My meeting today brought me to the campus of the Berlin School of Economics and Law, which was particularly cool today because it was the first day of the semester for the school. There was an energy on the campus as students and professors were catching up and heading to classes. In a sense, it brought me back to Pitt, but also gave me a great opportunity to experience not just another college campus but an international college campus, which I have yet to experience in this capacity. I arrived to campus early for my meeting to give myself the time to have this experience and do some of my own work to prepare for the meeting on campus, as I would do if I were at Pitt. So naturally, I found of the cafés around campus to grab a coffee and do my work, and by doing so, I easily fit in with the campus life and other students in the café doing coursework.
The meeting itself was quite different from the one I had yesterday. First off, I was not just meeting with one person. I arranged the meeting with one of the economics and gender studies professors at the school, but she extended the invitation to some of her colleagues. Ultimately, the professor and I were joined by two of her colleagues, who specialize in social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, and economics. As it was the first day of the semester, all of their schedules were very tight, so we had to keep a strict end time to the meeting, unlike yesterday’s meeting. From one perspective, this limitation on our time together may seem like a constraint with negative implications on the productivity of the conversation. However, it was quite the contrary. Our limited time inherently drove our conversation to greater lengths because there was this overarching pressure of time. As a result, the meeting was not so much a deep discussion of dense content, but more so a discussion of where to find good content and materials for my research. It became a dynamic brainstorming session as four great minds from different backgrounds bounced ideas of each other and built on the ideas and suggestions of others. Ideas ranged from a documentary I should watch to stores in Berlin I should visit or try to contact. This meeting was a great contrast from my meeting yesterday, as both were incredibly productive but in very different ways. Seeing how both of these meetings went have given me additional ideas as to how I can structure and drive the upcoming meetings I have, and I am looking forward to seeing how they go and what more I can learn from them.