Quick and easy – please describe your DTE courses in three hashtags!
Prof. Sudnik: #Aspiration #Application #Acceleration
Today you are offering knowledge and advice to students, but also you had to acquire your skills somewhere. Can you tell us a little about your life before Hochschule München?
Prof. Sudnik: I am enjoying a second career in tertiary education following on from my earlier successes in senior international leadership posts with textile and packaging companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. and Tetra Pak. With these companies I lived, and was responsible for business, in a number of international locations in both Asia and Europe, most notably in Hong Kong, Greece and Poland. In addition to my doctorate I hold an MBA degree from Manchester Business School, UK, a practitioner qualification (I am also a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors, London), and a recently completed MSc degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Leicester, UK.
One of the greatest entrepreneurs in history, Henry Ford, once said ‘Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.’ Especially students of entrepreneurship need to incorporate this attitude. Would you make the first step by sharing with us a failure you experienced during your professional or academic career and your learnings from it?
Prof. Sudnik: I do not recall any failures worth recounting and have instead been inspired by Churchill’s speech to the boys of his former school at Harrow. On 29th October 1941 he told them:
In which areas of studies do you consider yourself an expert?
Prof. Sudnik: What is an ‘expert’ anyway? I don’t view learning from that perspective. I do not have a ‘sage on the stage’ approach to education and learning.
Rather I see the members of any class group as a learning community. Learning in such a community best takes place in an atmosphere in which instructor and the students treat each other with mutual respect. So my ‘expertise’ is rather as ‘guide by your side’ rather than a particular subject expertise.
If today you were given access to research funds for one specific subject area – which area would you allocate the funds to?
Prof. Sudnik: I am currently leading an Erasmus Plus research project in Kosovo with a budget of over one million Euros.
I have been involved in business, education and research in the Balkans since the early 1980s and I know that the region is crucial for peace and prosperity in Europe. Research funds properly spent there deliver value in many different ways – so the money you promise me would be spent there.
As a start, would this subject area be eligible for a Master thesis? What could be specific thesis topics?
Prof. Sudnik: Absolutely – contributions to an anthropology of business in post-conflict environments is an excellent grounding for students wishing to build careers in an ever tougher global business environment.
Why should Master students of DTE choose to write their Master thesis in your area of studies?
Prof. Sudnik: I take a very Anglo-Saxon approach to dissertation writing so lots of tough love. And because your supervisor can greatly enhance your dissertation experience or alternatively can make your life hell, choosing a supervisor is crucial.
Be as circumspect about this choice as you would be when choosing a marriage partner. But keep in mind that this relationship means more to you than it does to your supervisor! So be prepared to shed blood, sweat and tears.
If that is what you want – then my room is LO322….
Are you involved in additional activities the students of DTE could benefit from?
Prof. Sudnik: I have for many years had a very close relationship with Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University in Russia where I also have a Visiting Professorship and we are currently trying to transpose benefits from that into the programme in terms of joint project work and student exchange. I think this link can blosom into one of the most beneficial aspects of BEDTM.
Our Master program has a focus on Digital Technologies. Which impacts of digitalization on business organizations do you observe regarding your fields of expertise?
Prof. Sudnik: When I started teaching in Universities almost 10 years ago people took notes with pen and paper. Now, as they incesantly gaze into the screen of their mobile device, I do not know if they are really taking notes or Facebooking with their significant other. This has huge implications for communication in the classroom and for learning etiquette. It raises the question of whether the ‘live’ instructor is necessary, or even wanted, any more and opens a huge discussion about MOOCs and the digitalisation of the classroom generally.
Bachelor graduates have the choice between more than 1200 Master programs in the field of economic sciences in Germany. In your eyes, what makes the Master program BEDTM stand out?
Prof. Sudnik: Me
You are not only an expert in your fields of studies, but you have also got to know Munich quite well. Why should students come to Munich for their Masters?
Prof. Sudnik: For the official version go to Study in Munich.
Unofficially, it is an easy (but expensive) city to live in where the public transport works well. It is brilliantly located with easy access to other European cities or to local mountains and lakes. With many large companies based in Bavaria, the city has a very international feel to it.
Can you share an insider’s tip for spending your leisure time in Munich?
Prof. Sudnik: Don’t expect to watch Bayern Munich play at home too often – tickets are tough to get, but go and see the real Munich team (TSV 1860) who play at the same stadium on alternate weeks. It is a far more emotionally satisfying experience since it is never clear that they are going to win and games are therefore more exciting.
Thanks again Prof. Sudnik for taking the time to share these valuable insights with the study-entrepreneurship readers. If you would like to learn more about Prof. Sudnik’s ‘learning community’ classes, be sure to check out the exciting projects he runs with the Master students of DTE!
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