Embassy of Mexico Visit

Today we visited the Mexican Embassy in Bern. For the first time the project connectUS will visit Mexico on the On-Site Seminar. For the Mexican Embassy it was also the first time a group from an university visited their embassy in Bern. The presentation was hold by the representative of the Mexican Embassy and the head of press.

The history of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Mexico goes way back to the year 1945, when diplomatic relations between Mexico and Switzerland began. The current topic between the two countries right now is the unique Swiss dual education program, in which Mexico is very interested in. At Swiss companies in Mexico the Swiss dual system is already integrated.

It is a very important year for Mexico because of the election, which takes place on the 1st of  July. The last big election was 1992 and this year a third of the government and senators will change, as well as the president. Mexico is a political and economic stable country with an open market and has the 15th largest economy of the world. Mexico is the largest exporter of silver, beer, flatscreen tv’s and avocados. They are also the 3rd largest exporter of smartphones and 5th largest exporter of automobiles.

Guadalajara, the city which we will visit on our trip to Mexico, is the most important technology hotspot and set to become the next Silicon Valley, where thousand startups are founded. Most of the companies which transfer their production to Mexico do that because of the production costs. Mexico has changed its main focus from oil industry to technology products. There are also many Swiss companies, which are major investors in Mexico as Nestlé, Roche, Novartis and Hilti.


Swisscom Visit

The first company visit with our delegation led us to the headquarter of Swisscom in Ittigen. After a quick introduction by a former FHNW student to some important figures regarding Swisscom’s business environment, a data security specialist presented us the main challenges in data security. Whereas trust is a positive feeling in personal relationships, it could pose a major threat for security systems. In order to make a system as save as possible, it is essential to create distrust within a certain network system. That prevents full access to a whole network after an attack. Since it is very difficult, time-consuming, and costly to detect the numerous attacks which are being performed on Swisscom’s network every day, the hackers can be roughly categorized into vandals, hacktivists, criminals and governments. In order to improve and strengthen their security systems, Swisscom uses an interesting approach where employees are being allocated to a team of defense and a team of attackers. This approach aims to detect potential security issues and hopefully leads to the improvement of their defense capabilities.

The second part of the presentation was devoted to design thinking. During this workshop, we have learnt the approach of hear – create – deliver. We started off by interviewing another student about his interests, needs and wants for the perfect wallet. Once we knew each other’s preferences we were asked to draw the ideal wallet, whereon we reflected on our first drawing and generated 5 alternatives which were supposed to meet the opposite’s desired ideal wallet as good as possible. After presenting our solutions, we were asked to build our final solution which led to very interesting and quaint results.

The first presentation gave us a basic understanding about data security and the potential impact of hacker attacks. It was insane to see how many times such businesses actually are being confronted with attacks and inappropriate content. The design thinking workshop introduced us to the process of how to analyse a market and develop an appropriate product. The main message was to rather do than overthink things in the early stages of product development.

U.S. Embassy Visit

The US Embassy manages the official relationship between the United States and the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein. They represent the interests of the United States. One of the main commission is to issues passport, birth certificate and other documents for US citizen and visas for non- US citizen. Another important commission is to talk with Swiss politicians about taxes, jobs, etc.

In case of the US-policy there are two main tasks. One about the media and the other about the culture and admission. On the media task they have to monitor the newspaper, television and radio and rapport (and sometimes comment them) to Washington.

In the US Embassy, the nationality of the employees is a mix of US citizen and Swiss or people who live in Switzerland for a long time. For the US Embassy, it is important to have a mix as the officers with US citizen change after three years their location. Locals who work in embassy help US officers to get a better understanding of the culture and language.

The visit of the US Embassy was very interesting. Especially because they give us an insight about the pros and cons of the life of an officer and how to become an officer of the US Embassy.