This week, I, along with four other Kelley Direct students have had the opportunity to travel to Heilbronn, Germany to study at the German Graduate School of Management and Law. The goal for this week is to learn about what makes the small to mid-sized enterprises in Germany (referred to as Mittelstand companies) market-leaders in their niche markets. They play a vital role in Germany’s economy, and we have been learning many ways to transfer their successes to businesses back home.
The five of us from Kelley Direct are pleased to be joined by a wonderful group of fellow MBA students from around the world. This includes several students from Leeds University in England, and two students earning their MBA at our host school. In addition to residents of the United States, England, and Germany, there are students here from India, Taiwan, China, Japan, and Switzerland. This past Sunday evening, the day before class started, we had the pleasure of meeting many of our fellow classmates and instructors over beer and typical German food in a restaurant attached to our academic building. This proved to be an excellent opportunity to get to know each other, and begin the week with a sense of camaraderie.
Each day we have had the opportunity to learn about doing business in Germany from some of the most qualified professors in Germany on the subject, in addition to hearing from executives of the companies described in our textbook. We have visited three different corporations of varying sizes, and along with a tour, were able to hear directly from their management about how to succeed in the business world while operating within both Europe and the global marketplace. In addition to these excursions, each night we have been taken out to dinner by the director of this summer program, Prof. Markus Vodosek, to many different local eateries. They have included biergartens, wineries, and even a dinner on the grounds of a castle. Every day has been filled with informative lectures, in-person visits to companies, and more food than any one person should eat. While I’ve enjoyed the past week, I look forward to the next few days, which is scheduled to include a winery tour and a cultural visit to the city of Stuttgart.