Berlin visit puts MBA students in the driving seat

Beginning of walking tour in Berlin

Published on 03 May 2018

Germany’s biggest car makers opened their doors to a group of Sunderland students keen to discover more about their business models.

The visit to BMW and VW, were part of a week’s residential study in Berlin for students on the Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) which is an integral element of their course curriculum, supporting their studies.

The visit began with a tour of the city with the guide delivering a talk which focused on tourism, covering the challenges from disruptive business models and how the industry is responding to consumer demand for experiential tourism.

The group then visited BMW Bikes, which included a guided tour of the manufacturing plant and a talk from the marketing communications team.

Student Brian Muiru, MBA Supply Chain Management, said: “We saw behind the scenes, gaining a true appreciation of scale of the operations and logistics management. It was so interesting to see the focus that BMW has on premium quality and bespoke differentiation at each stage in the process; creating the customer value which we recognise in the BMW brand marketing.”

Student Salem Elhaj, who has an engineering background, added: “It was interesting to see the BMW supply chain management understanding the company’s outsourcing and assembling and how every stage requires components to satisfy individual customers’ needs. I particularly liked the encouragement given to staff who can make improvements and efficiencies within the manufacturing process.”

The group also spent a full day at the VW plant in Wolfsburg, the world’s largest car manufacturing plant, where the Tiguan, Touran and Golf are manufactured. MBA student Sattra Klaiying said: “The factory tour was awesome we witnessed the sheer scale of the technology transfer and innovation involved in the manufacturing processes.”

The students also had a guided tour of the VW Autostadt Park including all the VW brand houses:  Seat, Skoda, Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Speaking of the benefits of students taking part in such study visits, Karen Wharton, Programme Leader MBA Faculty of Business Law and Tourism, explained: “Experiences like this enrich and enhance the students’ academic studies, which they are able to put into practise as they embark on their own careers. Our aim is to accelerate progress towards well-paid positions of leadership these study visits provide a great platform to do this.”

She added: “Another major benefit of the study visit is cultural enrichment, students experience a capital city and also integrate with each other outside of the usual classroom setting.”