IGTC Students visit Germany on a Student Exchange Programme

“Business Environment Germany”
Ersten mal in Deutschland for IGTC Students
IGTC partners with DHBW, Germany for Intensive Student Exchange Programme

For the first time, 26 students from the Indo-German Training Centres across Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata visited the Duale Hochschule Baden Wuerttemberg (DHBW) or Baden-Wuerttemberg State Cooperative University, Karlsruhe for an intensive study programme “Business Environment Germany” from 29th September to 10th October 2013. The student delegation was lead from India by Ms. Radhieka Mehta, Director IGTC and accompanied by Sudhakar Kasture, Faculty at IGTC.  It was planned and supported by the DHBW faculty team including Prof. Volker Ihle, Head of Department Business Administration and Engineering, International Coordinator; Prof. Peter J. Lehmeier, Head of Department Business Administration; Prof. Dr. Rudiger Schafer, Head of Department, Business Administration, Management in Commerce and Ms. Birgit Schlenker, University Communication, Events and Project.

The student exchange programme aimed to give the IGTC students an exposure to all aspects of Germany – including education and student life, industry and corporate work etiquettes, culture, history and lifestyle.  The Jugendherberge (Youth Hostel) Karlsruhe became home to the Indian students for the fortnight.

To begin the 13-day programme, a warm welcome was extended to all the students by eminent personalities in Karlsruhe:

  • Prof. Dr. Georg Richter, President, DHBW Karlsruhe
  • Ms. Margret Mergen, Deputy Mayor, Karlsruhe
  • Prof. Hans-Peter Mengele, Director General, IHK Karlsruhe

While Ms. Mergen passionately introduced the students to the young but historic, fan-shaped city of Karlsruhe, Prof. Mengele mesmerized the students with his impromptu lecture on Innovation and Leadership by Generation Y. Through these privileged interactions, by the end of the first two days, the IGTC students understood the importance of their role as brand ambassadors of India and as members of the globally recognized German Chamber fraternity.
Subsequently, over the next few days, the students attended some lectures at DHBW and visited German companies.

Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Senior Project Manager at Siemens AG gave a lecture on Project Management with a special focus on countries that are either politically unstable or just achieving stability through international collaboration.  He exemplified various personal achievements where he has successfully completed projects for Siemens in the most unique and toughest of conditions.  Through his professional work examples, he explained about International Safety Standards, Global Teams, Managing Global Risk and Investment and Crisis Management, all of which together contribute to Siemens’ success as an organization.

A business simulation game, designed by faculty Mr. Genth, covered three cycles that demonstrated the impact of different environmental and technological changes inevitable in a business.  Ms. Brigitte Brun, an independent consultant by profession and a passionate faculty on the weekends at DHBW, took the students through a case study on what success and failure meant in a global perspective, and the role of woman in today’s scenario.  Her enthusiasm and fondness for India were evident in the way she expressed her opinion that India is an organized country with great potential.

Prof. Lee took students through an interesting and knowledgeable lecture on the history, benefits and future of the Euro.  He explained why the Euro Zone was a political decision and why Germany’s role is the critical key to its survival.  A truly global person and linguist, Dr. Altehenger Smith enthralled the students through her lecture on being ‘Internationally Interactive’ – on dealing with stereotypes, intercultural perceptions, non-verbal communication and gestures in various cultures.

Prof. Lehmeier from DHBW, our continuous source of enrichment in Germany, gave the students an insight into the different retail formats in Germany and innovative concepts such as scanning the barcode with a smartphone, the P-fund system of recycling of bottles and the flexible leadership followed by DM stores.  His lecture was delivered under a tree in the garden that took the students back to the ancient Indian ‘Gurukul’ system.

Beyond lectures, the fascinating world of German companies opened their doors to Indian students.  It was dream come true for most students to see the Mercedes Benz A and B Class factory in Rastatt with its an assembly line functioning with 1300 robots and high tech machinery.  Each car was customized as per individual requirements of the clients and production schedules were always ahead of time. The students were fascinated by the audio-aided, but employee-guided tour, wherein all their queries were answered in real time.  It was impressive to witness the Mercedes team spirit wherein all employees were referred to as colleagues; and the loyalty and customer focus that were integral to the world’s most luxurious car maker.

The Central Warehouse of Michelin Tyres at Landau was an eye-opener on Safety and Space Management.  Safety gears including jackets and shoes were prepared for each student.  It was interesting to see the different varieties and sizes of tyres and methods of storing them.  For the students, Siemens stood out as a company that prides itself on providing solutions to complex problems, and signifies a global network of innovation.  After the official presentation, the students were shown the Simulators named TIA – Totally Integrated Automation which replicates the various factory processes, and is used to give young trainees hands on experience in the organization.  A tour of the production facility showcased Siemens products and their applications in the industry.

Then, the students visited a hidden champion, Klingelmail – Germany’s largest mail order company and a leader in logistics and warehousing.  With a fully automated plant and a vertical warehouse, the company handles around 80,000 consignments per day across 250,000 different products.  The highest standard of accuracy and precision were maintained with check points installed at regular intervals throughout the conveyor belt.

On the last day of company visits, it was time to “Drive the World” by visiting SEW, one of the biggest manufacturers of belt and conveyor drives.  The company not only believes in innovation but also precision, reliability and safety.

Finally, the students were fortunate to visit the world’s largest ‘verbund’, fully integrated chemical plant, BASF at Ludwigshafen.  After a start at the BASF Visitor’s Centre, students were given a bus tour of the humungous plant, almost the size of

an entire city with its own railway track for internal transportation, a port of the River Rhine for long distance transportation, three fire stations that also catered beyond the plant to the entire city of Ludwigshafen and an environment monitoring centre.  It was simply out of the world, but still very much grounded in safety and its commitment to the environment.

Of course, the student exchange programme would not have been complete without a little bit of culture and sightseeing.  Whether it was making merry at the Oktoberfest, visiting the beautiful picturesque Heidelberg, gorging on the delicious authentic Black Forest Cake, catching up on a soccer game at the Mercedes Benz Arena or overcoming every challenge at the Waldseilpark Forest Adventure Park – the students did it all.

The first cultural visit on the German National Day was to the Bruchsal Palace which captured their attention by its art, paintings and its beautiful décor.  The Museum of Musical Instruments gave them an insight to German music from the 17th to 20th century.  Heidelberg captured hearts, with its charm and character in abundance between the old bridge and the mighty castle.

The visit to the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart was dream come true for many of them. It was a journey through more than 125 years of fascinating automotive history – and on into the future. It was a treat to all car lovers. The Oktoberfest at Wasen, Stuttgart was truly an experience of a lifetime.  Trains at this time in Stuttgart were no less than the Mumbai locals but the atmosphere at the Oktoberfest was electrifying. There were people dressed in traditional Lederhosen and Drindls, giant steins of beer were seen everywhere.  The students were completely flabbergasted with the giant carnival!

Heaven on Earth – Black Forest embodied everything that one might expect of a German picture book holiday.  Green hilly pastures, pinewood trees, huge sized horses, vineyards…it was simply paradise.  The journey to the alluring kingdom started at the St. Peters Church with a divine Sunday morning service.  More fascinations – the world’s biggest Cuckoo Clock and the Vogtbauerhof, an open air museum of ancient, 400 year old Black Forest farmhomes left the students awestruck.  Most specially, the students were treated to a live demonstration of the making of the one of the most important inventions in Germany; the amazing black forest cake soaked in ‘Cherry Water’….and were then invited to feast on it.

The abundant exposure over almost two weeks culminated with the IGTC students presenting their learnings and experiences at DHBW among an audience of German students, faculty and guests from the industry.  A crisp, one hour programme was designed wherein presentations were interspersed with a short IGTC film, an Indian classical song and some Indian folk and bollywood dances.  The Indian students used every mode – words, music, dance and art – to express their gratitude to the DHBW faculty for painstakingly organizing this wonderful immersion into their dream country Germany, an exchange programme that will always remain a part of their memoirs forever!!

This is what the students had to say after their Germany visit:

“Its not the “Weather”, not the ” Lifestyle”, not the “Technology”, Neither the “Population” nor the “Size” of this country that has made all the difference. It’s the “Attitude” that matters a lot. Thanks Germany  for a wonderful experience!!”
Sayali Lokhande

“Danke für Ihre Gastfreundschaft. The Business Seminar in Karlsruhe was a great learning experience for me. It was an inspirational program which helped me to learn and understand a finer culture that excels in technology & professionalism, thereby motivating us to strive for bigger goals in life. The Deutschen personify the phrase “Work hard, Party harder!”. Bis zum nächsten Mal, Auf Wiedersehen!”
Shashank Chandrasekharan

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