IUBH Work Experience Programme: Project experience for an international team

Providing students with the best possible foundation for their future careers – that’s the IUBH goal. Five students of various nationalities were given the opportunity to participate in the IUBH Work Experience Programme in August.

 

The Work Experience Programme is a joint initiative between IUBH and the IMEC Management Institute, designed to offer students from different nations the deepest possible insight into the international working world. Over the four-week duration of the programme, the five participating students underwent one-on-one coaching on how best to handle project work as members of an international team. What they went on to experience and learn surpassed everyone’s expectations.

Project experience at General Electrics

The Work Experience Programme kicked off with an introductory meeting at the headquarters of General Electric (GE) Transportation in Frankfurt. After a brief project introduction by Jan Fischoeder, Head of IUBH Career Service Berlin, the students got acquainted with their project sponsor and mentor Huschke Diekmann, General Manager of GE Transportation. As part of the project, Diekmann visited the students once a week in the IMEC Project LAB in order to help them evaluate various business scenarios, define relevant milestones, and train them on their presentation and negotiating skills.

Intensive discussions and individual business coaching

The first two weeks of the Work Experience Programme featured two of the biggest challenges of any project phase: structuring a highly complex task, as well as assigning the various roles within the international team. In the end, all students were in agreement that this exercise proved much more difficult than expected! Nonetheless, the intensive discussions deriving from these challenges were of great educational value. All participants also benefitted enormously from the individual business training delivered by certified coach, Torsten Netzer.

At the end of the second week, Professor Florian Hummel, Prorector of International Affairs at IUBH, invited the students to an exclusive business lunch to evaluate their progress. To this end, the participants prepared an executive summary and presented the progress of their research. The team’s conclusion was they had “underestimated the complexity of dealing with completely different cultures and methods of working in the context of an international project.” Nonetheless, the students managed to overcome their hurdles and steer the project in a positive direction.

Four weeks packed with research, analysis and learning

In the third week of the project, the team really got down to business, with the task of defining the key elements of the project for the business plan. After an intensive research phase, the students synthesised the final results and integrated them into a business plan structure using Business Model Canvas, a commonly utilised programme for this purpose.

After four weeks of research, analysis and learning, the project team presented their final results to General Manager Huschke Diekmann, followed by a two-hour discussion on the business plan they had developed. The students were thrilled to receive very positive feedback from Diekmann on their project. They were quick to thank their mentor for the experience and the opportunity to work with him.

In conclusion: the Work Experience Programme participants not only took home a certificate of their accomplishment, they also reaped great rewards to their personal development, business project experience, and ability to overcome the challenges of working on an international team. All students considered their group communication dynamics to have been particularly well developed, and the mentoring and business coaching to have been a great success all round.

 

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