK, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg etc., It’s beyond inspiring.

By this time the rain had taken a turn, to a stronger one. This time it was trying to stop us from going to MIT. But couldn’t. We went to MIT: D always wanted to say that ;). Unfortunately missed the tour but decided to continue our struggle to go till the Museum of science.

The irony was, yesterday we were over the water and today drenching under it.

Reaching the museum of science dripping, we went directly to the Planetarium and forgot all about the rain. Continuing it with Exhibit halls where we saw the different forms of science and arts from Theater of electricity to 4D Ice Age experience in a theater. Becoming curious kids again. Completely worth it, especially when it’s raining outside.

In the evening, by the time we had gone back to the hotel, we had completed 6.5 miles of walking ;).

Reaching hotel at 8 in the evening, spontaneously decided to go the 8pm IMAX show at Lowes theater for Dunkirk. What else to say other than, “Nolan, you are a Genius!”


23rd July 2017
Day 2

Goodie Good morning. The best morning with goodie bag. Surprisingly made the day. The day continued with running for the Duck tour around Boston which is the best way to explore the city, not the running part of course ;). The 2 in one tour, 60 minutes on land and 20 min in water. We went till and in the Charles river where the Harvard-Yale Regatta takes place as seen in many Hollywood movies.

After the incredible Duck tour, we took a stroll on Newbury Street, a destination known for its many retail shops, salons and restaurants, where only this weekend no cars were allowed, only pedestrians full of street music and street games. We walked for more than 4 Miles when in the end reached the Boston common- history. By luck they had Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet show and we decided to stay back. Almost 200 people showed up for the show. The show went on for 2 hours and we walked back to the hotel where we ate amazing seafood from the hotel and so ended our day.


22nd July 2017
Day 1

The most awaited Journey starts today. The countries which we thought would always be just on our bucket list we are going to get to strike off. So, we reached Boston by midnight, after missing the first flight of our life which was fun because that was in New York. We wished we could go out but there wasn’t any time. Continued our journey till Boston, welcomed by a friendly chauffeur, waiting for us in a Limo. We drove to the Hotel and did the most needed and important thing. Sleep!


20th July 2017
Meet Rini & Vivian

How would you describe your Go Green in the City experience?
One of the major reasons for me to enlist in the competition was the association of an innovative company like Schneider Electric. Entering with a simple yet thought through idea and proceeding to win the prestigious competition was a dream come true. However, a major part of the credit goes to our assigned mentor who did not just refine the idea but also helped us work more as a team. - Rini

It was similar to a rollercoaster ride - full of thrills and fun! From the day we started brainstorming ideas for the first stage, till the moment we heard, "... and the winner is team Germany!", it has been a very exciting journey. I have picked up a good deal of knowledge and made lots of memories along the way. - Vivian

How has your life changed since winning GGitC?
Winning the competition has strongly encouraged my belief that no idea is too small as long as it is well executed with the right intention of development. Since Go Green in the City, I have involved myself more towards sustainable energy technology and kept a close eye on the developments at SE. Winning the competition has given me this incredible opportunity to work at SE, Berlin, where I am getting the first-hand experience with the products and development at Schneider. - Rini

I would say that the change already began when we decided to participate in GGitC. Knowing that you would be competing with thousands of brightest minds across the globe, it took a lot of courage to believe in the idea we had. Winning the competition has fortified my confidence in my bohemian way of thinking and has invigorated my deep desire of bettering the planet. - Vivian

What would you recommend to the next generations of Go Green in the City participants?
Having already got a chance to interact with few prospective participants, my recommendations is to keep their train of thought simple and think out of the box. Schneider Electric does not expect young engineers to develop the path breaking technologies, rather just well directed planned innovative solutions for a greener future. - Rini

The Schneider Electric tagline reads: 'Innovation at every level'. Manifest your ability to innovate and create at every step of the competition. From choosing the challenge area to the concept presentation, be unique and stand out. Convince people that your idea is feasible, invest-worthy and has the power to bring a change. To ‘misquote’ Don Corleone: "Make the GGiC judges an offer they can't refuse". - Vivian

What do you expect from your trip with Schneider Electric?
After an amazing trip to Paris for the GGitC finale, the expectation from the current trip is more of the amazing fun, except for the jet lag. I am looking forward to meeting new interesting people in the course of this trip and sharing our idea when given the opportunity. In the current trip schedule of 4-5 days in each city, I am sure we will find enough time to explore Schneider Electric and the particular city in leisure and make most of it. - Rini

I am looking forward to making incredible memories, the best souvenir a trip can offer! I’m very excited about meeting the Schneider Electric teams at Boston and Sydney, to discuss our idea with them. Experiencing new cuisines, meeting new people and discovering street artists are a few in my list. - Vivian

Why did you choose Boston and Sydney to travel to?
Two main reasons behind choosing Boston was the exciting innovative centre in Schneider Electric, Boston, which is currently working on some impressive breakthrough technologies in my field of interest - microgrid systems. Also Harvard University, which I hope to visit. Given the chance for a world tour, Australia was a choice to travel and see the other side of the globe. - Rini

The short answer: because we are yet to set foot on these continents. So even before we have started our journey, we are sure that we will be leaving a part of ourselves behind before returning home. Moreover, Schneider Electric's North American R&D hub is situated in Boston, will be a delight to visit.

Fun fact: While travelling to these two cities, we will be making a complete trip around the globe! - Vivian

What are you looking forward to the most during the trip?
Given this once in a lifetime opportunity, as an aspiring Electrical Engineer, I look forward to broadening my intellectual perspective and getting introduced to the various state of the art technologies under development at Schneider Electric. In addition, the prospect of meeting people behind these innovations and interacting with the best is exciting. Also, ticking off two continents from my bucket list is always exhilarating. - Rini

A comfortable and safe journey is the first thing I look forward to, as we would be flying for about 54 hours during this adventure! May the force be with all the pilots and their crews. - Vivian

How would you describe yourself?
An ambitious and dedicated individual, with a desire to learn, experience, and relish what I do. - Rini

An introvert (plying between INFJ and INTJ) and an agnostic, who is curious about everything under the Sun and beyond. A firm believer in scientific progress and in the power of technology to solve the challenges we are currently facing and future one. - Vivian

What are your passions?
Photography, painting/sketching, travelling - Rini

As a generalist, I have a list of passions and it gets longer with time. But lately I have discovered that by blending bits of knowledge from different disciplines and by adding a dash of creativity, you can come up with crazy innovative ideas. A few of my interests: IoT technology, High Renaissance art, Tamil history, Formula One, gazing at the night sky and messing around with my guitar. - Vivian

Winners 2015

Mohamad Meraj Shaikh and Spoorthy Kotla from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India won Go Green in the City 2015 with an idea for electricity trading within the residential sector.
Go Green in the City was a great experience as we got to meet like minded people from different countries who share the same enthusiasm for energy management.
Mohamad Meraj Shaikh and Spoorthy Kotla

Winners' trip - USA and New Zealand

5th September 2016
Spoorthy and Mohamad’s Final Thoughts

Lessons learned from Go Green in the City

We can now recognize that if one works hard in anything one firmly believes in then it is completely possible to achieve the end goal against all odds. For us, winning the competition was a far-fetched goal in the beginning; we viewed the competition solely as an opportunity to experiment and learn. We kept proceeding through the challenges we faced one at a time and focused on building something we initially dreamt of. There was a lot to learn from every stone we unturned, and in the end, revealed a remarkable journey for our overall development.

About the Winner’s Trip

The winner’s trip was filled with great learning opportunities: conversing with various Schneider Electric’s executives in relation to our idea, exploring two completely foreign countries, interacting in different cultures, and tasting new cuisines. This is something a lot of twenty somethings might not be able to do so early in their career. We are very fortunate enough to have accomplished it! We are very grateful to Schneider Electric for investing in our professional and personal development.

Winner’s Trip Experiences

To put it concisely, this trip to us was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were the globetrotters! Within many exciting experiences, we were immersed into a multiple of feelings that we can never forget. Educational, unprecedented, and adventurous are the best three words to describe the trip. In retrospect, we can’t pinpoint one day in the trip as a favorite. It was a perfectly guided and well planned trip.

We are very thankful to all the Schneider Electric employees in the US and New Zealand who hosted and treated us with utmost hospitality. We can’t thank enough Ruby Fan, for being available all throughout the trip and helping us out on numerous occasions.

Final thoughts

Ever though Meraj and I are pursuing different things at the moment, we hope to keep our relationship with Schneider Electric alive. We look forward to being a part of their global family in near future to help contribute to their commitment for a sustainable environment.

-Spoorthy and Mohamad


4th September 2016
Leaving with a Heavy Heart

The day was filled with a mix of emotions. On one hand, we were excited to be visiting the art gallery but on the other hand, we were equally emotional as it marked the last day of our trip.

Since we were to leave for the airport at 4pm, we decided to wrap up our tour of the art gallery by 1pm which would leave us with sufficient time to pack our bags. We started off at 10am in the morning, treading on foot since the art gallery was less than a kilometre away from our hotel. Fifteen minutes later, we were standing in front of the entrance of the art gallery which reflected contemporary influence in its design. We toured the museum for an hour or so and finally rested ourselves in the adjacent Albert Park.

At Albert Park, we were sunken in contemplating thoughts and didn’t talk much but admired the surrounding beauty. Deep within, we knew that we were going to miss this trip. It was as though someone was playing an entire reel of our journey of Go Green in the City.

On our way back, we made a short stop at the Auckland Public Library before heading straight for the hotel. By the time we packed our bags and had had lunch, it was already 3:30pm. For the remaining half an hour, we discussed as to how well the trip was organized, and that it would always be part of our memory as one of the most amazing experiences we had ever had.

By 4:00pm, our corporate cab had arrived and was ready to take us to the airport. It was very emotional. With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to Auckland and all of our other life-changing encounters!

-Spoorthy and Mohamad


3rd September 2016
An Experience of a Lifetime

After going through a surge of emotions at the Hobbiton set and starlit ceiling of Waitomo Glowworm caves, we were filled with excitement to take on the ‘Hole in the Rock’ cruise. We have been looking forward to this day since we got to know our plans in New Zealand, and it definitely didn’t disappointed us.

We began the day at 7:00 AM when Great Sights coach came to pick us up to drive us towards Paihia– Bay of islands! It indeed was a long way from Auckland.  The driver tickled our funny bone with his everlasting commentary on the history of New Zealand. It was close to 12:30 PM by the time we reached Paihia. We weren’t suppose to board the cruise until 1:15 PM, so we set out on foot towards town and managed to buy some beautiful souvenirs.

IslandBoatWe were told that the capacity of the cruise was 215 people, but only 75 people were onboard which left us a lot of space to thoroughly enjoy. We were one of the first ones to board and managed to get the best spot on the boat, right in front. Thus, we began our roller coaster ride of the day. Not long after starting our journey, we spotted some adorable dolphins swimming along the boat. This was a first for the both of us to witness dolphins in their natural habitat. The captain said their mood was especially ecstatic to have shown us some swirls and flips. Apparently, this is the only cruise/ tour in the whole North Island which promises a definite sight of dolphins.IslandIsland

The cruise had taken us close to 14 destinations on the Bay of Islands and the most important was ‘Hole in the Rock.’ There was a surge of adrenaline in the crowd when the cruise line sailed right through the hole of the rock arch. We realised that no matter how many pictures we took, it was impossible to capture the beauty of the place. We stood there calmly to absorb our surroundings and live the moment. We have seized the day and not to mention that this experience will be embarked with silver linings in our travel diary.

With this remarkable experience added onto our memoirs, we began our journey back to Auckland. We took a few moments to recapitulate the happenings of the trip and discussed how the past 15 days of our lives have been filled with a lot of firsts, surreal moments, and much more. We reached Auckland by 8:30 PM and after a quick dinner at the hotel, we called it a night and thus ended our penultimate day in New Zealand.

IslandWinners
-Mohamad and Spoorthy


2nd September 2016
Walking into a Fantasy World

We were super excited for the day’s activity of exploring the much talked about and famous ‘Hobbiton.’ Being fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, both of us were really looking forward to this.

At 7:30am, the tour bus picked us up from the hotel, and we began our two and a half journey to the ‘Hobbiton.’ As we passed iconic locations, the bus driver told us about the history of New Zealand.

Once we arrived, we were awestruck by the beauty of the landscape. As far as our eyes could see were green pastures sprinkled with sheep and lambs here and there. Our Hobbiton guide was quite knowledgeable about the place and the Lord of Rings movies. Throughout, she continued to ask movie trivia questions like completing dialogue from the movie. Although we weren’t that successful in answering the questions, we could easily recognize the houses that we were pictured in the movie. It was as though someone was playing the movie reel in front of our eyes. In short, it was surreal!

Hobbiton3

The tour lasted for approximately 2 hours after which we were provided with some delicious drinks to digest our everlasting admiration for the landscape. Following this, we headed for a buffet lunch which was included in our tour.

Hobbiton 4Then, we took a tour of the Waitomo Caves which are famous for their glow worms. It is said that very long ago the ‘Mouri’ people had come to the caves in search for minerals but instead found these glow worms, which are an extraordinary beauty. For the initial part of the tour, we treaded on foot but were later on a boat which took us through the deeper envelopes of the cave. The journey was mesmerizing as we navigated in the dark caves witnessing the aura of the glow worms. Both of us felt like we had arrived into outer spaces with the glow worms representing distant stars.

As the tour of the caves ended, we were directed back to our tour bus. On the drive back, the bus was silent. The stillness in the air was testimony to the fact that we were now super tired and wanted to lay in our beds.

Overall, it was one of the best days on our Schneider Electric journey!

-Mohamad and Spoorthy


1st September 2016
Exploring the Corporate World

Auckland Schneider

At 9:00am, we started the day by taking the company’s cab to the Schneider Electric’s office in Auckland. We were showed around the facility then discussed our idea at length with a marketing manager and his team. We received great feedback about various go-to strategies for marketing our application. We then had lunch with a Schneider Electric employee and to our surprise the country’s president joined us. The conversations were more than just indulging but insightful.

We then headed back to the office to officially present our winning idea to department heads which was followed by an interesting Q&A session. Soon after, they bid us farewell and told us to thoroughly enjoy New Zealand’s tourist attractions for rest of our stay.

Once we reached the hotel, we decided to explore the neighboring Queen Street, Auckland’s famous shopping destination. Then we concluded our third day with some shopping and dinner at Burger King.

– Spoorthy and Mohamad


31st August 2016
Bird’s Eye View

We were now well rested and ready to conquer the city of Auckland!

We started off our day with a heavy breakfast and headed straight for the Sky Tower. Since it was walking distance from our hotel, we decided to tread on foot. For both of us, the Sky Tower was going to be the tallest manmade structure we’ve ever visited. Therefore we were overjoyed with excitement!

The viewing decks stood tall as they gave us a clear 360 degree view of the entire city. The view was surreal as we stood close to a 1000 feet above ground. What created further excitement, was the fact that certain portions of the floor were made from glass which gave us a view of the ground far below. At first, it was really scary but soon we got accustomed to it and started enjoying it, taking selfies and posing. Following this, we also visited the 360 degree cafe which was located at a lower level. It was beautifully designed keeping the overall feel of the unique locale. As the name suggested, it did offer a 360 degree view of the surroundings.

We had a quick lunch at the hotel and headed straight for ‘One Tree Hill.’ Once we had arrived, we were surrounded by green pastures on all sides. Much to our surprise there were several trees. The scenery was so beautiful that it led to us discussing the possibility of shooting a romantic Bollywood sequence here.

It took us close to an hour to reach the summit, but it was worth it. The view from atop was surreal. We could see all that we had covered. Then we noticed there were professions of love made by people for their dear ones through unique arrangements of rocks and stones.

Having made it to the top, we now decided on going to the Planetarium & Observatory to check on their show timings. To our dismay, the next show was not until another two hours at 7pm in the evening. The lady at the counter suggested that we stroll in the park as there could be some retail shops of our interest. After killing some time, we just made the 7pm show at the planetarium. The show lasted for about 40 minutes. It explored in detail about our galaxy and the birth of our universe. The presentations were more than realistic as we felt that we had made a journey outside of Earth.

As the day ended, we were tired but more than that, we were super satisfied with the destinations that we had encountered!

Mohamad and Spoorthy


30th August 2016
Sunsets in Auckland

After a very long flight, we reached the hotel. Both of us were exhausted with the long journey over the ocean, so we took some time to settle in. Around noon, we walked up to the hotel concierge and inquired about the surrounding tourist attractions. After learning about Auckland Waterfront, which was supposed to offer delicious eating joints, we headed towards the harbor. The city’s skyline from the harbor looked amazing!

Auckland Day 1 - Waterfront Edited

After lunch at the Burger Boy, we found ourselves wandering in the New Zealand Maritime Museum. The visit to the museum helped us a great deal in understanding the history of Auckland and how it went from being the City of Volcanos to the City of Sails. After an educating experience at the museum, we had a calm and peaceful walk towards Viaduct Basin via Wynyard Crossing and proceeded towards Silo Park, where we witnessed a beautiful sunset over Auckland’s Harbour Bridge. This reminded both of us of the Newport Bridge in Rhode Island. We then headed back to the hotel for dinner as it was getting very cold so we thought. Coming from Boston, it might take us some time to adjust to the differences in weather.

– Spoorthy and Mohamad


27th August 2016
Prestige is our middle name

Day 7 Harvard and MIT (1) EditedAfter having covered most of the popular destinations in Boston, our eyes were now set on the best known universities in the world: namely Harvard University and MIT!

We had decided to cover the tour on bikes since cycling allows us to discover other interesting places on our way. We cycled along the promenade and after 4.5 miles, we found ourselves standing in front of a sign which read ‘Harvard Business School’. We were nervous but equally excited to be visiting a campus that has been inspiring business schools everywhere for centuries. Being a Saturday, the campus seemed quiet, but we could still feel the campus exuding an unparalleled level of confidence and inspiration. Wandering about the campus, we deliberated about their stringent selection procedures and what our odds were of getting selected!

Despite the sun scorching bright over our heads, we managed to cover the whole of HBS and had a bite to eat at Tasty Burgers. Then we decided to explore the rest of the campus on foot which took us about two and a half hours. We rested for a while before heading back to our bikes.

Before heading to MIT, we made a quick stop at the MIT Museum where we had the opportunity to learn about Massachusetts and the amazing projects that the students at MIT are organizing. MIT had its own aura, the campus was bubbling with enthusiasm and one could easily catch hold of the so-called ‘whiz kids.’ If we were to label Harvard as ‘classy’ then MIT was no short of being considered as ‘sexy.’

As the day ended, we planned out our route back to the hotel which was approximately 3.5 miles. Riding back, our minds were filled with inspiring thoughts about what we had seen and experienced at these amazing campuses.

When we returned, we realized that we had cycled for over 11 miles for the entire day! The day ended on an exhausting but memorable note.

-Mohamad & Spoorthy


26th August 2016
Better than your average day, Quack!

At 10:30 AM, we met Mike and Jennifer B. with whom we had a fun-filled day planned in the city of Boston.  First stop was the New England Aquarium. The first thing that caught our eye was a centrally located huge cylindrical tank simulating a Caribbean reef with a ramp around it. We had a chance to learn about bonnethead sharks, huge sea turtles, eels, and many more fishes. At the lower level of the aquarium, there was a African Penguin exhibit. The penguins were both noisy and adorable at the same time. Then we visited the Interactive Touch Experience where we were allowed to touch various creatures which was definitely a first for both of us. Meraj was bold to touch the sharks and starfishes in the tanks but I was very scared to put my hands into water. However, I managed to give it my best shot.  

Mike wanted to expand our taste palettes by having us try lobster for the first time. Thus, he took us to one of the finest places for seafood in Boston, Legal Seafood which is located right in-front of the aquarium. We all ordered lobster rolls with mayonnaise. Luckily, Meraj and I really liked the dish and savoured it till the last bite.

From there, we began the Boston’s famous Duck Tour. Our host was full of  enthusiasm throughout the entire tour. He shared the elaborate heritage of Boston, and its place in  the American Revolution history. To our astonishment, the Duck bus has the ability to travel both on land and water. Therefore, the Duck drove directly into the Charles River and under the Longfellow Bridge just like any other boat.

After the tour, Mike and Jenn took leave, and we both went to Simons IMAX at the aquarium. We caught the next 3D show, a documentary on Galapagos Island which was very fascinating and marked the end of our penultimate day in Boston.

Spoorthy


25th August 2016
Sailing away!

Day 5 - on sail boatWaking up to an amazing view of the Newport bridge started our day in the right direction. We had breakfast at the hotel and were just in time to meet Jennifer who was going to take us around Newport.  She planned a sail excursion for us, and our excitement could barely be contained. All of us headed to Bowen’s Wharf, where our cruise began and were struck by total awe of the beauty of Rhode Island. On the cruise, we sailed by all the nearby islands and described the history of the intricate buildings. It was a very pleasant day, and the sail on the sea felt surreal. Meraj and I could not take enough pictures to capture the beautiful surroundings.

Day 5 At hotel Resize

Once the sail concluded, we headed to a place called Diego’s for lunch. We have covered all types of cuisines so far in the US except Mexican, and we accomplished that at Diego’s. Conversations went from Diego, a well-known wrestler, to who will be the next winner of Go Green in the City 2016.

From there, we headed to Thames Street to do some shopping. Shortly after, Jennifer drove us to the Kingston station, where we learned the train was delayed by 30 minutes. When we finally arrived back in Boston, we took a taxi to the hotel, checked in, and dropped off our luggage. We had some time to kill so we went shopping on Newbury Street and returned to the hotel by 9:30 pm.

Tomorrow, we are looking forward to the Boston Duck Tour…

– Spoorthy


24th August 2016
Having a taste of showing off

We rested well the previous night and prepared ourselves for the journey that laid ahead!
Our Amtrak train was scheduled to depart at 9:30am in the morning so we checked out of our hotel and headed to the train station. The train journey was exceedingly smooth and comfortable as we sunk into our seats and sipped on our complimentary drinks which brought on no complaints by ourselves. Oh, the perks of travelling Business Class. As we saw the station we were suppose to get off, approaching, we dutifully gathered our belongings and stood near the Business Class gates. All was good until we realized that there was nobody to open the door. In an attempt to get out, we hurried to the next carriages, but since people were simultaneously boarding the train we couldn’t exit. Suddenly, the train began to pick up speed and continue on its journey. That’s when a phone call from Jennifer P. came to our rescue, giving us assurance that she would be at the next platform in no time. We were super relieved on hearing this. Kudos to Jenny!

Day 4 Celestial Cafe Resize

After meeting Jenny, we headed straight for lunch at the Celestial Cafe. That’s where we met Catherine, Jennifer B., Samantha, and Kane. The lunch was sumptuous and the conversations were even better. Following this, we left for our big event: the Schneider Electric office in West Kingston. We were given a tour around the office then we presented our idea to the HR and sales team. All of them were super impressed with not only our idea but also our presentation skills. We were respectfully glad to receive such compliments and suggestive comments.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

Day 4 Breaker's Mansion Resize

Then our chauffeur arrived to take us to ‘The Breaker’s Mansion’ where we spent an hour or so before moving on to the much awaited food tour. Marie was our food tour guide who shared her passion of food. We started with a Japanese noodle bar called Boru which all of us absolutely loved the dish. However, the difficulty came with how to actually eat the food. We initially tried to eat the noodles with chopsticks, but we were terrible in handling them so we had to resort to using forks. After Boru, we headed to The Fifth Element where we had spinach balls and mushrooms. The spinach balls tasted amazing! Supposedly, it is one of the hotel’s delicacies and popular with the locals. Then we went to our next destination, Malt on Broadway, where we had brussels sprouts and ceviche. It was our first time to have brussels sprouts, and we absolutely loved them. We then ended our tour with fried cheesecake dessert at Caleb and Broad. Could we ask for a better ending to the day?

– Spoorthy and Mohamad


23rd August 2016
Trip to the Boston ONE campus

Day 3 - Boston One entrance 1

We began the day with our journey to the Boston ONE campus. Mike Christopher from HR met us and gave us a detailed overview of schedule planned for rest of the day. Soon what followed, was a tour of the facility by Arpit Chaturvedi from Corporate Strategy. He shared with us in great detail about the various Smart building applications and products put to use at the campus and Schneider’s line of work carried out within Boston. It was indeed an educational tour for both of us about the way Schneider tests its products and how its own offices are a live example of their environmental passions.

Day 3 - Boston ONE campus
After the tour, Mike took us for lunch at The Palmers. Some others joined us there, and we got to taste some seafood delicacies of Boston. We then headed back to campus to pitch our Go Green in the City winner’s idea at an open house session. We had a great experience presenting the idea to the employees of all backgrounds and received valuable suggestions to develop the interface and make it more profitable.

Once we concluded the session with a very interactive Q&A session, Mike took us to an Italian restaurant for dinner where we met some interesting people. Our discussions were intriguing full of a culmination of thoughts coming from various cultural backgrounds. Our discussion covered the future of artificial intelligence to athletic stars who had gone broke. We discussed it all!

After dinner, we headed our separate ways and in no time were standing in front of ‘The Liberty Hotel.’ Having been a long and busy afternoon, we finally decided to call it a day to avoid overexertion.

– Spoorthy and Mohamad

Day 3 - Lunch with Mike and team at Palmers


22nd August 2016
First time experiences

We were super excited about the next morning as we had a packed schedule of exciting events. At first, it was pretty difficult to select which ones to visit but we finally arrived at a consensus and decided to tour the Museum of Science. Since it was a mile away, we chose to rent bikes which were offered as a complimentary service from the hotel. Initially, it was difficult since the breaking mechanism of the bikes were different from the ones that we were used to in India but eventually we got use to it.

When reaching the Museum of Science, we hurriedly got into the queue that reminded us of the check-in scenario we experienced at the airports. While standing in the queue, we decided on what we wanted to look at the museum. Starting off our tour with the 4-D show, I felt fascinated since this was the first time I had ever been to show like this. Following this, we took a tour of the entire Museum inch by inch, ensuring that we don’t miss anything. One exhibition caught our eye: the live working of the Van de Graff generator which explains how thunder and lightning is created. We watched gleefully as small children seemed awestruck which made us reminiscent of our school days. Then, we took a short break for lunch at the ‘River View Cafe’ and returned to our mission of completing the entire tour. By 5:00 pm, we were out.

Day 2 - Lunch at the Riverview

We turned in our bikes, handed over the keys, and freshened up before leaving for the Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill reminded us of the old yet dominant English architecture. We then took a quick tour of the ‘Boston Common’ and the ‘Boston Public Park.’ By the time we finished, it was 7:15pm, and we found ourselves standing in front of the ‘Citi Emerson Theatre.’ Being diehard fans of the Bourne Series, we decided on watching the latest installment in the series namely ‘Jason Bourne’.

We left the theatre having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at around 9:40pm. With our bellies rumbling, we headed straight for a pizza parlour that we had spotted earlier in the day. Since it was getting late, we took the pizza back to the hotel where the day ended on a great note with eating the best pizza we’d ever had!

– Spoorthy


21st August 2016
Boston, a city of surprises

After 18 hours of long journey from Mumbai, we finally reached Boston and were welcomed by the chauffeur from the local transportation. While Meraj was awestruck by the luxurious car that came to pick us up, I chatted with the chauffeur to get the inside scoop on the best places to explore in Boston. The chauffeur was kind enough to take a long route to the hotel so that we could catch a glimpse of the city. He then dropped us off at our hotel where we were very impressed by the grandiose entrance and intrigued about its grim history. We took some time to rest a bit before we set out to explore Boston!

After getting a good understanding about the nearby places to explore, we headed towards Faneuil Hall, claimed to be a happening marketplace. Fortunately, on our way there, we ran into the Boston Greenfest 2016 parade which provided the setting for a local band performance and street vendors with various crafts and food. We then ran into a lot of street performers like a unicycle rider, a dance troupe, and a bunch of guitarists. Oh boy! The place was indeed exciting.

While we spent the afternoon on the streets of Boston having a great time, the sun shone mercilessly. The afternoons might be a little too hot, but visiting Boston at this time of the year allows one to blend in with the local folks. Judging by our first day spent here, we discovered the best way to describe Boston is to call it The Walking City because all major attractions of the city are within a walking radius from the center. We are looking forward to discovering more surprises of the city in our time spent here.

– Spoorthy


20th August 2016
And the journey begins…

DSC00600_small

Go Green in the City 2015 winners, Mohamad Meraj Shaikh and Spoorthy Kotla from India, are setting off on their prize trip around the world with Schneider Electric. Before Mohamad and Spoorthy fly over to the USA and New Zealand, we had an opportunity to interview them about the upcoming trip. Read on!

Go Green in the City experience

It wasn’t an all night’s work that gave us the podium finish at the finale in Paris, but an elaborate yet yielding voyage of hard work for six months. Learning a lot and experiencing a competition amongst the brightest minds of the world, has led me on an exhilarating journey. Go Green in the City 2015 has been undoubtedly, one of the greatest accomplishments of my student life!
– Spoorthy

I personally felt it was a great experience not because we won but because of the interactions we had at various stages of the competition and the knowledge we gained through it. The finalists were a pool of highly qualified and sharp individuals who had their priorities set straight; therefore, it was further motivating and inspiring to be selected amongst such individuals. Lastly, getting the opportunity to represent my country and being referred to as ‘Team India’ at the finals was a gift in itself.
– Mohamad

Recommendations to the next generations of Go Green in the City participants

One thing that I want all the participants for future editions of the competition is to understand what value addition their idea will bring into the community. At the same time, one should not be working on a science project which is too difficult to implement. Innovation and feasibility act as a filter for an idea, followed by the impact created on energy savings.
– Spoorthy

I think the foremost advice I would give to any participant would be to maintain a balance between innovation and feasibility. Both of these qualities are crucial to your success at Go Green in the City. Another quality is financing the idea. Where does the funding/ cash flow come from? Lastly, presentation, both in document and physical presentation, goes a long way in submitting an outstanding idea.
– Mohamad

Expectations from the Trip

I’m looking forward to networking with the Schneider Electric executives in Boston and Auckland, presenting our idea, and receiving valuable feedback. We have the opportunity to take a closer look to understand how Schneider strives for a greener tomorrow. I also look forward to exploring the cities we are visiting.
– Spoorthy

I’m super excited! We’ve been told that there are some surprises along the way, and I’m so looking forward to it! On the professional front, I’m keen on interacting with the various senior executives at Boston and Auckland. Their viewpoint about our idea would lend a new perspective and provide scope for future development.
– Mohamad

Why USA and New Zealand?

Well, when the idea of world tour was presented to me, first thing that came to my mind was rounding up all the countries. Since we had to pick only two counties, we thought we might as well make the dream of a trip around the world come true for once. Hence, we carefully picked the USA and New Zealand, and we are lucky that Schneider has well-established facilities at both the countries. In addition, these countries offer a great platforms for learning and networking.
– Spoorthy

I personally feel that USA is a very accepting nation as far as innovation is concerned. So, it was an obvious choice, coming from a team that won a competition based on ‘innovation.’ As far as New Zealand is concerned, it’s a scenic place I’ve always seen growing up watching fantasy movies. Visiting New Zealand would be like a dream come true for me!
– Mohamad

About Spoorthy and Mohamad

I have been trying to find my calling, and this has often found me exploring various avenues since college. One of such endeavours has lead me to ‘Go Green in the City.’ This quest has always been guided by the desire to keep learning, solving problems, and coming up with solutions. My passion for strategy and product development was enhanced during my journey towards winning Go Green in the City. I want to see myself adding value to the society in the shoes of a successful businesswoman in coming years, and I believe the key to that is continuous learning and hard work.
– Spoorthy

I would describe myself as a simple and genuine person, who stubbornly wants to succeed in all his endeavours through directed hard work and perseverance. Go Green in the City is an enriching experience for it helps enhance my understanding in the product field and motivate me to pursue it as a career. I believe in the value creation process and always ask myself ‘Am I creating value for the people around me.’ If Yes, I pursue it. In short, I want to be the visionary of the coming decade that people look up to. I don’t want to be the next Bill gates, Steve Jobs, or anybody else; I want to be the first Meraj!
– Mohamad

Winners 2014

Lee Man Ki and Jin Deng Keith Chan from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China – Hong Kong SAR, became the winners of Go Green in the City 2014 with their idea of a mobile application that could monitor, analyze, and manage energy consumption activities.
Go Green in the City is a lifetime experience, which has taken us from developing the idea within a team to improving it with our mentor and to presenting it to the judges at Schneider Electric. It is amazing how many people can participate in the competition and receive resources from Schneider Electric to help them move forward with their ideas.
Lee Man Ki and Jin Deng Keith Chan

Winners' trip - USA and Brazil

17th April 2015
The ideal place for growing and innovating

Our winner trip of Go Green in the City 2014 has come to an end. At the end of this wonderful journey, we would like to share some takeaways with all of you.

Experiencing a different culture

Schneider Electric has always provided us with the chance to learn from different cultures around the world. The first day Jasmine and I arrived at Paris in 2014 for the final presentation we met the eleven finalist teams coming from eleven different countries in the world. We taught each other how to greet people in our native languages, and tried our best to repeat it on stage. There was a plethora of cultures in display.

Extending this multi-cultural experience, Jasmine and I have got the chance to travel to Sao Paulo and Boston for the first time (indeed, the first time for both of us to South America). We have tried the local food and beverages, and talked to local employees of Schneider Electric. Through the nicely planned city tour, we have learned much about the history and customs of the two cities. All these have enriched our international horizon. Perhaps equally important, we have truly enjoyed ourselves.

Connecting with great people

Apart from having fun, Schneider Electric has provided us with the platform to network with great people. Right from winning Go Green in the City 2014, Jasmine and I had a chance to talk to business directors at Schneider Electric in Hong Kong. We discussed the business environment and policy context pertaining to the realization of our ideas. Those conversations taught us to think in multiple perspectives.

Continuing this fruitful conversation, Jasmine and I have presented our ideas to people at Schneider Electric in Sao Paulo and Boston, including the President, and experts in internal communication, hardware, software engineering, and talent acquisition. They have provided us with insightful suggestions on technical issues and customer needs. On top of that, they have shown us around their offices and plants, and explained to us their operations and solutions. We find Schneider Electric is an ideal place to realize our winning idea!

Go Green in the City 2014 is a rewarding experience. In retrospect, Schneider Electric has invested a lot in our personal and professional development. Here Jasmine and I would like to express our gratitude to the employees of Schneider Electric who have made this trip possible (and amazing). We strongly encourage students passionate about energy management to participate in this wonderful competition.

Keith


14th April 2015
So long, farewell

I am now on my way back to Shanghai for work while Keith is on his way to the United Kingdom to continue his studies. This trip allowed us to broaden our horizon, to meet great people in both the United States and Brazil operations, and also to reunite.

We were pleased to spend our last day in Boston, which is also the last day of our wonderful trip with Andrea. After lunch, we set off to the Boston Common, which is the starting point of the Freedom Trail tour. The Freedom Trail links together 16 locations significant to the history of the United States, marked mainly with brick. Guided by professional and humorous Elizabeth Oliver (our tour guide who took the name of a historical character), we understood a lot more about the history of Boston and also the United States. We highly recommend people who would like to take a fun and interactive history lesson of 90 minutes to join this tour. Even with little background on history, I still managed to understand most of the content.

Along the Freedom Trail, we stopped by the Boston Common, the Park Street subway station, the Granary burying ground, Old City Hall, Site of the Boston Massacre and reached the Faneuil Hall as the ending point. We spent quite a long time at the Granary burying ground. Since many people crucial to the independence of the United States are buried there, the burying ground is a good place to tell their stories. Curiously, the burying ground does not only serve reputable people. In fact, anyone can be buried there. Many famous people like Samuel Adams, Peter Faneuil, John Hancock, James Otis and Paul Revere are there just by coincidence.

After the tour, we walked to the waterfront, which is only several hundred meters away. I love to enjoy the sea view, which I often do in my home city. Facing the Atlantic Ocean without an end, I felt the power of nature, and also — a call for seafood! After a short break at the hotel, we headed to the waterfront again for our last seafood meal in Boston. While enjoying seafood by the ocean, I waved goodbye to the sunset, Andrea, Boston and my great partner in the Go Green in the City team, with the deepest gratitude in my heart.

On the plane,

Jasmine


13th April 2015
Visit to Boston ONE Campus

Today, we visited the Boston One Campus office of Schneider Electric in Andover. After we had got ourselves dressed formally, we had a busy breakfast downstairs in the hotel discussing the organization of the sharing of our winning idea. The breakfast was intimately followed by meeting our chauffeur, who drove us to the suburban part of Boston. We grasped the commuting time for rehearsing our presentation. The framework was different from the one we had done in Paris last June, because this time, due to the context of our sharing, we aimed to present our idea very concisely with only one slide. Having reached a consensus on what terms and concepts must be mentioned in this simplified presentation, we went through our storyline several times in the car.

After an hour of commuting, we arrived at the ONE Campus office of Schneider Electric. Greeting us were Andrea and her colleagues from the HR department. We were relieved when Andrea told us that it was going to be a very informal presentation. We settled down in a meeting room, set up the equipment, and began our sharing. We were glad that Mike Bielby, director of Buildings EcoStruxure Labs in Building Business, was able to join us. There were some very good questions about the technicality of our solution, as well as the problems we aimed to solve. Understanding the purpose behind our idea, Mike was able to suggest several existing technologies that Schneider Electric had mastered to help realize our idea.  We were amazed by how clearly he could visualize our idea, came up with the application of relevant technologies, and explained the concept to us in an intuitive manner.

The discussion was carried forward to the lunch at an Italian restaurant, where we met nine colleagues from Schneider Electric. We were glad to meet Shawn, a solution architect, who was working on a mobile apps similar to ours. He showed us the apps he had built for hospital management. The user-friendliness of interface design, comprehensiveness of functionality, and speed of remote control were impressive. We were amazed about the sophistication and maturity of the interactive solutions that were already available inside Schneider Electric.  We exchanged our contact and hoped to work on the idea together someday.

Immediately after our idea exchange with Shawn, we were given a tour around the laboratories of ONE Campus by Mike Bielby. In the data center, we learnt about the I.T. solutions Schneider Electric had developed for its clients, and was using itself (Schneider Electric has spent $8 million to install its own products ONE Campus for live demonstration to clients). We also met several experts working on the communication between I.T. systems. They inspired us to think about the context in which our solution was working, so as not to forget the need to integrate competently with existing systems. This is a lesion we would bear in mind on our innovation path. Both Jasmine and I have learnt a lot from this firm visit.

Keith


12th April 2015
An artistic weekend

Having breakfast at the hotel café has been an enjoyable experience during our stay in Boston. With no exception, we started today with a pleasant breakfast.

If you have been following our blog for the last two days, you would have noticed that we are art enthusiasts when it comes to our choice of destinations during the Boston trip. Today was another artistic day. We went to the Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is one of the largest museums in the United States. It is also a popular place for tourists to Boston because art is a door to exploring history of a place. The museum does not only collect art from the United States and Boston, but also works from all over the world. They have collections from the ancient Greek civilization, Egyptian civilization, French impressionist artists, Chinese calligraphers and many more. At the ancient Egyptian exhibition area they even have a mummy, which is one of the visitors’ favorite parts. It was hard to see all exhibitions in one day.

In addition to the above-mentioned regular exhibition, there was a special exhibition on Japanese art and culture. The special exhibition includes artworks from Katsushika Hokusai, photography responding to 3/11 and Japanese toy prints. The Museum of Fine Arts has the largest collection of Japanese works under one roof outside Japan. This exhibition is attractive to a fan of Japanese culture, particularly the works of Hokusai. Hokusai is the first Japanese artist who is internationally recognized, bringing Japanese culture worldwide. He is best-known as the author of the woodblock print series ‘Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji’. You may not remember Hokusai’s name, but you will definitely recognize ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ from the series.

At night, we went to the North End once again, which is a great place for gourmets. With better planning ahead, we finally made it to a one-hour-queue Italian restaurant called Giacomo’s Ristorante. This is my first time having local Italian food. We had pastas and lobster ravioli, with fried calamari as an appetizer. The calamari was different from the fried squid from China. The squid is softer and smaller than the calamari while the sauce has a richer taste. The sauces for the pastas we ordered were the highlights so we did not only finish the pastas, but also the sauces. As a part of the plan, we wanted to have Italian pastries after the dinner. Yet, the meal was too tempting and we were too full to have the pastries. So, our day ended with a walk from the North End back to our hotel.

Jasmine


11th April 2015
Academic journey in Boston

After two cloudy days, we finally saw the deep blue sky today. Motivated by the duck tour we took yesterday, Jasmine and I would want to visit the universities in Cambridge. Boston has a high concentration of talents; Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University are located almost next to each other. Isn’t it amazing that several of the best universities in the world could be found altogether in such a small city? With excitement, we set off for our “academic” journey at noon.

This was our first time to use subway in Boston. Interestingly, the subway system in Boston is the oldest in the entire North America, with the first underground streetcar traffic commencing as early as 1897. This accomplishment reinforced our impression of Boston being one of the first developed regions in the United States. The interior design of the subway station was traditional but systematic. We could hear the high-pitched sound of friction as the train was pulling off. From the Park Street Station, we crossed the Charles River and arrived at the Harvard Square station within 20 minutes.

The buildings of the Harvard University were very elegant. We were so amazed by the fact that in front of us was the oldest institution of higher education in the entire United States, founded in 1636 by John Harvard. The old tradition of Harvard is preserved without hindering the new development of values; from the Harvard Square subway station we could see a rainbow flag hoisted on the First Parish of Cambridge, symbolizing the support of the church for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. Despite the fact that the rainbow flag was repeatedly stolen and vandalized back in 2011, the parishioners insisted in re-hoisting the flag. We need more of these people in our world.

After having delicious burgers and onion rings at a restaurant, whose interior was filled with posters of academic jokes, we visited some academic buildings. There we saw a recycling machine, which gave students 5 pennies for every used aluminum can they put in. This is exactly the business idea I had with my former business partner back in 2011. During our early years of undergraduate studies, we were imagining a “reverse” vending machine to give people financial incentives to participate in recycling. But then we were not entrepreneurial to build the machine due to the doubt about market acceptance – but now in front of me was the realization of our idea! I felt both reassured about its coming true and guilty about our inaction. I have learnt that if we don’t do it fast enough, someone else will do it for us. This was a lesson that stayed with me in sleep that night.

In retrospect, we were surprised by how much we had walked. We began from Harvard University and walked to MIT; then we crossed Charles River to Boston University, and walked to the very end of the avenue to look for a Korean restaurant. By the time we returned to our hotel, it was already 10pm. It was a long day. Nevertheless, we enjoyed this fruitful “academic” journey.

Keith


10th April 2015
History and cultural tour in Boston

Today is the official beginning of our journey in Boston, USA. I haven’t been to the USA before, but products, information and knowledge, etc. from this country is in fact influencing my everyday life. For example, the phone I am using daily is from USA. Clothes I wear are from the USA brands. I read books published by the USA universities. So, during this trip, I hope to see how people in this country live, what the culture is and much more.

First of all, a great thank you to Andrea for arranging our trip in USA and being our local contact. Today, she registered the Boston duck tour for us. The Boston duck tour is quite a must-do in Boston. The tour guide drove us around Boston in 80 minutes in the ‘duck’. The ‘duck’ is a vehicle that works both on land and in the water. We passed by almost all the famous tourist spots in Boston and learnt about the history behind those places from our guide’s explanation. The most exciting part of the duck tour to me was the ride in the Charles River. When the ‘duck’ reached the Charles River, it went into the water! The Charles River forms the border between downtown Boston where we are staying at, and Cambridge and Charlestown. Boston has just gone through a tough winter and ice in the river has just melted away in these few weeks so that we can go into the water. How fortuitous we are!

After the duck tour, we had lunch in a reputable seafood restaurant. Along the Atlantic Ocean, Boston has been famous for its seafood, especially lobster. Eating seafood and lobster is another must-do in Boston without a doubt. Lobster roll, anchovy and chowder is what we had for lunch.

After lunch, we thought that visiting the historical Boston Public Library should be a good way to learn more about the culture of Boston. After the visit, it was hard for me to express how impressed I was. The Boston Public Library located in the Copley Square is the Central Library in Boston. It is treated as headquarter for the 24 library branches around Boston. It is formed by two buildings—The McKim building and its extension, the Johnson building. Both of their architectural styles are stunning. As the second largest public library in the USA in terms of collection, we were amazed by the variety and number of books it shelves. How lucky Bostonians are as they can enjoy a rich reading journey at their leisure times.

Reaching to the top level of the library, I viewed an exhibition about the celebration of Handel and Haydn society bringing music to people for 200 years. I recalled my life as an amateur chorister in Hong Kong, singing pieces of classical music just as the society in Boston does. It was impressive to learn the long history of this music society implying the value of classical music to the Bostonians’ life.

Jasmine


9th April 2015
Arrival at Boston, Massachusetts

Our trip to Sao Paulo has come to an end. During the past week, we have enjoyed the hospitality of Schneider Electric Brazil. We will miss our time together with Talisson and Cristina.

After 10 hours of flight and transit at Newart, Jasmine and I arrived at the second city of our trip: Boston. As we came out from the airport, we immediately felt the chilly air of Boston; the contrast in temperature sufficed to remind us we were beginning another new journey. Waiting for us was a chauffeur arranged by Schneider Electric. He was very polite and helpful, giving us an overview of some must-go places in Boston. Within 10 minutes, we reached our accommodation for the coming week: Langham Hotel Boston.

Jasmine and I spent an hour settling down before exploring the nearby restaurants for lunch. Walking the streets of Boston was a special experience. On one hand, we saw clusters of red-brick buildings akin to those we found in England. These building clusters were red and short, displaying a harmonious architectural style as if each separate building belonged to the same community. On the other hand, we saw commercial buildings of enormous size, to which we were very sensitive, especially having been to Sao Paulo just before arriving here. Blending the traditional red-brick buildings with modern commercial high-rises, no wonder Boston was called the New England.

At night, we met Jasmine’s friend living in Boston. Knowing it was our first time here, she decided to treat us for a great meal. We went to the Italian district in North End to try out a nice restaurant. Yet we felt somewhat tired after the dinner. After all, we had had 10 hours of flight. Because of that, we decided to explore the night life of Boston another day. For the time being, we would to take a good rest at the hotel.

Keith


8th April 2015
Spreading love from Brazil

Today was our last day in Sao Paulo. The day started with a visit to the Jurubatura plant in the early morning. The Jurubatura plant is very close to the head office. When we arrived, our colleague gave us a brief introduction about the work of the solution center. At that time, I did not really understand the reason for introducing us to the work of the solution center during a plant visit. But, when we had a tour around the plant, I understood. We expected to see assembly lines and materials, while all we could see were working people in the office. Not long ago, the Jurubatura plant was a production plant. But when the region turned to a commercial area, the rent became not worthwhile for a production facility. That’s why it was turned to an office with extra high ceiling and some natural lighting, which both Talisson and I found attractive to work in. Previous production facilities were moved to a more remote manufacturing area. This is a smart idea for the use of resources. After that, an introduction from industry business unit marked the end of our plant visit.

Back to the office, we listened to two more presentations from colleagues, which completed our understanding of Schneider Electric Brazil. One of them was about digitization, which is in fact the trend around the world. Luiz who shared with us his work on digitization had a mind set close to ours. All three of us agreed that in the era of digitization, we can make use of big data to build a close relationship with partners. He gave us some examples, which demonstrated how Schneider Electric Brazil grows rapidly in the digitization aspect.

Another presentation was about the internal communication. We learnt about Empresa Legal, cool company in Portuguese at Schneider Electric Brazil (SEB). The internal communication programme is implemented in Schneider Electric operations around the world. SEB does it in a local context, which amplifies the impact of the programme to employees.

After enjoying our last meal in Brazil with colleagues, we said goodbye to the great people we’ve met in Brazil and set off to the airport. We are going to miss not only the delicious Brazilian cuisine and the blue sky, but also the friendly Brazilians. Everyone here is very willing to express themselves, to show their love to others, and to put a warm smile on their faces. We will not only miss the enthusiastic people, but we will also learn from them – to be more expressive of people and things we love.

Jasmine


7th April 2015
Responsible production – a visit to the Sumaré plant

Today we had a visit to a Schneider Electric plant. At 7am we set off for a long car ride to Sumaré, a city next to Sao Paulo. During the one-hour ride, Jasmine and I saw the magnificent countryside of Sao Paulo: there were dense forests, clusters of small houses, and croplands. Talisson told us that many people were moving to live in the suburban area because the city center of Sao Paulo became too crowded; we were certainly convinced as we had already witnessed the unbelievably busy traffic during the rush hours. Maybe that was a good idea – it should be pleasant to watch the beautiful greenery every morning before work.

After about an hour, we arrived at the plant. The director and managers of the plant warmly welcomed us with some Brazilian cheese bread and chocolate cake. From the presentations about the operation and strategy of the plants, we knew that the plant had undergone a transformation in 2014. Having adopted the Schneider Production System, the plant became more organized, efficient, and productive. Each of the improvements was backed by concrete key performance indicators. We were amazed by how much the plant was transformed in just one year.

Following the presentations, the plant managers offered to give us a tour around the assembly line. Each of us wore the full safety equipment and entered the factory building. Against my stereotype about factories, the working environment there was surprisingly tidy and organized. The indoor air was well-ventilated. The floor was marked into different areas for each step of the production process. Following the path reserved for visitors, we saw how a Blokset was produced from the scratch. This was particularly exciting to Jasmine since Blokset was her favorite Schneider Electric product (she decided to shoot a photo with herself hugging the Blokset after the tour).

For me, I was impressed by the Ecofit center, where Schneider Electric recycles its used products and those of its competitors’. Behind the recycling process was the creativity of the workers: they had to figure out how to redesign each collected product. The production cost for each recycled product was as low as 50% of that of a new product, thus the Ecofit center made both commercial and environmental sense. Due to its low cost, the recycled products were popular among firms in South America. This is a model that all responsible producers should adopt.

After the visit, we returned to the city center of Sao Paulo. Christina and Julianna from the Talent Acquisition Team at Schneider Electric Brazil invited us to dine at Veríssimo at Rua Flórida. We had a very nice dinner with Christina and her family, as well as Julianna and her husband. Time passed quickly as we talked about some big news in Brazil, and our perspectives about the impact of digital technologies on human interaction. Our day ended with a delicious Spanish desert.

Keith


6th April 2015
Hello, Schneider Electric Brazil!

After being tourists in Sao Paulo city for several days, we visited Schneider Electric Brazil (SEB) head office on the first working day after the Easter holidays. For the whole day, we were meeting colleagues from different business units in Brazil and learning about their work. It was rewarding and inspiring to talk to those, who are from the other side of the world.

At first, Cristina from the Talent Acquisition team gave us an overview of SEB. Then she brought us to meet with the president and human resources vice president of SEB. We shared our winning idea, and discussed the energy landscapes in Brazil and Hong Kong. It was our pleasure to receive warm welcome from the top management in SEB.

The most valuable part of a visit is always the exchange of knowledge and culture that are specific in the area. Cristina told us that the challenge of talent acquisition in Brazil mainly comes from the education system.

The overview was followed by an introduction from the colleagues from Industry business unit, IT business unit, retail business unit, customer care center, energy and sustainability service, and process automation unit.

Thanks to the brilliant presentation from our colleagues, we understood the different work functions and different business units in SEB within a short period of time. Additionally, we got several key insights from the whole day of sharing:

  • First, it is important to talk the customer’s language in order to develop the intimacy. To put it another way, I would say it is crucial to put yourself in the other’s shoes if you want to develop a long-lasting and rewarding relationship with them.
  • Second, it is hard not to have stress at work. Important is to know how to relieve the stress and create a good working environment. For example, there is an area set up for massage, sports, video games, nap, etc. in the office when people want to relax. Also, there is a café which I think is more than a pantry inside the office building for people to mingle and relax. These are really appreciated!
  • Third, Brazil has a different electricity market structure from Hong Kong. The special structure and the energy crisis we are facing nowadays give rise to awareness about the energy efficiency and bring need for energy services. Opportunities come when we make use of our creativity to solve the energy problem. In fact, this also aligns with the mission of Go Green in the City.

We ended the day with a nice dinner in a pizza restaurant recommended by Talisson. Though we could not read the Portuguese on the menu, we managed to order a very delicious Brazil style pizza and some special drinks. Besides, it was fun to communicate with the waiters in single Portuguese words and body language.

Jasmine


5th April 2015
Another day of sightseeing, or There and back again

Today is the Easter Sunday. Almost everybody in Sao Paulo is off from work. Jasmine and I decided to immerse ourselves in the leisurely pace of the holiday, and explore the river Rio Tietê, which is a landmark just within the walking distance from our hotel. Rio Tietê is a river that goes through Sao Paulo from southeast to northwest. Its name signifies “the truthful river”.  Once used for fishing and sports activities, it has become too polluted for the same purposes, mainly due to the industrialization and uncoordinated urban expansion of the 1940s through 1970s. We were thus motivated to take a closer look at the river as an embedded symbol of the tradeoff of development (and maybe somewhat by the nice blue sky of a holiday day).

After lunch, we set off from the hotel and entered the surrounding neighborhood. The houses along the avenue were beautifully decorated, some with an explicit theme. There was one house with musical notes painted on its wall, and another whose exterior resembled a castle (which looked pretty much like my kindergarten). An owner was even more innovative, hanging keyboards and parts of hard disks onto the gate of its office to tell pedestrians it was a computer store. The effort of each of these owners had made the avenue appealing and the walking experience enjoyable. Having researched into the walkability of different streets in Hong Kong, I would say these houses provide a great example of place-making. Yet the collective good of a vibrant looking neighborhood is entirely at the mercy of individual house owners, and there is little the Hong Kong government could do for its city.

Eventually, after 20 minutes, we reached the end of the avenue, only to find that we had walked in the opposite direction! Fortunately, we came across a local supermarket, something we would not have encountered otherwise. This provided an opportunity to explore the local food culture of Sao Paulo. As expected, our finding was surprising – almost half of the supermarket was dedicate to selling fruits. I bought a small box of assorted fruits for the long-anticipated walk along Rio Tietê and left the supermarket. Interestingly, before we walked too far away, we tried a tiny grape from the fruit box, and immediately got determined to return to buy one whole pack of grapes; they were just sweet and fresh. I could testify that the fruits I bought here were the best I have ever had!

After another 30 minutes, we walked from one end of the avenue to the other. This time we were quite sure Rio Tietê was in front of us – somewhere after two highways that were too busy to cross. We stood at the curb for several minutes to muse over our “failed” plan. Then Jasmine said to me, “well, that is just like the process of innovation.” She was right. Before setting off for our journey, we did not know whether we would succeed or not (though this particular incident could have been prevented by more research). But the beautiful houses we saw along the journey, and the sweet grapes we got from the unexpected supermarket, were perhaps worth more than the originally planned itinerary.

Keith


4th April 2015
Samba and other local experiences

Today, I felt like a Brazilian because we visited places where local people spend their weekends, thanks to Talisson who brought us there.

Before going for lunch, we visited a market and got a taste of the sugar cane juice. Traditionally, Brazilians buy fresh vegetables and fruits, and daily necessities from the market on the street, although in modern days we usually go to the supermarket for everything. Some traditional markets are still kept and we had a chance to visit one in Sao Paulo.

When we talk about Brazilian culture, we think of the carnival, football, samba, etc. History and culture in Brazil are rich. Today, we chose to experience one of them, the Samba. Samba can refer both to the music genre and to the dancing style. We went to the Bar Samba which is a famous local bar with live Samba music. We always see the dance and listen to the music through the web or television, but this is our first time to listen to live Samba music. The Samba music there was irresistible to anyone. They had vast percussion instruments which created the strong rhythm. With the strong beats, it was hard for anyone to stop moving and dancing.

The attractiveness also came from the attitude of the musicians. Through the festive music and happy faces among the audience, I could feel the positive and optimistic characteristics of Brazilians.

Another local experience is to stroll in the Ibirapuera Park. The Park is one of the largest in South America and is regarded as the major leisure area for Sao Paulo citizens. It took us almost an hour to walk through the Park. People ran, played skateboard, roller skated, walked their dogs and rode bicycle in the park. During the walk, we learnt about Brazil from a local resident point of view, from its geography, economy, society to the future of Brazil. We also talked about our country, China. After all, this was a great cultural exchange and deepened my understanding of the world.

Jasmine


3rd April 2015
Sao Paulo city tour

Today we have a city tour in Sao Paulo, the third largest city in the world and the largest in South America. Edith Silberstein, an experienced tour guide, has tailor-made a car tour for the two of us so that we could see the most characterizing and interesting parts of Sao Paulo within a day. This is a well-chosen day for having a car tour since the traffic was unbelievably smooth; Edith told us that many people had driven to the coast (which is just 80km from the city) to enjoy their Easter holiday.

Sao Paulo is a colorful city despite being a concrete jungle. Determined to counterbalance the greyness of the city, the government has invited artists to decorate the streets with graffiti extensively. We can see endless sophisticated graffiti along the highway, as well as on the exterior of some houses with the permission of the house owners. As a result, art is no longer confined to the museums; it has become a part of the everyday life. The city of Sao Paulo has become an open, vibrant art gallery, and this is something Hong Kong should learn about.

As lunchtime arrived, Edith helped us order a very traditional Brazilian meal. We had Feijoada (baked beans with manioc flavor), which, according to conventional wisdom, was created by black slaves in Brazil and subsequently migrated to all social levels with the end of slavery in the 20th century. We also had fried banana, bolinho de bacalhau (salt cod fritters), and couve-a-mineira (cabbage). Too curious to resist the temptation of trying Brazil’s national cocktail, I ordered a glass of Caipirinha — it is simply a sugar cane spirit mixed with lime. The taste was fresh and strong. I stopped drinking when I saw the glass turning on the table.

Edith has shown us many eye-opening features of Sao Paulo (we have been to the top floor of the tallest building in Brazil, a Bohemian neighborhood, the Paulista Avenue which divides the old center from the newly developing area, and one of the eight largest cathedrals in the world). We have also learnt a lot about the history and culture of the city. There is too much to write in a single blog post. At the end of the car tour, Edith gave each of us a box of chocolate eggs, as a tradition of the Good Friday. We feel touched by the passion and vibrancy of the city of Sao Paulo.

Keith


2nd April 2015
The trip kicks off

The winner trip Keith and I have long been waiting for has kicked off!

Our first destination is Sao Paulo in Brazil which is Schneider Electric’s largest operation in South America. This would be my first time to be in South America and unexpectedly also my first time to be in Africa. This is because we made a flight transfer in South Africa.

This transit allowed me to get a glimpse of South Africa. I saw shops selling souvenirs with wild animal theme. South African staffs in the airport are friendly and humorous. Some of them told jokes while we were waiting for the flight.

After flying across the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, we arrived in Sao Paulo, a completely new place to both of us. We met Talisson from Schneider Electric Brazil at the Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport and received his warm welcome. The airport is located at the very North of the city while our hotel is located in the very South, near Schneider Electric Brazil’s office. We went across the city, seeing commercial area, mountainous countryside and residential area.

I really look forward to coming days’ well-arranged activities in Brazil!

Jasmine


1st April 2015
Go Green in the City 2014 winners: discovering the world of opportunities together with Schneider Electric

Last June, Jasmine Lee and Keith Chan of Hong Kong pitched their winning idea of a mobile application that could monitor, analyze, and manage energy consumption activities for building smarter cities to the Schneider Electric jury in Paris. Today they embark on their trip around the world as part of the grand prize, visiting Brazil and USA. We interviewed Jasmine and Keith prior to their departure to hear about their expectations for their upcoming trip.

How has your life changed since winning GGitC 2014?

Jasmine: Winning the competition has brought me a lot of opportunities. After the competition ended, I began working at Schneider Electric, where I met different people in the energy industry and got to travel to Shanghai from Hong Kong on a work-related assignment. And now I am going on a trip to Brazil and USA as a part of the grand prize to meet even more great people!

During our final presentations in France in June 2014 we also met senior management from Schneider Electric, as well as participants from different countries, cultures, and of different opinions. All these great possibilities opened up because we joined Go Green in the City. So if you are looking for a lot of excitement and challenges, you should join this competition too!

Keith: Something new for both of us is the exposure to the media to promote our idea after the competition. During the summer we did a lot of interviews to promote our idea to professors, think tanks in Hong Kong and also to the general media, where we explained the principles behind our solution. Jasmine has met some professionals who are interested in the idea and we have made a lot of connections because of winning the competition.

Why did you choose Brazil and USA?

Keith: For the contrast between Brazil and USA – a developing and a mature economy. My approach is that the solutions that Schneider Electric provides in the two countries will be fairly different and they will address different challenges faced by the consumers in the two countries. So it will be interesting to see the solutions Schneider Electric provides within two weeks in these two different contexts and locations.

Jasmine: I have not been to either North or South America. So it’s my first time to visit these two continents. In both countries I will take any opportunity to try everything, from food to tourist spots, because it is important to open ourselves when we are exposed to a new culture.

What are you looking forward to the most during the trip?

Keith: I am now a research student and I believe that the trip will be very important for generating research ideas. I will definitely share what I see and my understanding of the two places with my professors and my colleagues and see what research ideas we can come up with.


Both Jasmine and Keith graduated from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Jasmine currently holds the position of Eco Design Engineer at Schneider Electric. Keith is a graduate student in Economics with research interest in resource management and electricity markets.

Winners 2013

Alyssa Vintola and Lorenz Payonga from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines were the winners of the Go Green in the City 2013 Challenge with their project the Oscillohump.
Go Green in the City is an avenue for young minds to share innovative solutions to the energy dilemma, to learn about different cultures and to explore the cities where the competitions are held, like Jakarta and Paris. Through the mentoring phase of the challenge, Schneider Electric also provides training and an opportunity for collaboration. If you are looking for that opportunity to share your ideas, learn through experience and expand your global network, Go Green in the City is perfect for you.
Alyssa Vintola and Lorenz Payonga

Winners' trip - USA and Denmark

2nd May 2014
Salamat, Paalam, Mabuhay!

Salamat, paalam, mabuhay. It is with these three Filipino words that I would like to conclude our two-week trip around the world (even if we only stayed in two countries, we actually circumnavigated the world by plane!).

 

Salamat

It is an expression of gratitude, of thanks. As we end our trip around the world, Alyssa and I would like to thank Schneider Electric for giving us this once-in-a-lifetime experience of having an all-expense-paid and worry-free trip to two countries of our choice: USA and Denmark. From helping us with our Visa application, accommodating emergency changes in schedule, paying for all our food, accommodation, and travel expenses, planning our activities and making sure we had great company, promptly responding to our needs and concerns, to the last-minute rebooking of our flight back to the Philippines and the extra night we had to spend in the hotel in Denmark – we had nothing to worry about. All were well taken care of, and we thank Schneider Electric for that – especially the people who made all these possible. Our special thanks go particularly to Melissa Golden and Anshika Tandon of SE Global Talent Acquisition; Andrea Franco, Liz Henderson, and Line Orloff of SE Human Resources in Boston, Rhode Island, and Denmark, respectively; and Trixie Magalit and Gerilyn Baltan of SE Philippines – for spending their precious time, bearing all the stress, and exerting all their efforts to make sure that we have a stress-free, enjoyable, unforgettable, and meaningful trip abroad. To them, to our newfound friends who spent some good times with us in the two countries, and all the people behind our trip, our heartfelt gratitude for everything! Our warmest salamat!

 

Paalam

In English, it is often roughly translated as farewell or goodbye, although it does not really capture the word’s essence. Paalam means letting the other party know you are about to do something with the intention of seeking the blessing of the other. And in farewell scenarios, it is used to let the other know that you are about to leave, hoping that the other will wish you the grace of having a safe trip wherever you go. Although it does not guarantee a return, it does not have the finality of a goodbye. After the one-day delay of our stay in Denmark, yesterday we finally said paalam.

 

Mabuhay

It means “long live!” but is often expressed to welcome people to one’s place. It is also said as an expression of strong admiration and wishing of goodwill. Now that we’re back to the Philippines, I feel a strong sense of coming home, an end to a feeling of longing for a place where nowhere else will feel like, an atmosphere of a community welcoming me back, saying Mabuhay. Now that we conclude the two weeks of unforgettable experiences, we look back to Schneider Electric and the people of the United States and Denmark, saying Mabuhay!

—–

Our journey with Schneider Electric does not end here. Alyssa and I are about to join the company in May and October. We look forward to being part of a global company, a family that has always taken great care of us since we joined the Go Green in the City Competition in 2013. We look forward to take part in the company’s commitment for a sustainable environment by “making the most of your energy”.

 

Maraming salamat,

Lorenz


1st May 2014
A Morning in the National Museum of Denmark

Tick Tock! The time is ticking and we are about to leave Copenhagen. We finished packing our things and checked out from the hotel. But there were some stops we wanted to drop by before Line will meet us at the hotel and take us to the airport.

Line recommended that we visit the National Museum of Denmark before we leave. It was not that far from the hotel. I think it was a 15-minute walk from the hotel. On the way to the museum we got to pass by Christiansborg Palace. They offer tours to the palace reception areas and stable. But we didn’t avail of the tour because we didn’t have enough time anymore. But we did get to check the area that was open to the public.

We finally got to the museum. They have different exhibits on display such as The Danish Prehistory, The Danish Middle Ages and Renaissance, Stories of Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Ethnographic Collections. They also have a temporary exhibit entitled “Girl with parasol” which is an exhibit of photographs that represent a sublime snapshot of Exotic Japan.

What I found fascinating was the different interior design they have for different periods and different classes. The details of the carvings were just exquisite and you could see how lavish and luxurious the lifestyle of the rich during those eras was. Another thing caught our attention was the massive collection they have of religious articles – treasures from the sacristies, carvings from ivory, paintings and images of saints, Mary and Jesus. We were able to go around the entire museum but I think a little more time would have helped to allow us to absorb more information about Denmark and its history. Oh yeah! They also had an exhibit about the mighty Vikings.

Around half past twelve, we headed back to the hotel. Line drove us to the airport and we said the inevitable farewells thinking that it was our last day in Denmark. But there was an issue about our transit we were not able to get on the flight we were supposed to be in. The issue was resolved thanks to the efforts of people from SE Philippines (Ms. Gerilyn Baltan and Ms. Trixie Magalit) and SE Global Talent Acquisition (Melissa Golden and Anshika Tandon). We had to stay one more night in Copenhagen.

Still in Copenhagen,

Alyssa

P.S.

We heard about how people make money by returning plastic bottles and soda cans. I think this is a very good way to engage consumers to be involved in the process of recycling these containers. When you buy a bottled drink, you are actually charged an amount. This amount is returned to you when you bring back the bottle. I had a couple of bottles with me and returned it to the 7-eleven in the airport. For the few hours we stayed there a couple of tourists must have not known about it and left the bottles lying around. We picked them up and got enough Kroners to purchase something. It was a good way to let time pass while we were in the airport. I think it is also a good way to show how the system they have in Denmark is really environment friendly.


30th April 2014
More of Copenhagen

Before our flight back to the Philippines tomorrow, we found time to do some souvenir shopping at Strøget, the main shopping area in Copenhagen. Dedicated only to shoppers, cars are not allowed to pass by the area. It has a wide variety of shops ranging from souvenir stores to boutiques of famous brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. For the young-at-heart, it would be hard to miss the Lego (for those who don’t know, Lego started and is based in Denmark!) and Disney stores also in that area. To add to the experience, we were in the right place at the right time when the Royal Guards had some sort of a military parade and passed by the shopping area! On our way to Nyhavn, where we were to meet Line, we passed by Kongens Nytorv (“The King’s New Square”) where there was a flea market of various collector’s items, antiques, souvenir items, and other collectibles. It was tempting to purchase some items, but we did not.

Since Line wanted us to have a somehow complete Danish experience, she treated us at a restaurant named Skipperkroen for a Danish lunch along Nyhavn! For the six days we have been in Denmark, it was quite noticeable that Danish cuisine is far different from the typical Filipino/Asian food. While rice is a common sight in Asian plates, a typical Danish meal would have rugbrød (rye bread). Lunch is usually cold, which typically begins with fish (usually pickled herring), followed by other meat (e.g. pork, chicken), and ends with cheese and some fruits. Traditional lunch would be smørrebrød, an open rye-bread sandwich, where slices of cold meat, fish, spreads, and some vegetables are laid on the bread.

After we had our fill, we went off for a canal cruise to do sightseeing in Copenhagen. Initially constructed for trade and military purposes, the canal has become advantageous for tourism due to its strategic location. We saw from the boat much of Copenhagen’s best tourist spots accompanied by the bits of history from a tour guide. The feast for the eyes was then followed by another feast for the taste buds. We went back to Nyhavn to eat Copenhagen’s famous ice cream. I had cookies and cream, pistachio, cherry, and strawberry for my scoops! Such a sweet treat!

Sightseeing not done yet, for after the boat tour we were off to the Rundetaarn (Round Tower) to have a panoramic view of the city. It was somehow reminiscent of the experience we had at the Prudential Tower in Boston – but without the elevator and audio guide. It gave a different flavor to the experience in a way that evokes a historical feeling. We were able to see from a different and wider perspective the magnificent buildings and streets we used to pass by in the past days. On our way to the viewing deck (through a spiral ramp) were some exhibitions of Danish art and history. It used to be an astronomical observatory until the 19th century when the University of Copenhagen decided to transfer its observatory functions to Østervold Observatory. In 1928, it was re-commissioned to become a public observatory for amateur astronomers and general public.

After a sumptuous dinner at Royal Grill, we dropped by the Happy Wall at Kongens Nytorv to take some pictures with a colorful background where we spelled our names and some words.

With all that we saw and we experienced today, indeed it was a day of getting to know Copenhagen more. As we leave tomorrow, we can say that we were able to know and experience a lot about Copenhagen and Denmark in the few days that we have been here. However, despite such fact, we know there is a lot more to discover.

 

From the happiest place on Earth,

Lorenz


29th April 2014
Thank God It’s Friday!

Employees would normally look forward to the weekend and to get some time off from work. But before the week is done we got to visit another Schneider Electric site located in Birkerød, a town located a few miles to the north of Copenhagen. We got to experience activities they hold on Fridays, or at least the last Friday of each month. And also, we got to hang out with VIEs (Volontariat International en Entreprise), who are French nationals that are assigned for a year or two in Denmark.

To jumpstart the day, Christian Egeberg, an HR Business Partner in SE Denmark, accompanied us to the 7-Technologies which is now part of Schneider Electric. The company was acquired a few years back and is mainly focused on software development. They develop software to promote optimization of operations and minimize energy consumption in terms of operating networks of waterways. Their line of products includes Aquis, Termis and IGSS. Aquis is a hydraulic modeling tool that helps simulate the flow and pressure in the water distribution network while Termis simulates the flow, pressure and heating. The IGGS (interactive Graphical SCADA System) is used for monitoring and controlling industrial processes.

One thing unique about this SE facility that we got to visit is that it is has a very homey feel and it does not appear to be an office from the outside. They have this practice to eat breakfast together every Friday. So when we got there, we got to share a meal with them prior to the tour. We were a fairly international bunch of people seated for breakfast. Christian was from Denmark, Martin from France, Amin from Iran, John was from USA while Lorenz and I were from the Philippines. It was also interesting that when we got our food and went to our seats, we found shots of an “unknown drink.” Apparently it was Gammel Dansk (Old Danish), a drink that was traditionally drunk by Danes at certain festive occasions associated with breakfast.

After eating breakfast, Martin showed us around. First we visited the team in charge of software development. Then we headed to where the project and technical support team was working. For our last stop, we got to visit the Stuxureware Lab where are breakfast buddies were working. Mads explained to us how they are integrating SE products with the IGSS, Termis and Aquis to provide a general solution. We also got to meet Lars who is heading that team located in Birkerød.

For lunch, we headed to Ballerup where they were having barbeque. Christian mentioned to us that the chef in their cafeteria would normally have barbeque when the weather is good and today the sun was shining bright (and it is not humid like the weather we have in the Philippines). After lunch, we were introduced to Arthur, a VIE assigned in purchasing. He explained to us his work and the VIE program under the French government. There are a couple of VIEs assigned in Ballerup.

We just had a very relaxing afternoon enjoying the warmth of the sun over a cup of tea in the garden. At around 3 PM, we headed to the basement where Arthur showed us their gym. They also have this thing called “Friday Bar” where every last Friday of the month employees are invited to chill at the basement where they have a recreational space that has a pool table and where they could play table tennis. They serve beer, soda and other beverages during the Friday Bar. I think it is a good way to wind down after a long week and at the same time get to meet colleagues.

After the Friday Bar, we went back to Copenhagen. We stopped by Arthur’s place before heading to Christianhavn to see the Church of Our Lord Savior and other sites nearby. We were supposed to bike around the city but I was too short for the bike and I just don’t think it is smart for me to take the risk and meet an accident. So we rode a bus and took the metro instead.

After walking around Christianhavn, we met up with the other VIEs – Sylvie, Alice and Charlie – and a couple of their friends Sophie and Bastian. On our way there, we walked by the harbor and the place where we ate at was by the harbor which offered a really great view at dusk. We had dinner and drinks and called it a night. :)

Mildly sun-baked yet having a chill time,

Alyssa


28th April 2014
Farther and Further

One facility will not be enough to define the presence of Schneider Electric in Denmark. That is why we went all the way to the other end of the country and dropped by the company’s facilities in Ringsted and Kolding. The one in Ringsted is a manufacturing facility for products like switches, and electric and network sockets. The other facility in Kolding is dedicated for Research and Development (R&D) for the IT Business (ITB) of Schneider Electric.

Flemming of the Ringsted facility gave us an overview of the operations in the factory and toured us around it. We walked through the production line and observed the process of manufacturing switches and sockets from molding to assembly. It was fascinating to see the collective effort of machines, robots, and personnel to come up with quality products under the Schneider Electric brand. These products, often mounted on our walls, are usually undervalued despite their significance in our daily lives. Seeing how they are made and the hard work employees exert to deliver these products to us has made me appreciate these rather simple electrical equipment even more. Before leaving, Flemming handed out to us some LAN sockets as souvenirs.

More than two hundred kilometers from Copenhagen is the ITB R&D facility in Kolding. Alyssa and I presented our project and Go Green in the City experiences to good number of employees. With Henrik as our guide, we visited a data center room and got to see a software that monitors data center performance and ambient conditions. We also visited the testing room for upcoming Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) models, courtesy of Henning. Before leaving, we likewise visited workstations of the intelligent bunch of people who do research and engineering work for the further development of Schneider Electric products. Gitte from HR also gave us some insights into HR management in an R&D facility such as the one they are in.

On our way to Kolding and back, we passed by the Storebæltsforbindelsen (Great Belt Fixed Link), which is also known as the “East Bridge”. It consists of the world’s third longest main span suspension bridge and a railway tunnel. We have also learned that along with this engineering feat is another one that connects Copenhagen to Sweden. But what amazed us is the fact that the bridge “disappears” midway, so that vehicles and trains pass through a tunnel under the sea to get to Sweden. Although we might not have the opportunity to pass by the latter, we can confidently say that Danes generally have the passion for efficiency. No wonder Schneider Electric has an overwhelming presence in such country.

Our trips today, no matter how far, have shown us how Schneider Electric never settles for less and always goes further, for the greater convenience and satisfaction of its clients – much like Denmark, for its people.

 

Going the distance,

Lorenz


27th April 2014
Spinning Upside Down

The day was almost over but we had one last thing on our itinerary. Mette was kind enough to accompany us on our visit to the Tivoli Gardens. The weather was not cooperating with us and it was drizzling but we still headed to Tivoli. We walked from our hotel since it was not that far from where we were staying. At the same time, it was an opportunity to get to see more of the nooks and crannies of Copenhagen.

You might be wondering why I had to make a separate entry about a garden. Well, it isn’t a typical garden. Upon entering we were greeted with a ballet performance that was being staged. Mette mentioned that most of the ballets staged in Tivoli are based on the works of Hans Christian Andersen. We then strolled around and saw how beautiful the landscape is inside. From the outside, all you could see are the rides that are insanely tall.

We were afraid that they would stop the operations of the different rides due to the inclement weather. But luckily most of the rides that Lorenz and I were planning to try were still open. Another good thing about our Tivoli visit was the short queues. Mette hooked us up with multiple ride tickets for the different attractions in Tivoli. There were single tickets being sold. But we decided to get the ride-all-you-can band so that we can try as many rides as we could or even ride a specific ride for a couple of times.

So we started off with The Roller Coaster. It was apparently built in 1914. I do have to say that the surge of speed you feel in this ride is a good warm up for the other rides like The Demon, The Golden Tower and Vertigo. We dubbed it as the baby rollercoaster in comparison with The Demon.

The Demon on the other hand had triple loops that would just allow you to feel the exhilaration due to the speed. With the different twists, turns and drops, this was one of the best rollercoaster I’ve been on. Lorenz tried not to scream but he eventually did because of the sudden drop and the loops while I was letting out my feelings by just laughing. I seriously like these crazy rides in amusement parks. Even prior to riding The Demon, I spotted where they are taking the pictures from so I managed to just smile at the camera (or at least look decent in the photo). We sort of rode The Demon thrice just to get more photos and make the most of the unlimited rides.

We then proceeded to The Golden Tower which I feel was the most intimidating ride. Tivoli officially describes the 63-meter tower as “the ultimate toughness test for both genders.” The ride up to the top of the tower gave us a great perspective of Copenhagen. The view from the top of the tower was just breathtaking but it was also nerve-wracking that at any moment we’ll be dropped. Funniest thing was that I really screamed when we experienced the drop. But the feeling didn’t actually match what I thought it would feel like. So I was just laughing and Mette said she could hear my laughter after our screams. I say that this ride was a mind game. You just have to calm down and not get psyched.

The final ride we tried was the Vertigo. For this ride, I suggest that you go to Youtube after you have read this entire blog, look up “Vertigo Tivoli” and watch videos of how the ride actually goes. This was my favorite ride. It makes a lot of people sick. But if you just know where to look and apply the concept of physics so as not to get motion sickness, then you’d be fine. Unfortunately, Lorenz didn’t feel quite well after disembarking the ride. But I did ride it a second time around. So I got to experience both the forward and the backward motion of the rotation. The coolest thing about this ride would have to be getting to see Copenhagen upside down. The most geeky thing I did after the ride was Google-ing how many Gs would a person actually experience while riding the Vertigo. They said you can feel up to 5.2 Gs while on this ride. And let’s just say that it was a good idea to have dinner after trying the different rides.

We left Tivoli to have dinner somewhere. Mette wanted to take us to The Standard for some Italian food. But since we had Italian food the day before, we found ourselves in Wokshop, which is a Thai restaurant, instead. The food was great and the oriental food made us feel a bit closer to home. And yes, we got some noodles, rice and loads of curry sauce.

After dinner we headed back to our hotel and called it a day.

Feeling hyped and exhilarated,

Alyssa

P.S.

We passed by the Lego store along the main street and I can’t wait to visit that shop!


26th April 2014
What’s up, Ballerup?

We spent most of the day at Schneider Electric in Ballerup but we also got to do some very interesting things at the same time. We kicked off the day by having a short presentation about our project and our Go Green in the City experience. Only a bunch of people got to attend, since some of the people are still catching up with work or are still on vacation because of the Easter holidays. But it is always a pleasure to share our ideas and our experiences.

Afterwards, Line scheduled a meeting for us with Hanne in the same room where we presented. Hanne gave a presentation for us to get to know Schneider Electric Denmark and how they are strategizing to meet their goals. To add to that, Hanne also gave a brief introduction about Human Resources (HR) in Denmark and in the Nordic Region. I guess it would be a shame if I didn’t ask for HR strategies and related questions since I will be joining the HR team in the Philippines after this trip. To further enhance our knowledge on the HR operations, we were able to have another meeting with Morten who is working as the Manager for Shared Services. I also got to ask him questions that might be of help while pursuing a career in HR and at the same time making use of my technical background.

During the day, we were also able to visit Denmark Technical University (DTU). We were able to visit the workspace of the Solar Decathlon team representing Denmark for this year’s competition. Schneider Electric is sponsoring the team who are set to go to Paris and build the house. The competition is set to take place June – July. Interesting how there will be two global competitions that Schneider Electric is involved in for the month of June as the global finals for Go Green in the City 2014 is set to happen this June 17 – 20, 2014. Hurray for more energy efficiency efforts!

We also went to Tivoli Gardens with Mette but I’ll tell you about it in another blog because that experience is worth its own space in this blog series. 😉

Checking in from Ballerup,

Alyssa

P.S.

On our way back to Ballerup from DTU, we got to pass by the site where they are currently working to build an energy efficient office for Schneider Electric Denmark. Having heard the plans regarding the colocation that Jens presented to us yesterday, it is very interesting to actually get to see the site. Based on the plans, in terms of efficiency and aesthetics, I am excited for SE Denmark. I hope we could visit Denmark again and see the plans come to a reality.


25th April 2014
Now That’s Efficient

“Make the most of your energy,” so goes Schneider Electric’s battlecry. That perfectly encapsulates how our second day in Denmark went, which is the first day of planned activities. Being a hub for Research and Development (R&D) in Europe, Schneider Electric Denmark, through its acquired company Lauritz Knudsen, appears to be an interesting site for us to visit as engineering graduates. We were able to have an overview of the R&D products and operations in the facility as well as the plans for the soon-to-be the new Schneider Electric building in Denmark. We were also able to tour around a few places in Copenhagen during our break time.

We finally met Line, the one primarily in charge of accommodating us in this Scandinavian Kingdom. Knowing that we are engineering graduates, she said she tailored the Denmark experience to be in line with our educational background, interests, and future work in Schneider Electric. That would be in addition, of course, to the planned sight-seeing and tourist activities she has lined up for us!

She introduced us to her colleague, Christian (who will also be with us in the next few days), and to Jesper, an engineer working for Wiser smart home technology. Jesper toured us around the R&D building and showed us testing facilities, engineers’ work areas, and demo units. He gave particular attention to his field of expertise, the Wiser smart home technology. He demonstrated how energy consumption can properly be monitored through such technology in a very user-friendly manner, even using mobile electronic devices to monitor and control appliances! What also fascinated us was the fact that those advanced technologies had hardware, which looked very sleek and stylish. We were told that they do not only invest in the perfection of engineering behind such technologies but also in aesthetics, as a part of a complete presentable package. Indeed, it was a sci-fi movie technology that has now become a reality!

We then went to a stress test facility underground, where a young employee only a year older than us, Robert, toured us around. He has been assigned to monitor the stress testing every so often. After lunch, Jens, a specialist in energy efficiency and the project manager of the soon-to-be new Schneider Electric building, shared with us his and his team’s best practices in doing energy audits, proposing energy management strategies, and initiating actions to make their facility the best example of efficient energy management. He noted that a lot of energy efficiency plans are set to be implemented in the new Schneider Electric facility to be opened in February 2015.

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel for a while and took a walk to the nearby Rosenborg Castle, The Marble Church, and Amalienborg Castle. Such time was supposed to be spent for resting but we thought it would be more efficient to make use of the limited time to walk around the city. Too bad Rosenborg Castle was already closed at that time so we were not able to see the crown jewels. However, we were lucky enough to drop by Amalienborg Castle just in time for the ceremony of the changing of guards!

After the short castle sight-seeing, we had dinner with Line and Christian at an Italian Restaurant. With delectable pizzas on our table, I thought we were missing something: chili sauce. When we asked for chili sauce, we were warned by the waitress that it would be very spicy. Coming from a place in the Philippines known to love spicy food (Bicol), I took the waitress’ warning with a grain of salt, therefore pouring a lot of it on my pizza. But I was sorry for underestimating her warning. So far, it has been the spiciest chili sauce I have ever tasted. Even our Danish friends Line and Christian were surprised to find such sauce in an Italian restaurant in Denmark.

With all the people we met, the facilities we saw, the food we ate, and the castles we went to, it was indeed a day of learning and amazement. Despite the hectic schedule, it was a day well spent. Now that’s efficient!

Loving the efficiency,

Lorenz


24th April 2014
Velkommen til Danmark – The World’s Happiest Nation!

After a 3-hour flight from Kevflavik Airport (Iceland), we finally landed in Copenhagen (or as the Danes would refer to it as København). Line Orloff of Schneider Electric Denmark booked a cab for us. So the transfer from the airport to the hotel went smoothly. Monday was still a part of the Easter holiday in Denmark so Lorenz and I were both wondering where all the people have gone. We checked in at the hotel and left our things in our respective rooms, talked with our families back home and rested for a bit.

Our seats were not beside each other during the flights so I just found out that Lorenz didn’t get to eat while on the plane. So at around 4 in the afternoon we were starting to feel hungry and decided to explore the area nearby. We are staying at the Strand Hotel which is located by the harbor front. Just around the corner is Nyhavn Street. I suggest you Google how the name of the street is pronounced because we got it all wrong. Further down Nyhavn is where Nytorv Square is.

We walked up until we reached Nytorv Square and found the happy wall. It is street art that they put up and where you could form letters, words and shapes by revealing the colors on the black board. Coincidentally my mom’s name (Mia) was already up on the board so I just took a snap of it. Along the way, we were also able to check out the cafes and restaurants that are located along Nyhavn. Since it is a tourist destination, the food was a bit pricey. After checking out the different places in the area, we finally decided to eat at a pizzeria nearby. But seriously, the prices are really high here and I must have drunk the most expensive bottle of coke today.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. We are trying to adapt to the new time zone and jetlag is catching on. But the city, based on what we’ve seen so far, is really beautiful. The scenic view from the harbor outside the hotel is just lovely. But there are still a lot of things to explore in Denmark and perhaps we’ll find out during our stay why it is the happiest nation. :)

Feeling happy in Denmark,

Alyssa

P.S.

I’d like to share a bit of my geeky side and my inclination to appreciate wordplay. We are currently staying in a hotel in the area of Nyhavn, which means “New Port” and during our stay in Rhode Island, we stayed in Newport. I just find the similarity quite amusing. :)


23rd April 2014
Ice Peak in Reykjavik

Good morning, Iceland! We landed in Iceland when it was freezing outside. It was approximately 1°C outside when we arrived. Now, you might be wondering why we are in Iceland when Lorenz mentioned that we’d be heading to Denmark. Our destination is Denmark but we had a stopover in Reykjavik. There are bits and pieces that made the 5-hour flight interesting. But I hope I don’t spoil it for anyone who is flying with Icelandair pretty soon. Also, I am writing this from my perspective because Lorenz hit the snooze button when the plane took off. As French would probably say, “Ces’t dommage (It’s such a shame)” because the flight offered so many bits and pieces of interesting things to know Iceland better.

We were on a flight that left Boston just a few hours before Easter ended. So, apart from the food that they served from the menu, they gave Easter eggs for everyone. The chocolate shell housed a little piece of paper that had an Icelandic saying. I’d compare it to getting a fortune cookie, but getting chocolate and a bit more trivia. And let’s face it, who does not love chocolate (that has endorphins that make people happy)?

Apart from Icelandic food, they did offer Easter beer which the name suggests is only served during Easter. I did quite find the gastronomic experience to be fairly fascinating but perhaps getting to try Icelandic food in local restaurants would offer a different experience. What I did do while enjoying my food and beverage was listen to some music. The inflight entertainment offered a great selection of music. But I thought why not complete the Icelandic experience with an Icelandic Artists mix that they had already prepared. There are some really cool beats and tunes and I am definitely trying to look for the songs I heard while I was on board.

Also Iceland was recently featured in a film entitled The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. So, I think to walk on Iceland ground was definitely cool. But what was amazing was to see the ice capped mountains and volcanoes and flying over them. For someone who comes from a tropical country and doesn’t get to experience having snow, seeing that sight was just magnificent. Maybe it was from afar but it was just lovely to behold such wonder.

Freezing in Iceland,

Alyssa

P.S. Prior to deplaning, I asked Lorenz to wait for me so that we could take a selfie or a bunch of photos prior to entering the building. But some miscommunication happened. He was waiting inside the building when I deplaned so please excuse my selfie.


22nd April 2014
Easter, Freedom, and Leaving

It is Easter Sunday and as Catholics, it was but right to start our day by attending Mass at the Shrine of St. Anthony, the nearest church to our hotel. As Easter is supposed to be a day of great jubilation in the Christian community, we cannot afford to waste time to enjoy our remaining hours in the United States. We went back to the Copley Square to take some photos of the Boston Marathon Finish Line and nearby historical buildings (i.e. Trinity Church, Boston Public Library, Old South Church) in daylight and set out to the Boston Commons to walk along the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile long path that leads to 16 significant historic sites from the Boston Commons to the USS Constitution in Charlestown.

To facilitate and substantiate our Freedom Trail walk, we decided to join a guided tour. With lots of humor in store, the tour guide shared interesting stories in Boston history and historical sites. For instance, he pointed out that the place where the playground in Boston Commons now stands used to be where public executions were held. He also revealed to us that the dome of the Massachusetts State House is actually covered by 23-karat gold foil! We then passed by the Park Street church, where the hymn “America” was first sung on July 4, 1831 and where William Lloyd Garrison gave the first anti-slavery speech. Just a short walk nearby was the Old Granary Burial Ground where Boston’s revolutionary figures such as Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Peter Fanueil and James Otis are buried. We also passed by the site of the first public school in the United States, the Boston Latin School. We again walked by the Old South Meeting House, which we also visited on our first day in Boston. Still along the Freedom Trail is the Old State House which used to be the seat of the British Parliament and the colonial government. It stood witness to the Boston Massacre which took place in 1770. It is also the place where John Hancock first read the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The tour concluded at the Fanueil Hall, which is also known as the “Cradle of Liberty”. It was recently mentioned by Dailymail UK as the 7th most visited tourist attraction in the world. Just outside the Fanueil Hall, we watched an entertaining street theater presentation. There are many shops in the area, including the Quincy Marketplace, where we bought some souvenirs.

The Freedom Trail actually goes beyond the Fanueil Hall with five other spots until Charlestown. Since the guided tour concluded at the Fanueil Hall, maybe we can finish the other five the next time we again set our feet in Boston.

—-

Now we are about to leave the land of the people who affirmed the Filipinos’ love of freedom, of democracy. Now we are about to leave behind the place of friendly folks of Boston and Rhode Island. Now we are about to leave behind the delectable seafood cuisine of New England, the awe-inspiring structures of Boston, and the relaxing environment in Rhode Island – but we will surely carry with us the experiences and the happy memories of our week-long stay in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

‘Til we meet again, America! Denmark, here we come!

 

Thankful and hopeful,

Lorenz


21st April 2014
A Day of Art and Random Adventures

After a half-day in Cambridge, now we’re back to Boston. We have been touring around on our own since yesterday with a map from the hotel, a train route map, tips we got from Jen (of SE in Rhode Island), directions we got from the internet, and a good amount of gut feel when we didn’t know whether to go straight ahead, turn left, right, or back. Today we were up for some stroll at the eastern and southern parts of the city.

So as not to waste time, we immediately started our city tour after breakfast. Walking to the Seaport District, we dropped by the Boston Tea Party Museum, which was still closed at that time; took some photos along the riverside near the Boston Children’s Museum; and spent the rest of the morning till past noon at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). As a bit of history (which I got from the internet), the Boston Tea Party Museum commemorates the events that led to the protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston in 1773 against the Tea Act. The Tea Party, which decries their taxation by the British government without representation, was a crucial part in the escalation of the American Revolution. As a sign of indignation, the protesters threw the shipment of tea into the Boston Harbor. We also didn’t go inside the Boston Children’s Museum, but according to its website, it “exhibits focus on early childhood development and the three themes: arts, culture, and science”.

In ICA, we were able to see exhibits by Nick Cave (“Soundsuits”), William Kentridge (“The Refusal of Time”), Eleanor Antin (“Selves”), and Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg (“A World of Glass”). Among all the exhibitions, it was William Kentridge’s work that fascinated me most. The installation showed a subversion of a linear and standardized perception of time by revealing that time is personal and varies per individual, which also resonates with Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity. In a write up by Davida Fernandez-Barkan, the “refusal of time” is in large part a refusal of imperialism (cf. Britain’s standardization of time by establishing the Greenwich Mean Time as the global standard). After going around the museum, we created our own souvenir, i.e. mixed media artwork based from Nick Cave’s Soundsuits.

We then went to the Fenway District where the famous Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Fenway Park are. We got to the museum fifteen minutes before closing time allowing us to get museum tickets for free. With no time to waste, we went to the Ancient Art, American Art, and European Art sections. The Ancient Art section featured relics of the ancient world, mostly of Egyptian origin. The European Art section had the expected display of European grandeur, mostly in furniture, figurines, and religious art. The American Art section had paintings of historical figures in American history and other artworks that apparently emanate English influence. With many sections left yet unexplored, the Museum of Fine Arts is surely a place we’ll have to go back to in our next visit to Boston some time we don’t know when.

Afterwards, we took a walk to the lair of the Red Sox, the Fenway Park. Too bad we arrived just around 30 minutes after their winning game against the Baltimore Orioles. It was only in this trip that I got a bit oriented with the baseball frenzy in the United States, and the side trip to the Fenway Park made me feel that Americans’ patronage of their favorite baseball teams even transcends generations!

From the Fenway Park, we had a long walk to the Back Bay District where the Hynes Convention Center, Prudential Tower, and Copley Square are. A historic area intertwined with an active business environment, one can find Massachusetts’ tallest buildings located almost side by side with some of the most historically significant neighborhoods. At Hynes Convention Center, we checked out a bazaar with sports-related booths in time for the upcoming Boston Marathon. At the Prudential Tower, we went to the 50th floor to have a panoramic view of the city. With an electronic audio guide, viewing became more informative!

At night, I had to go back early to the hotel because I was expecting a phone call. After which, I went back to the Back Bay area and had a relaxing stroll along Massachusetts Ave. and went straight to Copley Square. At around the same time, Alyssa had an enjoyable night at the Improv Asylum, an improv and comedy theater in Boston’s North End District.

Ending a day worthy of our tired feet,

Lorenz


20th April 2014
The Average at Cambridge

Lorenz and I arrived in Boston just a few minutes past noon. It is the Easter Holidays and the Boston Marathon would be on Monday, people are starting to pack the city. After checking in at the hotel, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at Cambridge.

We took the train from Downtown Crossing to Kendall station to visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Considered as one of the top engineering schools, it is very fascinating to actually get to visit the place. We managed to walk along the stretch by the Charles River. To be honest, we really didn’t know where the main building was. We just got directions to get to the campus but when we were there, we just wandered and observed the facades of the buildings. We did manage to find ourselves along Mass. Ave where the main building is located. One could not possibly miss the massive structure with columns. We went inside the main building for a bit and took some photos. A very touristy thing to do, I must say. But how often do you get to visit MIT (assuming you don’t attend any program there)?

Right after, we took the train to Harvard, “Hahvahd” as Bostonians would say. We found ourselves in Harvard Square. We walked towards the main gate of Harvard University, Ivy League school. We walked past Harvard hall towards where a group of tourists were crowded around the statue of John Harvard. We then walked around the Harvard Yard. There were a few specific buildings I wanted to see in Harvard so we asked a police officer where to find a couple of buildings and where we could perhaps buy some souvenir items as well. 😉

Based on the given directions by the police officer, we found ourselves in front of the library, the science center. We were also able to visit the memorial hall. But to cap our tour in the campus, prior to walking to the souvenir shop, we headed to the Harvard Law School. We went inside Austin Hall, and a part of me really wanted to inquire about the program at Harvard. On a personal note, like others I also dreamt of getting into Harvard. I used to read up on Harvard over the internet back when I was still in high school, even before the craze about Mike Ross and Harvey Specter. (Forgive me for the Suits reference if you do not know the show.)

We then walked through the Old Yard to get to the souvenir shop. We were just in time and had a few minutes to grab a couple of shirts and other merchandise before the shop closed. To end our trip to Harvard, we went further down Dunster St. to go to a place called Kirkland House. It was a good thing that I remembered the name of the place mentioned in the Social Network. Kirkland House was where Mark Zuckerberg used to stay when he attended Harvard and that was where Facebook started. Facebook would eventually be one of the things that would consume most of people’s time, including mine and probably yours too! Hahaha!

We were considering going to Tufts University after but it was getting late and had to get some rest. So that was it for an afternoon at Cambridge. I do hope you guys could also visit the place. J

The average at Cambridge,

Alyssa


19th April 2014
The Road from Rhode Island

Just as we were feeling comfortable away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Lorenz and I had to head back to Boston earlier today. Liz picked us up from the hotel in Newport. Since the train ride wasn’t till around 10:00 AM, we passed by the University of Rhode Island and grabbed some breakfast at Bagelz. As the name of the place must have given away, we had some bagels, coffee and tea.

We then headed to the train station. It was where Liz picked us up a couple of days ago. Now here we are a couple of days later, no longer strangers. But this time around, we are getting dropped off at the same place to head out of town.

It was such a great experience to have visited the APC by Schneider Electric facility in Rhode Island. Thanks again for having us!

Forever grateful,

Alyssa

P.S.

Credits go to Liz and the rest of the amazing team from HR who made us feel welcome! We just had to take this selfie just before leaving town. It was sad that we had to leave after spending two days, driving around the state with Liz, Ashley and Jen.


18th April 2014
Stuffed in Providence

Today, we got to learn more bits and pieces about Rhode Island, the smallest state in the USA, and explore Providence which is the capital of the state. Rhode Island apparently has the longest official name, which is “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” But prior to getting to Providence, loads of interesting things happened along the way.

To jumpstart the day we had breakfast at The People’s Café at Newport. It had an artsy interior with paintings up on the wall. We then headed to Wickford where we picked up some souvenirs from The World Store.

Lorenz and I presented to a group of people in the Schneider Electric facility our project, our experiences and how we ended up in Rhode Island. J. The presentation was over lunch and Liz ordered pizza and salad for everyone. Although, it was only after the presentation when we were able to munch on the pizza. Over lunch (and soda) we had met with Jean Pelletier from Human Resources. The conversation was really open and free flowing. For me, it was an exchange of ideas, perspectives and just a fun filled chat that dealt with realities that are part of Schneider Electric being a global company.

After, Lorenz and I had a chance to call shadow again and this time there were calls from customers coming in from the line. What amazes me is the ability of people in the customer care services to multitask, think quickly and respond to the customer immediately with the best course of action or answers to the queries. I was paired with Allison and something interesting is that Allison was so tall! She is 6’4’’ which made even Lorenz feel short for his height :) Hahaha!

After call shadowing, we headed out of the office with Liz and Ashley for a trip to Providence. Same as the day before, we just knew where we were headed but we didn’t know what we’ll actually do. We drove all the way to Providence but passed by Narragansett Beach for a while. Liz and Ashley just wanted us to see the beautiful view of the sea, the towers and the sea wall. What’s fascinating was it was the first time that I actually felt the need of a thick jacket while on the beach. In the Philippines, we normally bask in the sun when we are at the beach.

We then found our way to Providence. Liz took us to Brown University and showed us around the campus. Then we went to the convention center where the thing that Liz had in store for us would take place or at least start to take place. Liz booked for us a tour called “Experience Rhode Island” where we got to go around Providence in a tour bus and dine around the city. The tour had three specific spots where we would dine and have an appetizer, an entrée and then dessert respectively.

The first stop was at The Dorrance which is located in a building that used to be a bank. The place was very swanky. The interior had really detailed carvings and the vault was retained but is filled with a set of chairs that people can lounge in. The appetizers were really good. We all got different dishes so that we could taste a bit of everything. The next stop was Los Andes, which is a Peruvian restaurant. Oh boy, were we filled after our meal! Ashley had some chicken while Liz had fish. Lorenz and I each had paella. We were served with humungous lobsters on top of our paella. I think I need to get used to the portion size that they serve here in the US. Prior to heading to the last stop, we went to a spot overlooking the city of Providence and it was just gorgeous at night. For desert we were dropped off by the bus driver in Mill’s Tavern. Like we did in The Dorrance, we ordered different desserts. Liz had a cheesecake, Ashley had a warm cake, Lorenz had a white chocolate mousse and I had a dark chocolate cremeux.

By the end of the tour, we were all stuffed.

Stuffed with great providence,

Alyssa


17th April 2014
A Bird’s Eye View

Only an hour train ride away from Boston was our next destination: Rhode Island a.k.a. the Ocean State. And this time, the weather seemed to be cooperating with us. Despite the colder temperature due to snowfall at nighttime of Tuesday to early morning of Wednesday (we got to see some remnants of snow in the morning), it was sunny in both states. Neither I nor Alyssa knew what surprises were in store for us in the Ocean State with such desirable weather.

Liz picked us up from the station and brought us to the Corporate Headquarters of APC by Schneider Electric in West Kingston. She toured us around the facility and showed almost every nook and cranny of the building. We walked through data centers, the old manufacturing area (which as such until manufacturing operations were transferred to other locations such as in the Philippines), laboratories, product displays, conference rooms, and different department offices. We also got to meet a good number of friendly people behind the day-to-day operation of the facility.

After having a delectable lunch and light conversations with Liz, Jen, Will, and Rich at the nearby Celestial Café, we were given the chance to learn from customer care personnel through a one-on-one discussion. Alyssa and I were supposed to observe how Sean and Jordan, respectively, would handle customer care concerns. However, at the duration of our discussions, nobody called. Afterwards, we met with Jim, a very well-rounded, motivating, and humorous man, in charge of People Development in the company. We shared with him stories about our winning entry, and some experiences we had during the competition last year and the first leg of this tour. He gave us some insights about his job, how he handles various circumstances at work, and tips for a successful global career. Aside from being proficient in five languages, he knows a little Filipino and greeted us in our language! We really appreciated it.

But the surprise everyone tried to keep secret from us was just yet to come.

Nobody spilled the beans until we arrived at an airport in Middletown. We were to ride a helicopter to have an aerial view of the entire Rhode Island! When I saw a signboard a few blocks away from the airport, saying “Bird’s Eye View Helicopter”, I had a slight suspicion that we would ride in a chopper, but I thought it was too much so I dismissed the idea, until we parked by the airport itself and rode the helicopter. The 12-minute helicopter ride overlooking the state, with all its famous mansions and resorts, was priceless. I never thought I would be able to ride a helicopter this early in my life. I believe neither Alyssa did. It was one of the most unexpected and overwhelming surprises I ever got!

We then went to the Red Parrot restaurant in Newport for dinner with Liz, Jen, and Ashley. It was my first time to eat mako shark steak, which I particularly chose because I remember reading it from the book “Life of Pi” (by Yann Martel) as the fierce shark that humbled the mighty Richard Parker. Alyssa had “surf and turf”, which is grilled filet mignon topped with lobster scampi. We also had luscious desserts, flavorful drinks, and lots of laughter to complete the meal.

To cap the day, we went strolling at the wharf and watched the beautiful sunset. Despite the freezing cold, the company of our newfound friends was enough to keep us warm.

It was a day in the eyes of a bird, indeed. Touring the SE facility, we got to see how the company generally works. Riding a chopper, we were able to have a broad view of the land and seas of Rhode Island. And watching the sun set, we were like birds in retreat by the seaside, taking a break and thankful for the great day that was.

 

In awe at Rhode Island,

Lorenz

 

P.S. On our way to the wharf, I saw trash cans which were labeled “solar compactor”. It’s amazing how solar power technology, which is one of my fields of technical interest, is integrated even to the trash bins along the sidewalk!


16th April 2014
Let’s Get It On, Boston!

For someone who is from a tropical country and who might be currently experiencing the summer heat, the weather in Boston is quite the opposite. It was about 55°F outside when Lorenz and I decided to take a walk towards the Boston Aquarium where we would meet up with people from Schneider Electric, Andrea Franco and Dan DeLuca. We decided to walk along Washington St. and see what we would find there.

We saw that the theater district is quite near the hotel. Just at the intersection near the hotel, the Boston Opera House is located. I was personally fascinated by the architecture of the buildings in the vicinity. I am amazed at how old the structures must be but still there is beauty in it. There are even some restoration works ongoing.

We strolled further towards School St. where the Boston Irish Famine Memorial is located. Just across the street the Old South Meeting House, which is both a Museum and a Historic site, can be found. We were just passing by when we saw that admission today was for free. Since we still had time, we decided to enter the museum and learn some historical events that occurred there and in Boston in general. In memory of the bombing that occurred last year, the admission to the museum was for free, in the hope that people who would visit the site would use it as a reflective environment to think about the past events that took place in Boston.

After the stop at the museum, we passed by a shop called Cakeology. I was mainly attracted by the cute design of the store and the giant panda stuffed toy displayed inside. But we were also starving and decided to grab something to eat. Lorenz got a Pink Lemonade Cupcake while I got a Magic Bar, which is a bar of chocolates, caramel, desiccated coconut and peanuts.

We scurried towards State St. since it was already raining. The stroll in the park kind of walk just wouldn’t do. It was like in a snap of a finger, the weather changed. The winds were really strong and the rain kept pouring. Thank God I brought an umbrella with me! It was also a good thing that the guy from reception area of the hotel was kind enough to lend Lorenz an umbrella. But both of our umbrellas got beaten by the strong winds. If Lorenz and I were lighter in mass, we would have been carried by the wind with our umbrellas and fly like Mary Poppins.

We hurriedly walked towards the Boston Aquarium and decided to eat at a restaurant located near the Aquarium. The place is called The Legal Seafood. Lorenz ordered for some gumbo while I got crab meat cake. After lunch, we were finally able to meet Andrea and Dan.

Andrea planned to take us on a Duck Tour around Boston. But due to the inclement weather, the tours were cancelled for the day. We decided to head to the Museum of Science and spent the afternoon there. The museum had a couple of exhibits like the Hall of Human Life, the displays about computer science and robotics, the theater of electricity, the optics display and many more.

After going around the museum we headed to the North End for dinner at an Italian restaurant. But prior to heading to the restaurant, we walked along Hanover to see the churches and gardens. We also walked around the block and passed by the Paul Revere house. One thing that can be noted also was how the road near the Paul revere house was still made of cobblestone. After going around the area, Andrea took us to a place called Pagliuca’s where we enjoyed some scrumptious food. Lorenz had his fill of clams and other seafood served in a broth with pasta. Dan had roasted veal with potatoes. Andrea had some pasta (ziti) with chicken. I ordered Lobster Fra Diavolo. It was taxing to eat the lobster since it was covered in red sauce and to add to that, it was so big and was served with pasta.

We shared stories and got to know each other a bit over dinner. We discussed with Andrea and Dan our project and also talked about specific contributions in the process of completing the project. We also shared our experiences in Paris.

Although the weather was not in favor to what was originally planned, it turned out to be a great day. We really appreciated the time Andrea and Dan took to accompany us in going about the city. Today was about being immersed in a beautiful city with rich history, having great company in getting around and sharing a great meal at the end of the day.

Smitten by the beauty of Boston,
Alyssa


15th April 2014
Across the Pacific Ocean

Lorenz and I were set to fly to Boston but we had a transit flight through San Francisco. It is interesting how flying all the way to the other side of the Pacific shows the interplay of time and space. After being aboard the plane for approximately 11 hours, we finally arrived in San Francisco.  What is interesting though is that after travelling more than 6,000 miles it seemed that we have gone back in time. We left Manila on Tuesday night, April 14 and arrived in San Francisco at around 7 PM, Tuesday, April 14.

We would have loved to check out San Francisco but Boston was already beckoning us from East Coast of the United States. We took another plane ride to Boston (approximately 6 hours). What was cool about the plane ride to Boston was having a female pilot. It was my first time to see and experience riding an aircraft that had a woman as a captain. Coincidentally, it goes along pretty well with the vision of Go Green in the City regarding the participation and role of women in society nowadays.

Once we landed at the Logan International airport and got our luggage, we were picked up by a chauffeur. Schneider Electric prepared all the bookings for us including the car service from the airport to the hotel. It was a short ride from the airport to the hotel. But we managed to get a glimpse of Boston. We can’t wait to explore the city while we are here! Please join us in our adventures as we travel around USA and Denmark through this blog.

All the best,

Alyssa

P.S. On our way to the hotel, we passed by buildings with flags half-masted. It was the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing that happened last year. Our prayers go out to all who were victims of the bombing.


14th April 2014
Go Green in the City 2013 winners anticipate what surprises Schneider Electric has in store!

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Today Alyssa Vintola and Lorenz Payonga, winners of the Go Green in the City 2013 challenge, embark on their journey around the world with Schneider Electric. Participation and victory in the competition has already opened many doors and secured professional opportunities for the winners, but today they continue their journey by visiting both the USA and Denmark.

As they were preparing to leave, we were able to catch up with Alyssa and Lorenz and find out more about their excitement and expectations for the trip. Read on to gain insight into their Go Green in the City story, find out why they chose their destinations and what they are most looking forward to on their trip!

How would you describe your Go Green in the City 2013 experience?

Alyssa: My Go Green in the City experience has been about expanding our views about energy efficiency, getting to know Schneider Electric through our mentor, meeting a lot of people and encouraging other students like us to participate in the competition.

Apart from winning, what was your best experience during the competition?

Lorenz: I became motivated to think innovatively. During Go Green in the City I was forced to think “outside-the-box”; it was unforgettable! And, of course, getting to know people from different cultures and different values, but with the common goal of promoting energy efficiency, was a great experience.

What did you learn from the competition?

Lorenz: One of the very important points that we learned from the competition is that it all boils down to how you can communicate your idea so that you can explain it both to the technically-minded and a person on the street.

What do you expect from your trip with Schneider Electric?

Alyssa: First we’ll be going to the USA and then we will head to Europe before coming back to the Philippines. So we will literally make a trip around the world! We think that USA and Denmark will offer us a rich cultural view, and a comprehensive overview of Schneider Electric as a company.

Lorenz: We are looking forward to seeing the Schneider Electric facilities and getting to know the people behind this very successful company. We are also excited to see all the surprises that Schneider Electric has in store for us.

Why did you choose Denmark and USA?

Alyssa: We checked the facility listings from the Schneider Electric website, and from their facilities in the USA and Denmark we can learn a lot, both in terms of how the company runs its business, and how they go about the manufacturing and technical aspects.

Lorenz: The trip to the USA and Denmark is also a big preparation for us, because when we come back to the Philippines we will start working for Schneider Electric, so it will also be an introduction trip. Regarding Denmark, I am particularly interested to find out why this country is branded as the happiest country in the world.

How will this trip contribute to your personal development?

Alyssa: Every chance that you get to travel to a different country is a chance for personal growth, because you get to adjust to customs in different countries, meet new people, and for us it is an opportunity to see how the things are run in more developed countries. And I think we can bring back to the Philippines practices from other countries that are more advanced.

Lorenz: Every culture presents a different perspective on how I can view life in general, and I think the experiences that are in store for us will change the way we view and assess our lives, and our future.

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Alyssa and Lorenz are fresh graduates with degrees in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

Alyssa is passionate about getting to know different cultures by exploring local cuisines, cultural sites, and meeting new people. She also likes to read, that’s why she already has her e-books ready for the flights!

 

 Lorenz is passionate about music, and plays piano and guitar. He is genuinely fascinated by renewable energy facilities and technologies. Lorenz also loves surprises, that’s why he isn’t asking any questions about the upcoming trip, but instead is looking forward to being surprised and fascinated.

 

Winners 2012

Igor Soares from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais and Marcellye Miranda from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, were the Go Green in the City 2012 winners. Their Green Light Concept proposed an integrated blend of 7 systems that would save both energy and water. Igor and Marcellye travelled to the USA and Russia as part of their winner’s trip.
Get to know people around the world and exchange experiences and knowledge.
Igor Soares and Marcellye Miranda

Winners' trip - USA and Russia

20th February 2013
Moscow never sleeps

During the second day in Moscow we did mainly work, we didn’t have time to see all areas of the enormous Schneider building with eight floors. Irina had planned a meeting with HR and the Energy Efficiency leadership team.

After lunch (Finally one Brazilian similarity) we visited the Solution Center. Thanks to our Russian translator Katya it was both very technical and clear. Later on Tatiana had a coffee break with Students from Baumann University of Moscow and we had some time to talk about GGitC, the award and our application. They all were very curious, interested and focused, thank you all!

Before the dinner we had a “How to defrost your car” lesson and learned how much cars actually suffers from this cold weather. I also found out that you can find a delicious steak and good wine in Moscow.

Before we finished the night we went by Papas place and had some beers, 4 for 1 cuba libres!

Now it’s only a couple of hours until we are back home!

Bye byee and thanks a lot Mokba!!

Igor Soares

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15th February 2013
Office – could it be better?

No, it is impossible to be better than it already is. Accompanied by our dear host Jenna, we visited the headquarter of Schneider Electric in Palatine, USA.

Firstly we had a very relaxed conversation with one of the responsible for the selection of “Marco Polo – Schneider”. He told us about his own experience and the basic requirements needed in order to enter the program.

We talked to Katie, an electrical engineer, who took the decision to use her expertise in her career and not only as technical knowledge. Initially she worked in the sales team but after a while she moved to town and joined the marketing team instead. Our talk was super nice and I really enjoyed seeing some new Schneider solutions.

Later on, we talked with the Vice President of HR in USA about our upcoming careers. We also gave them feedback on Go Green in the City and the prizes etc. One of the things we talked about, which I think is very important, was the fact that we are not the ones posting on our blog which causes some delays – sorry about that.

We had a number of important meetings. Everything was super enriching both professionally and in terms of building a strong network of contacts.  We’ve met many nice and polite people that I intend to keep in contact with. We finished the day and went to a pizzeria and ate the famous Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago, delicious and sensational :)

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13th February 2013
As children

Being at the Nothwest University gave us a very good insight into Schneider’s North American Headquarter at Palatine and the work thay do there.

It was a great but also important visit for me. Jenna, who work in the office, had prepared an amazing agenda for us. Firstly we talked bout the ‘Marco Polo Program’ (an amazing international mobility program). Afterwards she had planned a meeting for us with two Business Strategy Analysts at Schneider Electric (My dream job!). We met Colleen McLaughlin, one of the youngest analysts and Darcy Bonner, one of the more senior analysts.  They shared their experiences and we had a really good chat about different career paths that one could go and it was definitely a useful guide for me and my future career.

Later on we had the opportunity to meet with a number of global recruiting managers who asked for our experiences and feedback on Go Green in the City. We had some very good and giving discussions with Dan Fagan, Elaine Breattmann and Yvette. After this, the Chilli Cook Off! A funny and delicious competition where we experimented with seven different plates of chili and chose the Top 3!!

After the lunch break we went to the Solution Center to see some of Schneider’s Solutions used in the states.  I love this part of the company’s history and had a funny experience with the Big Touch Screen!!

Before going to dinner (The traditional Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza, just delicious) we had another funny experience where Jenna had us meet with all of the North American Leaders to have a conversation our projects, our plans, our internship and differences between US and Brazil. After a while one of the participants told Marcellye:

-It’s snowing outside!

She just started to jump up and down and also I was excited about my first meeting with white snow but I tried to stay serious.

One thing made me think:
Why have differences been misinterpreted in the past?
Today, I know that all the worlds’ variation makes the world spinning and work – such as – skin colors, cultures, weathers etc. Maybe something in your everyday life becomes a norm while in another life it could be be something totally new, like the forst snow is a funny playground for children.

See ‘u next time!! ^^

Igor Soares

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31st January 2013
Northwestern University: such a beautiful place

Yesterday we went to Northwestern University, together with a full team from Schneider Electric US, to speak to some students about Go Green in the City. We talked about our idea and how we came to the final, our experience in Paris, and the opportunities and rewards being offered to us. It was a cool experience! The university was somehow different from what we are used to in Brazil and they had a lot of pizza. 😉

The university was beautiful and I couldn’t distinguish the campus from the rest of the city. Everywhere was historical buildings. We didn’t take many pictures because it was raining, so our cameras wouldn’t survive.

After the university we went for dinner with some employees at Schneider Electric and Igor was the only man the table. = P We had excellent food and good company. There is nothing better!

I really have to thank Schneider Electric for the opportunity being offered to me and Igor. Going abroad, meeting people from around the world, learning about other cultures and places is without a doubt a unique opportunity and I’m learning a lot here.

Marcellye

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29th January 2013
Hello Chicago!

Once we arrived at O’Hare airport we ran in to a problem – my luggage locker was broken. This was an unfortunate start, but we soon got on better thoughts because this city is awesome!!

Marcellye and I checked out the city a bit and checked in to our hotel while waiting for Jenna, our host in Chicago =D. When she joined us, our previous impression of her from phone and email conversations was confirmed, Jenna is an amazing person. She’s like a Brazilian; always smiling, exhaling happiness and sympathy. She’s so funny and has a young spirit. In other words we’re really lucky, we are in great company and I’m so glad for it!

In the afternoon we went shopping for a few things (The coming days we’ll shop all the rest ^^) and prepared ourselves for the Jenna’s big surprise, BULLS GAME!!!!! It was increeeedible, I’ll never, ever, forget it!!

I’m so excited for tomorrow; it seems to be a great day, despite the rain!!

Cya!!
=D

Igor

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28th January 2013
In Miami

So we are now in Miami and its really hot here. To be honest, I’m a little afraid about the winter and the wind in Chicago, but yet so happy that we have started our trip. Today we have a “day off” and once we’ve dropped off our language in Chicago well go out and see the city and do some shopping.

Later in the afternoon Jenna, our Schneider Electric host, will arrive and guide us though our US visit.

We hope you’ll follow us and will enjoy the trip with us. Participate in Go Green in the City 2013 and you might be traveling the world with Schneider Electric about a year from now. 😉

Marcellye


27th January 2013
My childhood dream came true

I was all set to fly to Paris and was totally excited that I couldn’t sleep during the long flight that separated my city, Belo Horizonte, and Paris. There was a taxi driver waiting for us at the airport with a plaque with our names on. At this moment I felt important. =)

He took us to le Hive, an imposing building in Rueil Malmaison which is Schneider Electric’s head office. Once there we looked for our host and she took us to the hotel. (We should have been taken straight to the hotel, but the taxi driver was confused and it was quite amusing.)

I still couldn’t believe that I was in Europe, so close to the most famous tower in the world – I was still in shock. *.* The first day, we had a welcome gathering where we could meet some Schneider Electric executives and the other finalists. We were people from all around the world and it was an amazing experience.

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At night, me and Igor rehearsed our presentation several times, changing a few things, trying to speak with more conviction, etc. The next day, the BIG DAY, we went to the presentation. I was super nervous! We attended some workshops and presented our idea in front of a small group of judges, who were super friendly. 😉 That night, we went for dinner on a boat, where we could interact more with the other finalists and see the beautiful city of light, in fact, full of lights, beautiful and splendid. Oh, how I miss Paris!

Marcellye

(Now you’ve read a little bit about our Go Green in the City experience. Today we’ll fly to Chicago and the next post will be about our winners’ trip to US and Russia. SUbscribe to follow us on our journey.)


24th January 2013
Memories – some a long time ago, some less so

When I read that e-mail, the best one, entitled ‘Congratulations and welcome to Paris in June’, I had the feeling that amazing things were coming. The scream wasn’t just ‘one more victory celebration’; it was a vent, taking all stress and anxiety off my chest. The Paris experience was a reward for all that hard work.

Marcellye and I felt a special atmosphere once we arrived at Orly Airport. We meet the other 48 finalist – each one with their culture, history, wishes, dreams and expectations just like me. Meeting these people, now my friends, was the best part of the trip.

Moreover, there were other points which were awesome. We got to visit the most amazing headquarter I ever hear about, we got to know people from Schneider Electric and learn from them and I cannot forget the feeling once we understood we won, a true sensation.

Also, I shouldn’t forget mentioning how important our work was with our mentor Chris Collins (from Schneider Electric North America – Critical Buildings). He was our mentor for the 2nd and 3rd steps in the challenge. Chris didn’t only help at the project development, he simply taught us that “learning without think is useless”.

In other words, Go Green in the City is an honorable and rich challenge which offer more than you can expect, it totally worthwhile.

Join us at GGitC 2013 and find it out by yourself!

Cya folks,
Igor Soares

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23rd January 2013
Let’s start from the beginning

In January 2012, Igor invited me to participate in Go Green in the City 2012, without quite knowing what it was I said yes. All I knew was that it concerned a proposal to make our cities greener and more sustainable.

We started to develop our idea and it resulted in two pages filled with images and a short explanatory text of our idea. Once I received the email that we’ve qualified for the second phase I was very happy but also surprised. We were chosen as one of the top 100 teams out of applicants from all over the world – it was amazing!

In the second phase we enjoyed working with our excellent mentor, Chris Collins. He helped us structure our idea and supported us to make it more feasible. It was a period where I learned a lot about Schneider Electric’s solutions – knowledge that was useful to further improve our project. If our Go Green in the City journey would have ended being among the top 100 it would still have been worth the hours spend.

Finally, I received an e-mail confirmation telling we had made it to the final in Paris. At that time, I felt a whirlwind of feelings inside of me, I was so happy – I would get to see Europe and, somehow, represent Brazil in the finals. At the same time a huge fear of knowing that at that time many people were following my progress and I didn’t want to disappoint them. This fear made me worked even harder during the period between the confirmation and the final in Paris.

In this last phase I felt a bit like a local celebrity. : ) Some local newspapers published the news, that we had made it to the last phase of the Go Green in the City 2012.

In a few days we are off for the winners’ trip and I hope you will follow us as we travel the Schneider Electric world!

Marcellye

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21st January 2013
Preperations for the 2012 winners’ trip

In June 2012 Igor Soares and Marcellye Miranda won Go Green in the City 2012. A lot has happened since then and apart from doing internships at Schneider Electric in Brazil the two Brazilian engineering students are now preparing for their trip around the Schneider Electric world. Their destinations will be Chicago and Moscow.

Read the interview with the winners here. The first blog post will be posted shortly.

Best regards,
The Go Green in the City Team

Pssst, we hope that you already have pre-registered for Go Green in the City 2013. In a year from now you might be one of the winnerspacking your bag for the winners’ trip. You can pre-register here and read more about the challenge!


20th February 2012
The last day in Moscow, the city that never sleeps!!

It’s the day at Schneider headquarter in Russia, the office had 8 floors and a security very different from others, perhaps more rigid. We took a tour at the HQ and I had the impression that the “Go Green design” is not communicated to the employees, which I felt was the first impression.

We talked with the Vice president of HR and Operations and presented our project: Green Light Concept for both. The Vice president gave us very interesting feedback on how we could present it better and sell it as our best idea. I will remember this feedback for the rest of my life, very enriching.

In the afternoon we presented our project and Go Green for a group of students from universities in Moscow, super interested and engaged students. Afterwards, we went to dinner – aahhh Russian food looks so much like Brazilian food, It felt like home =)

On the last day we could not take advantage of the fact that Moscow never sleeps, and we went to a pub with our new Russians friends.

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19th February 2012
What Napoleon never saw

At the first look the “tour around Moscow’s nightlife” was an order, but when we arrived in Moscow we couldn’t join Tatiana and the Students, cause I was extremely tired and Marcellye was sick with the flu!

The next day Tatyana guided us to the most important, and pretty unique, attraction in Moscow,  ‘MOKBA’. Luckily, Svetlana, one the Russian finalists from last year, joined us at the tour.

We visited the Bolshoi Theater, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, a chocolate Shop, Moscow Geographical Reference at Proyezd Voskresenskiye Vorota (these were like the fountains in Paris, a place to throw a coin and make a wish) and Glass Globe Mall!!

One of the most different experiences was the lunch we had at My My. The traditional Russian food has a strong taste, very distinctive, and in Brazil we have more soft kinds of flavors.

After lunch we met up with the students Aliya, Vladimir and Micha and went to the Cosmonautics Museum where Micha gave us all the information and some fun facts. This part was awesome mainly because my hasn’t developed any research with this kind of special focus and therefor this was very new for us.

The walk around Moscow with these students was very funny and unforgettable. Those guys knew so much about the city’s history, science and I learned so much!!

By the end of the night we went to a European Mall to eat something and talk. Later on we had some beers next to the Hotel!!

The students were very easy to get to know and it felt like they were our old friends even if Russians are quite closed before you get to know them but very caring after a while, I really liked them!

Good night folks!
Cya!

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18th February 2012
Something special in the air

Hi everybody, a new trip to come: We are finalizing everything in order to go to Czar’s land!!

The stop in Chicago was the best trip of my life!! I’ll never forget it and I have to say that saying goodbye makes me sad, I’m crying inside. Jenna was just incredible!! The last activity was the costumer visit, we saw the Schneider’s Solution in Chicago Public Schools Management Building. Afterwards, we did some shopping, took a tour at the Navy Pier, saw Lincoln Park Zoo and the Skydeck and had the best Spanish Dinner ever.

I’m so excited about all this and I can’t thank Jenna enough for this short time in this freezing weather. She was very kind, with her positivity, happiness, care and energy (She looks like seventeen =D).

Today we just enjoyed the great weather and walked like Ninjas (Only -24º C) hahahaha…

Now we are off to Moscow, Russia, to close this experience with the goal-labeled agenda that our Russian host Irina prepared!!

At Moscow we’ll have less time, but I hope for great times as we lived here.

With this long journey around the globe and after almost 50 hours of flight you spend a lot of time with something and the intimacy arises. This long time in the air will bring us closer to discover what’s so special in the air!

Thank you Chicago!!!

I hope you enjoy and keep following us.

Igor Soares

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18th February 2012
Having fun!

We went  to the Navy Pier, a beautiful place, but I have to confess that it should have been even nicer if it was summertime.

From here we went to the zoo, the animals were indoors because of the temperature,  but I found a very small space for large cats such as tigers and lions. Close to this there was a greenhouse with beautiful flowers and I thought about how lucky I was to have all this within reach. Beautiful plants, delicate flowers and majestic trees, just like in Brazil.

We had a hot dog for lunch at a restaurant that reminded me of a few movie that I’ve seen, the place was bucolic, with beautiful décor. A policeman had lunch at the same place. I commented that it felt like I was in a movie and that his uniform was so beautiful, so he did put his hand inside his jacket and pulled out a gift for me, and I LOVE the souvenir:

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12th February 2012
Great companies are great only if they are large customers

We left Palatine and went back to Chicago, through terrible traffic, a landmark of large cities. We arrived to a majestic building in downtown Chicago which is the building of administration for public schools. We could see some Schneider solutions installed in order to reduce spending on energy consumption and rise the comfort for the employees. It’s amazing how some solutions which seem so easy can save a lot of energy.

I love energy and different techniques. I listened with “open ears” in order to absorb as much as possible regarding the concepts and ideas presented. Once again I would like to thank Jenna for this visit, it was awesome!

Marcellye

post-great-companies

Winners 2011

Suma Elengikal and María Consuelo Palacios Lafuente (Bonn University, Germany) were winners of Go Green in the City 2011 for their proposal The Green University.
Schneider Electric is a dynamic company with a significant young population. What has been encouraging is their commitment to hire young people, especially women. The opportunity to work for a company that is working towards a sustainable future is what attracts us most to Schneider Electric.
Suma Elengikal and María Consuelo Palacios Lafuente

Winners' trip - Brazil and China

22nd December 2011
Home sweet home

Everything good comes to an end, and this trip has not been an exception (unfortunately). I am sorry not to have written before to inform of my good arrival in European land, but I had to prepare myself for the week ahead, sleep, meet friends… and not necessarily in that order!

Once more, thank you very much for all the people we have met in this trip: visiting new countries is always a nice and interesting experience, but you are the one who have made it so special!

And that is enough cheesy for today, any comments about which pictures you would like to see as a summary of our trip? I suppose a picture of our samba local or the famous Beijing roasted duck are long overdue!

Cheers,

Chelo


19th November 2011
It’s not only the alphabet

I am very grateful to my guide in Beijing Jessie (picture on the right), because without her I would have thought that Beijing was like any big modern city in Europe – only that the banners are written in another alphabet. The district where Schneider is located, Chaoyang, and the places I had visited there – inclusive a big shopping mall in the traditional Chinese style, where you have to bargain –  did not differ much from what I am used to. However, after yesterday’s tour I will never think that ever again!

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There is no way that you can visit Beijing in a day, so we stuck to the basics: National Museum, Tianamen Square, Forbidden City, the Confucian Temple and the Learning Academy. And we walked around the Hutongs, those Chinese narrow streets and alleys that really conveyed me the feeling of being in another world.

Since I do not want to bore you with details, I will stress out only the three things that caught most my attention. First, it is funny to see how some of the pottery or tools in ancient times in places as far away as Spain or China may look so similar.

Here it is one example:

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However, most of the things are pretty different. You do not need to be an architect to see the difference between an European church and a Chinese temple. Nonetheless, rather than the form, I really liked the colours – and how everything I visited here was well taken care of; in the case of the main North gate of the Forbidden City I would add it was even fresh painted! or at least it smelled still to paint.

And last but not least: I have no talent for bargaining. I was so incredibly cheated! My piece of advice is to visit first the old town, some of the narrow streets are renovated and really touristic. There you can visit small gift shops and see the tags…. then you have already a benchmark, though even there you may be able to bargain… It is really tiring and something I am going to have to work on!

I leave you with a couple of pictures that have made me laugh: any idea about why? Come on, it is really easy!

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16th November 2011
A new day, a new continent

First of all, I want to thank again the Brazilian team for an incredible time in their country. It was a pleasure to meet all of you, and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we would love to come back again!

About our next destination, Beijing is as different as anyone could expect. People are being very nice too. As I arrived I was picked up and brought to the hotel, where I took a taxi for the Schneider Electric Headquarters. I had first an introduction about the history and different career paths in Schneider  – included with a test in the beginning! I am ashamed to confess that I failed, but proud to tell that I will not do it in the future anymore! Afterwards I had lunch and I went with Joyce (yes, life is about coincidences, my guide here is called also Joyce!)to visit one of the fabrics of low and medium voltage. It was very interesting to see especially so many women working at it – in low voltage I could say nearly everyone was a woman!

Though it is really a pity, after the visit I went to my hotel to sleep… I guess the flight had took its toll!

Today in the morning I had another meeting about the Chinese market and its strategy for the implementation of the smart grid and electrical vehicles. I also met with some young professionals at Schneider and in a few minutes I will go to eat with them some delicious traditional Chinese food, which I am looking forward to it!

As some of you may have noted, I am talking the whole time as a single person. That is because Suma had to stop in Europe and come back home. It is really sad that she got sick and did not have the energy to stay so many hours in a plane, I miss you Suma! Next time we have to come back together! And for everybody that is reading this post: don’t worry, I received a message from her and she feels already better.

Kind regards to everyone,
Chelo


13th November 2011
We are Corinthians

Corinthians is the football team of Sao Paulo and its colors are black and white. This is what our city guide and Marcelo (Joyce’s fiancè) explained us yesterday. Football is here a big topic, as it is in Spain or Italy, though knowing their international famous and good soccer players, it does not surprise us. We saw today the stadium where tomorrow Corinthos is going to play against another big team of Brazil (Atletico Paranaense). And we even saw one of the Football players in our Samba local, Traco de Uniao.

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We had a lot of fun with our city guide – though visiting the city is not as in the European old towns, where you have to wear comfortable shoes to be able to walk for hours. We went by car, since you have to jump from one part of the city to the next one as fast as possible. When they tell you that something is around the corner it means, at least, 15-20 minutes by car. So we did our tour by car and got to make some interesting pictures, that we hope to post soon. We recommend especially the neighbourhood of Vila Madalena and its graffitis!

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After eating in a “churrascaria” we went to dance Samba, we could not leave the city without dancing with some brazilian boys! Unfortunately, it is as hard as it seems to dance properly, but we got to learn some new steps and to meet new people. At the end of the day we could not wait to reach our “havaianas”!

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Today we are going to have lunch with another Business Partner from Brazil and we will leave this beautiful country for China! We are looking forward to visit China, but at the same time a little bit sad of leaving this country and its incredible people. We hope to meet again here very soon, Ate logo!

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12th November 2011
We are not filmgenic!

Definition of the word unfilmgenic by Palacios-Elengikal (2011): get a blackout when you see a camera. In fact, among all the activities we did today, we had to make a short video about our experience in the Go Green in the City competition. We are really dreading the moment we get to see the video, because it is hard to be natural talking about an experience you have introduced like thousand of times (or what it seems like it) during the last 24 hours. But even if you think the problem is to be natural, when you are staring at an inanimate object, as it is a camera, the hard thing is to be coherent and not to forget every single information you want to transmit – and we are not even talking about trying to be entertaining! Anyway, we were not only sucessful in presenting our project or talking to the camera today: we had also an interesting round table with several vicepresidents from the different business units in Brazil. We talked about their careers. It is difficult to stress just a sole moment, but I really liked the definition of Motivation: to have a “Motive” and put it into “action”. We are really part of a generation where you have to aim higher, be faster and in some ways, just be perfect without really having clear where you are going. It is hard to be young, but right now we would not exchange it for anything in the world!

We also had a talk about efficient energy management, a guide around the heardquarters, and even a nice dinner with young Talents in Schneider Brazil! It was a pleasure to get to know them and talk about common interests – being one of them, of course, our next step tomorrow: to dance Samba! We leave you now with a picture of some of our new friends in Brazil: Rafa, Caro and Anton. We could not have wished for a better company!!

Chelo and Suma

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10th November 2011
Obrigada!

Never go to bed without learning something new: sometimes it is not as easy as it sounds to get to learn something new, but this trip is making it really simple! After a couple of unexpected anecdotes on the way – which I may tell another time, since now we are kind of running out of it! – Suma and I met with Gabriela – another finalist of the Go Green in the City competition in Paris, who is already working for Schneider Electric in Brazil – and Joyce, our responsible for the whole trip in Sao Paulo. She was perfectly punctual – even Germans would not be able to beat her. We got on our way to have lunch with the Vicepresident of Human Resources in Brazil in a really nice setting – Rascal Restaurant, I definitely recommend its “crema de papaia”. After a nice chat we went to visit and learn more about the logistics of Schneider Electric and their brand new Distribution Center (less than 6 months old!). All in all, it has been a very productive and beautiful day (with sun included in the whole package!), but unfortunately we have to prepare us for tomorrow. I did not get to sleep very well in the plane and tomorrow we have to be ready at 7:30am (did sombedody say that it was a leasure trip?).

Now we are going to have dinner and afterwards we will post some of the pics of the day. It is difficult to say what I have liked more today, but I will choose the title of my post: obrigadA! That means thank you in Portuguese, and that is the perfect description for the welcome and reception of the Brazilian section of Schneider Electric.

Moito Obrigada!

Chelo


10th November 2011
The trip has started

Hi everybody,

I am sitting now in Paris airport waiting for Maria Consuelo and for our flight to Sao Paulo….
I am so excited about the whole trip… I have never been either to Brazil nor to China….
Just a background information: you may wonder why did we choose these two countries…. well, we took this decision together with some Schneider’s employers … we thought it would be really interesting to visit two countries we have never been to and moreover both countries are developing a lot …. therefore Schneider Electic’ s presence here is very important for its future….
….. I am really happy that Schneider gave us the opportunity to visit these countries…
I am so curious to see how these countries look like, their landscape, their culture, the food…. and obviously visit Schneider’s facilities there!!
In particular, I am wondering how the business culture in these countries will be…. I would think that Brazil is somehow similar to the European… but China may be completely different!!…
Sao Paulo has just 3 hours difference from Germany, therefore it won’t be a big deal to get used to the jet lag. Once we arrive in Sao Paulo there will be someone form Schneider Electric to pick us up….
Then we will go to the Schneider Office and meet there with some employers… we are going to present them our project and so on…
.. anyway I will let you know better once we will reach Sao Paulo…

Suma…

PS: I hope you all will get the chance to follow us in our daily adventures


7th November 2011
Before the trip

Hello everybody,

as you may have already read, Maria and I are going to start our trip on Wednesday…

We had to go through some preparations so far, such as get the Visa for China, make a health insurance, change money, collect information about both countries and so on ….but I hope that we almost managed everything and didn’t forget anything :)

From Wednesday onwards, we will try to regularly post here something about the trip, including pictures and videos… Hope you can all get the chance to follow us and comment our post….

Suma