IGTC’s International Exchange Programme

The 5th Business Enviroment Germany, 2018 to the Duale-Hochschule, Baden-Wurttenberg (DHBW)

Since 2013, the Indo-German Training Centre (IGTC) in partnership with the Duale Hochschule Baden Wuerttemberg (DHBW) annually organizes the International Students Exchange Programme titled Business Environment India and Business Environment Germany. This year a delegation of 21 enthusiastic students from the Post-Graduate and Executive Management Programme embarked on a journey to the DHBW Karlsruhe, Germany for the 5th Business Environment Germany.

The delegation was headed by Ms. Radhieka Mehta, Director, IGTC. The purpose of the visit was to share and experience the unity in its diverse system of Education and Training between DHBW and IGTC. The German Dual System of Education which combines apprenticeships in a company and vocational education at a vocational school in one course is the common factor between IGTC and DHBW. Just as DHBW, IGTC also arranges a sponsor for each of their students with a partner company in a German company in India.

The most interesting parts of the exchange programme were the various Guest Lectures arranged by the DHBW faculty, visits to German Companies and the intercultural exchange of experiences between Germany and India. This entire experience would not have been so so thrilling had it not been for this exceptionally planned schedule. Being jam packed, it kept us on our feet most of the time, kept the adrenaline pumping and made us grasp and learn so much out of each activity done.

We could relate what was taught in our classrooms back in India through our visits to educational institutions such the DHBW Karlsruhe and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), official institutions such as the Rathaus (Town Hall) and the Industrie-und Handelskammer (IHK) Karlsruhe, and the various German companies such as dm-drogerie markt (dm), Siemens, Daimler and SEW Eurodrive.

Some of the key learnings include:

  • ‘Discover Germany’ by Ms. Dagmar Simanzik and Prof. Volker Ihle who gave an informative session about the historic, economic and cultural growth of Germany. They reminded us Time is Money in Germany and the art of handling Board Meetings where business has to be business, thus leaving emotions out of the Board room.
  • Dr. –Ing Rajiv Kumar, Project Director at Siemens AG, Karlsruhe, gave us an interesting in-sight on International Project Management and how Project Management must actually be used from a business perspective.
  • What is it to be a part of the Siemens Professional Education program (SPE) from the participating students themselves; and how Siemens is becoming a front runner in the race of digitalization from the two senior engineers, Anil and Sourabh under the leadership of Stephan Krug.
  • Being customer centric while desigining products by Andreas Sass, Product Management, Drogerie Markt and learning that it is ok to make mistakes. Getting a hands-on experience in making our own shower gels that we hope will hit the stores someday at Germany’s most preferred retail giant, dm-Drogerie Markt.
  • The impact of dual vocational training at the IHK, Karlsruhe, by Sonja Waldherr-Rummel and the warm welcome by the CEO, Dr. Ing. Guido Glania who briefed us on the activities of the Chamber, similar to the work done by IHKs across the world.
  • The commitment towards green energy by scientists and researchers who are developing feul from straw at KIT
  • The phenomenal level of automation on the shop floor of the Daimler Mercedes – Benz factory in Rastatt
  • While electric motors formed the beginnings of the company, the SEW-EURODRIVE name stands for much more than a range of products and services which has grown significantly. Klaus-Peter Schillo, Head of Vocational Training and supported by Dominik Fauth, Vocational Training displayed engineering marvels, space saving technology and automation that will help us in the long run.
  • The principle of “affordability and accessibility” by Ms. Jutta Konning’s on the IKEA story, the world’s largest furniture retailer, that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories.
  • Learning about the intrinsic processes of film making from Guido Lukoschek, the Coordinator of International Relations at the Filmakademie one of the most internationally renowned film schools

These observations and learnings helped us to better identify our prospective areas of work in the overall organizational functions. It helped us enhance our interpersonal and communication skills and made us so much more aware of industry practices and regulations. It provided us with better exposure to industrial and business practices in a progressive economy. Interacting with faculty and students from another counrty gave us a broader insight about how the Indian education system is when it comes to focusing on dual vocational training.

Apart from the interesting company visits, the other important chapters were the people, the delicious food and the places that made the trip so memorable! The visit to the Bruchsal Palace and the Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments made us all go back in time and I’m pretty sure some of us already imagined living in a palace like that! The two most spellbinding days of the trip were the visits to Strassbourg and Baden Baden, and the relaxing Sunday in the Black Forest. The evermore peaceful bliss at St. Petersburg church accompanied by the beautiful scenery was just breathtaking. Black Forest is so much more than cake! It is absolutely magical. Locally known as the Schwarzwald, the region got its name because its forests being so thick the locals called them black. The experience of watching the authentic black forest cake being made and then tasting it was surreal, the taste still lingers on our palates. The day ended with a beautiful dinner at the Hummelswalder Hof, where everyone indulged in some

Maultaschen and Spätzle accompanied with some wine and beer. This was the cherry on the cake. Visiting the “Old-timer meeting” at Baden-Baden, which was by far a very spontaneous visit and was followed by some beer and dancing on the streets in the middle of the night, is not something you do often. Balancing ourselves between tree tops and coming down zip- lines at the Kletterpark was the first time for all of us, even though our legs quivered at every step we took none of us fell, which was quite a relief for everyone! The German students who made it a point to accompany us almost everywhere and ensured that we ate, slept, drank and partied like a German! They made sure that we felt at home and face no trouble whatsoever and when we say, they showed us everything, it includes the places where we could get the best of meals and drink the best German beer!

It dawned on us that the best study trips do not happen by company visits alone, but it is the people and their efforts to leave no stone unturned and ensuring that this was a truly wonderful intercultural experience. During each industrial visit, the company and direction of the passionate DHBW professor made the places come more alive. The smiling, warm and welcoming nature of the people in Karlsruhe, who helped us whenever we needed it, whether on trams or in restaurants or with directions in the city streets made this trip ever more enjoyable.
As the German students told us while they planned a scavenger hunt for us, “You don’t come to Karlsruhe and not do push-up’s on the street and hug strangers!!” soon, we realized that all the preconceived notions we had were just a figment of our imagination and we couldn’t help but respect the natives discipline, cleanliness, freedom, perfection, time management and partying!

These observations and learnings helped us to better identify our prospective areas of work in the overall organizational functions. It helped us enhance our interpersonal and communication skills and made us so much more aware of industry practices and regulations. It provided us with better exposure to industrial and business practices in a progressive economy. Interacting with faculty and students from another counrty gave us a broader insight about how the Indian education system is when it comes to focusing on dual vocational training.

Article contributed by students of IGTC, Mumbai’s PGPBA Batch 2017 – 2019: Keith Matthews