MBA students' experiences on the Germany study abroad trip
For the final course in Millikin University’s Master of Business Administration program, students had the opportunity to study abroad for a week in Germany. As the first group cleared to go since the pandemic, the International Immersion trip featured a partnership with a prestigious university, a consulting project with a highly decorated international company and an array of cultural experiences.
Millikin MBA students were given the tools to make the most of their trip long before travel began. Andrew Greta, senior director of SHIELD Illinois and professor, who guided the students on the trip, taught a Globalization course that provided lessons on the differences and similarities among global economies and cultures. Students also had several preparatory meetings in the weeks leading up to the trip that included insights from professors and alumni that had experiences abroad through Millikin.
Travel and Accommodations
Jaclyn Cantwell, interim director of the MBA program, alleviated nearly all of the stress of traveling by arranging the travel and living accommodations. The flights were booked, private hotel rooms reserved and transit to and from various locations prearranged. Breakfast and lunch were provided daily as well as several dinners. The hotel was located in beautiful and historic Koblenz, Germany, which featured a nearly endless amount of things to do, as well as welcoming, English-speaking locals.
Millikin partnered with WHU — Otto Beisheim School of Management, one of Germany’s top private universities. Students enjoyed a short bus ride through beautiful scenery to and from WHU’s campus in nearby Vallendar each day. Cantwell worked closely with Silke Rogge, senior program manager - executive education, to coordinate the week in tandem with Dr. Michael Frenkel, associate dean for international relations and diversity and professor of economics. The program included lectures and insights from four of WHU’s professors as well as a company consulting project. Students were given several opportunities each day to explore Vallendar and visit local shops.
Click through to view photos from the Millikin MBA students, or view them here.
Company Visit and Presentations
Over 99% of German firms are classified as Mittelstand, a difficult-to-translate term that involves aspects such as being family owned or oriented, flexible and innovative, small to medium-sized and valuing culture and longevity. The students were fortunate enough to perform a consulting project for a Mittelstand company in Niederzissen, Dr. Eckel Animal Nutrition GmbH & Co. KG, a leading international supplier of modern feed additives. Following a tour of their modern and impressively clean facilities, students met with the CEO, Dr. Antje Eckel, to learn more about the project. After a couple of days of preparation in teams, the students presented ideas to Dr. Eckel and her executives.
Winery and Free Time
Students had evenings available, early release on Thursday and the entire Saturday for free time and exploration. Dozens of recreational activities were within walking distance of the hotel; students enjoyed local cuisine, German must-haves such as beer and chocolate, shopping, beautiful landscapes, historic sites and much more. On Friday, the students were invited to a wine tasting and farewell dinner at Weingut Weyh, a historic winery in Winningen that has been passed down through generations. While visiting the winery, students were presented “Doing Business in Europe” academic certificates by WHU. On the last day of the trip, most students opted to take a train ride to one of Germany’s largest and oldest cities, Cologne (Köln), which featured beautiful sightseeing, museums and cultural sites as well as one of the world’s tallest cathedrals, Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom). Early the next morning, students were escorted to the Frankfurt Airport to return home after a week of unforgettable experiences.
I never expected to feel so at home while studying abroad. From the welcoming locals to the beautiful scenery, it was an experience I truly never wanted to end. -Zak Jones, MBA '22