Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 3 Munich - TU Munich and IHK

The day started bright and early at 6 a.m. after a night of bonding out on the town with one other. The weather was beautiful and the skies were bright with rain. We set out on our venture 2x2 under the cover of umbrellas to the TU Munich and the SAP conference.

We arrived at the very modern and impressive campus around 9 a.m. and settled in to hear SAP's University Alliance informational program with the many other international higher education representatives. We were privileged to hear from not only a prominent professor of the host university but also from both the Executive VP of Global Head of Solutions and Knowledge of Packaging and a prominent professor and University Alliance consultant from the Copenhagen School of Business. Topics covered included SAP's outreach to prospective university students, SAP's approach to education in the European arena as well as developing countries in Europe and Northern Africa.

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The conference audience was comprised of educators and faculty from SAP's target demographics. It was interesting to see their reaction to the presentation as it was targeted at exciting prospective students vice the needs of their educators. A major difference between the American and European higher learning approaches became very evident. That difference lies in the approach of the institutions. In European institutes, higher education is designed around specific industry needs and standards if not the actual programs and procedures of a specific corporation such as SAP. At the conclusion of the conference, this difference was exaggerated by the response of the attending educators as they asked SAP for definitive guidance in what they should teach their students as well as the material to be used to be provided to them by SAP.

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One thing that was extremely interesting was the parliamentary actions of the audience. By that I mean that when the audience is in agreement with another member, it is customary knock on the table to show your support. So, when we return, if you randomly hear any of us knocking stuff around when you are speaking it's because we think you're spot on, not crazy... well maybe just a bit crazy.

IST Team in the conference:

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After grabbing lunch at the university, it was off to the Munich IHK where we met a very friendly and excited representative named Frank Dollendorf. He was able to spend just under an hour with us explaining the business makeup and environment of Bavaria and Munich with such fervor that I think we all wanted to become honorary Bavarians. Unfortunately, his time with us was cut short as he had to meet with the newly appointed General Consulate of China - as if he were more important than our amazing group of Californians ;-)

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At the same time, we were extremely fortunate to have a special guest speaker to follow Frank. The U.S. International Business Liaison spent another hour of her time with us discussing her experiences  as an international diplomat and her function within the international business arena. It just so happens she too was a Californian! She provided us some great insight into the how the U.S. is working in other countries to promote the spread of international business globally and the recruitment of international businesses to establish themselves in the U.S. and help bring jobs back to the states.

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