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German MBA Students Wrap Up Eye-opening Week In Wilmington

By Jenny Callison, posted Apr 20, 2012
German and American MBA students confer on a case study. Photo: Lara Schuhmann

A group of Executive MBA students from Germany have immersed themselves in American business culture, both in and outside the classroom this week. The 14 students from Hochschule Bremen (the University of Applied Sciences Bremen) have spent the past week with Professional MBA students at UNCW’s Cameron School of Business.

The study visit was arranged by Dr. Vince Howe, director of Cameron School's Professional MBA Program, and Dr. Rebecca Porterfield, director of the school's international programs.

The Germans’ focus is on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, said Dr. Howe. Their weeklong certificate program has included lectures, visits to GE-Hitachi, PPD and UNCW's Center for Marine Sciences as well as case discussions held jointly with the Cameron School students.

Hochschule Bremen requires this international immersion experience as part of its three-year EMBA program.

Speakers at each host company discussed the importance of sustainable innovation and CSR to their organizational effectiveness and bottom line. Klaus Michels, Fugro OSAE GmbH, found that the company visits to PPD, GE-Hitachi and UNCW's Center for Marine Science, "provided an insight into the American business approach that we could not receive in the classroom".

Case discussions with Cameron MBA students on CSR and sustainability led to discussions on the importance of the triple-bottom line to organizations and the different approaches U.S. and European companies take to CSR.   Carsten Borchers, Daimler AG, found the Cameron School’s  case discussion approach an "entertaining" way of analyzing managerial issues and decisions that "pulls you into a knife-sharp analysis of the discussed cases"  and a preferable learning method to "leaning back and just listening" to lectures.

All the Germans commented on the friendliness of the Wilmington people that they met, from the staff at the Blockade Runner to people on the street and especially to restaurant staff. 

Gudrum Zimmerling, MD – Orthopedics, who wants to use her MBA in health care management, said she would love to come back to Wilmington to intern at Cape Fear Hospital and continue the learning process. 

“She also found the classes with our Professional MBA students a ‘great opportunity’ to discuss different ways organizations embrace corporate social responsibility to improve their ‘triple-bottom line,’” said Howe.

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