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College of Business MBA Program

International Exchange: MBA Students from Wyoming Visit Pforzheim University

University of Wyoming and Pforzheim University MBA students spent a week (October 22 – 30, 2016) touring European companies as part of a collaborative ‘international experience’ sponsored by the two schools.  The sixth annual exchange focused on ‘Challenges of European Companies' and can be read about further here. Students had the opportunity 

MBA Students at Pforzheim University

to hear from and network with company executives from Heizkraftwerk Stadtwerke Pforzheim (SWP), Clariant International Ltd., SBB, SAP, and Vitra.

The international experience is an integral part of the MBA curriculum and part of the second year MBA student’s Capstone Strategy course, taught by Dr. Krista Lewellyn. Prior to departure, students researched each company they would visit, doing an analysis of their business model and key success factors for the company as well as an assessment of opportunities and threats in their macro- and competitive environments. Dr. Lewellyn commented that as a result, “the students were able to ask excellent questions and seemed to be much more like visiting professional consultants than students.”

Lewellyn adds, "An aspect of our trip that is unique compared to those of other MBA programs, is that our students collaborate with other students who are part of Pforzheim University's International MBA program, on a strategic analysis project related to the companies we visit, prior to (virtually) and during the visit. This year's team projects had UW MBA candidates working with MBA students from 8 different countries. The international week activities extend my students' experiences with issues they are likely to encounter in global business settings, while also providing the opportunity for them to develop their own personal competencies of working effectively in multicultural teams."

Dr. Robert Godby has accompanied the MBA students on a number of trips to Pforzheim.  He noted that the experience “serve(s) to enrich the learning experience students get at UW,” because students earn a new appreciation of international business and, for many students, it is their first time out of the United States. Dr. Godby also commented that UW MBA students “never fail to leave a great impression, and each year the trip always seems to impact the students more than they could have possibly imagined it would.”

Students also had the opportunity to participate in two MBA classes with their Pforzheim MBA cohort. Professor Dirk Wentzel spoke in detail about unique challenges associated with business operations in Switzerland, since several of the companies visited were located in that country. Additionally, Professor Rudi Kurz spoke with students about the UN Global Compact and the Principles for Responsible Management (PRME) program, which Pforzheim University is an active participant of.  

Additional trip highlights included a group dinner at Lehner's Wirtshaus, the UNESCO Old Town Stroll, and sight-seeing in Switzerland. 

Overview of Companies Visited:

Heizkraftwerk Stadtwerke Pforzheim (SWP) produces electricity and district heating for the city of Pforzheim in environmentally friendly facilities.  The company has continually developed environmentally and resource-friendly energy generation. With the commissioning of the biomass combined heat and power plant and the use of waste wood as a renewable raw material as fuel, a new milestone was set in 2005. 

Clariant International Ltd is one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies. Clariant contributes to value creation with innovative and sustainable solutions for customers from many industries. Their portfolio is designed to meet very specific needs with as much precision as possible. Their research and development is focused on addressing the key trends of our time. These include energy efficiency, renewable raw materials, emission-free mobility, and conserving finite resources. Their business units are organized into four Business Areas: Care Chemicals, Natural Resources, Catalysis and Plastics & Coatings.

SBB is the largest railway company in Switzerland and handles the majority of national and international traffic. The company is headquartered in Bern. It used to be a government institution, but since 1999 it has been a special stock corporation whose shares are held by the Swiss Confederation. 

SAP is the world leader in enterprise applications in terms of software and software-related service revenue. Based on market capitalization, they are the world’s third largest independent software manufacturer. SAP has 44 years of history and innovation, serves 335,000 customers in 190 countries, employees approximately 82,400 people in over 130 countries, and 87% of Forbes Global 2000 are SAP customers. 

Vitra is a Swiss family-owned company. They make furniture and create retail environments, but also have their own Campus with buildings by leading international architects. With its classics Vitra represents groundbreaking 20th century design. Today, in combining technical and conceptual expertise with the creativity of contemporary designers, Vitra seeks to continue pushing the boundaries of the design discipline. They are developed in Switzerland and installed worldwide by architects, companies and private users to build inspirational spaces for livingworking and shopping as well as public areas.

To learn more about the University of Wyoming/Pforzheim University International Experience contact the MBA Program Office at 

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