As part of the module “Change Management”, lectured by Prof. Sudnik, an international and interdisciplinary project work with Russian Students or the Polytechnical University of St. Petersburg and Mechanical Engineering Students from the University of Applied Science in Munich was conducted. The three teams were supported by their module’s professors and the SCE center in Munich, an organization from the University of Applied Science Munich, which supports university startups and entrepreneurial projects. The students should develop a new business idea and product and therefor use each other’s skills of their studies to enforce the product. While the Russian students were mostly IT students they would help develop software, the Mechanical Engineers gave their input with prototyping, while the economic students were developing the business models, financing and sales models. The business branch the students should develop new products and ideas for, was the healthcare and hospital sector.
VISITING RUSSIA | визит в Россию
On the center of the project were the exchange visits of the Russian and German students. After the Russians Students visited Munich in April, to firstly make bonds with the German students and further work on the ideas, it was the turn for the German students to make the trip to St. Petersburg in June. While the time before, and in between the visits was used from the different parties to separately work on the ideas with weekly meetings and skype calls, this visit had the finalization and product pitch in front of business experts in focus.
MAKING FRIENDSHIPS | заключить дружбу
Additionally to this project’s advantage of truly utilizing international and interdisciplinary differences to develop a new business idea, with the support of professors and business experts, this exchange had another major ADVANTAGE: Getting to know Russian students and the Russian culture, bonding with them and learning from intercultural differences. Next to working intensively on the projects, the German students were overwhelmed by the extensive leisure program the Russian students had planned for their guests. Walking tours through St. Petersburg, a Barbecue and a Bar-tour were just some of the highlights the Russian students had in plan. It was great to see how easily the welcoming attitude of the Russian turned former solely work-based relationships into friendships.
WORKING ON PROJECTS | работа
Two of the four visiting days were focused on the project work between the teams. In a nice hall of the Russian Polytechnical University, the different teams could work on their ideas, finalize the presentations and exercise their project pitches, they would conduct on the final day in front of the professors and business experts form the healthcare industry. With the valuable input from the professors and startup experts, the students could bring their ideas together and further talk about the future strategy.
PITCHING IDEAS | настоящее время
To conclude the exchange program, the students could present their business ideas and outcomes of the last several months in front of the German and Russian Professors as well as the Russian business experts who worked in the healthcare, insurance and hospital sector. Taking place at the Polytechnical University, the different teams exercised the pitch, and split up the different roles. As more than 50 people and a lot of professionals were present, excitement was apparent, mixed with the joy to finally present the hard work of the last months.
After the presentations, the business experts gave valuable, detailed feedback to the teams what was good about their idea, and what they could improve or in which direction they should go. After the overall positive feedback, the students were relieved to hear that their ideas definitely have potential and should be worked on further.
But what are the key learnings from this module? What additional inputs does this exchange give to this Master program? Being an international Master, this exchange offers students a hands-on opportunity to work with different cultures and disciplines. It showed the students how challenging communication, and working with another country can be. The students learned that by overcoming intercultural differences and boundaries, international projects are a great opportunity to get diverse perspectives and skills and develop business ideas more holistically and quicker than just by using one team of one culture. Furthermore, this exchange demonstrated the BE.Di. students how other countries are developing digital products and how exactly the different point of views could be brought together to engage a stronger entrepreneurial thinking.