Germany’s strong innovation has seen it become a global leader in a range of fields, just the reason why CUHK students were so eager to see the secrets of the country’s success in person. In tech and entrepreneurship, students had the chance to learn more about Germany’s “Hidden Champions” – small companies that are silently successful and transforming the global economy.
It all happened during a field trip to see how the digitalisation of the manufacturing sector and automation, known as “industry 4.0”, is changing the world. Led by Professor Dominic Chan, a group of 37 MBA Students set off on a 5-day trip to Berlin in June to understand how the leaders of German industry continue to develop their businesses into global champions.
“It was a well-organised study trip, enabling us to dive deep into the different aspects of the German culture, history, economy and industry. The curriculum is scientifically and logically arranged. The visit to the Mercedes Benz plant was very inspiring whereas the group project encouraged our creativity and group spirit as well as encompassing plenty of challenge and excitement” Fancy Fang (Part-Time, Class of 2020).
A number of lectures were delivered by different speakers to give students comprehensive views ranging from the overview of the German economy, the Berlin start-up scene, and strategies of German manufacturers. This goes all the way to an overview of Industry 4.0, with case studies showing how artificial intelligence forms the basis of new development.
Apart from the lectures, highlights of the trip were the visit to Mercedes Benz Plant to understand its move to Industry 4.0 and a group project for which students are divided into groups to present recommendations to real local brands on developing their smart manufacturing capabilities. The result was plenty of discussion and interaction as students were challenged by both judges and classmates alike.
“We learnt not only from the scholars at ESMT, but also the insights and real-life examples from other professors from other top universities in Germany. The visit to Mercedes-Benz aiming to understand its move to Industrial 4.0 was eye-opening. We were given the opportunities to provide innovative solutions to some existing hidden champions. The study trip ended with exciting pitches to sell our ideas. We got all the worthy insights and had lots of fun!” – Liz Wang, (Part-Time, Year 2, Class of 2019)