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1 Nr 6. / Autumn 2011 TheSextant The Sextant is atwice-yearly publication produced by the International Office of the School of Business of the FHNW (University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland). People, projects and programmes with an international aspect related to the School of Business are the focus. It does not reflect the opinions of the School of Business, the FHNW or any other organisation. Page 1+2 Dual Degree a Privilege and very Enriching Page 3 Focus Interview: Olga Strakhova Olga Schibli Page 4 Partner Profiles Page 5 News Page 6 Who s Where Page 7 Continuation Who s Where Page 8 A Day in the Life of Robel Ghebressilasie 1 Dual Degree Master Students Experiences in Camerino and Cambridge Dual Master Degree a Privilege and extremly Enriching FHNW students currently in Camerino (from left to right): Mathias Stalder, Lawrence Lafranchi, Almudena Lavilla, Alexander Gräflin Since their inception in 2008, the two consecutive, English-taught Master degree programmes at the FHNW School of Business have attracted just under 300 students. Of these, 64 opted for the dual degree mode: eight MSc in Business Information Systems students chose to study for a semester at Camerino University (Italy) and five Camerino students came to Switzerland. And in the MSc International Management programme, 36 home students chose to do a semester in Cambridge at Anglia Ruskin University and 15 selected the dual degree mode and came here. The attractions of doing the dual degree are manifold, students and deans agree. Three students who chose this path, and are currently at various stages, voice no regrets even though the option added one semester to the 90 ECTS programme and involved considerable organisation or relinquishment regarding accommodation, jobs or finances. Simon Brander (MSc BIS) graduated, at both universities, earlier this year and now works for a Zurich consulting company. Muriel Meidinger (MSc IM) returned from Cambridge this summer and is currently completing her thesis. Almudena Lavilla (Msc BIS) started her Camerino semester this autumn. Muriel Meidinger Clear from the start For all three students it was clear, even before their studies began, that they wished to do the Masters degree with the dual degree option. I d graduated in computer engineering from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and knew I wished to add on a Masters somewhere abroad, preferably in Germany or Switzerland as I was interested in the German language, says Almudena. So I found about five different programmes and although the dual degree option here wasn t the deciding factor, it did play a role in my selecting the FHNW. Adding on a semester in yet another country was definitely appealing. The attraction of gaining further international experience was also a key factor for Muriel. I ve travelled a lot and my Mum s from Ghana, so I m very international and from the beginning I knew I wanted to go to Cambridge as well. For me it was also a great plus to be able to experience what the teaching is like at an academic university. I did my Bachelor at the FHNW in Basel and think the practice-oriented approach is best for me, but I still wanted to gain insight into how an academic university works, Muriel reports. This aspect, to experience an academic university, was also a main motivator for Simon. The Master started up just as I d finished my Bachelor at the FHNW and I also then worked as a research assistant there, so the timing was good, says Simon. I d done a semester abroad, in Ireland, and originally the dual degree partner was a consortium which included an option in Ireland. That cooperation didn t work out but thanks to an incredible amount of effort on the part of our dean, Camerino became the partner and I made a very quick decision. I was curious to gain a degree also from an academic university. As I m interested in working abroad in the future, I figured that employers overseas might not know Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences and therefore a degree from an academic university would be added value. With the decision made, all three found that organising their semester away was not as difficult as anticipated. Both Simon and Muriel had jobs. Simon received immediate support from his FHNW employer, but Muriel had to resign. However, while she was in Cambridge, she applied for an internship at a Swiss company where she started after returning with the added bonus that this employer set her a thesis topic. Accommodation challenges were few. Two of the students had to give up their accommodation in Switzerland and Almudena faced the Continued on Page 2

2 2 Muriel with mostly other FHNW students in Cambridge (from left to right): v.l.n.r. Marco Todaro, Christoph Sax, Henrik Åström-Larsson, Muriel Meidinger, Dominik Frei, Helena Schmuck, Nicole Stöckli, Fabio Tommasini problem of having to move all her worldly goods to Italy as she had nowhere to store her belongings for the interim. Camerino offered campus accommodation and Anglia Ruskin offered considerable support in finding a nearby flat. Muriel found the accommodation relatively costly ( the UK is not cheap ) and both Almudena and Simon faced recurring problems with internet reception at their Italian campus digs. However, such issues, they report, are more than compensated for by the support, helpfulness and camaraderie provided by both the university administration and fellow students. Teaching was interesting but very different In Cambridge there was more teaching and learning content. Most classes were fairly small and the teaching was very interesting but very different. We re used to more practical input, in Cambridge there was a lot more interactive class content, Muriel recalls. Some lessons were not at our level but that is also because many of the other students did not have our background in management subjects. And there was a lot more writing. There were no exams, everything was assignment based. Both Almudena and Simon had a similar perception of the teaching in Camerino. The contents of lessons are far more technical and scientific but not necessarily, reports Simon, more difficult. We quite often had projects and this was very good. As well, classes were quite small so we had a lot of individual attention from lecturers. Almudena adds that the cultural differences are also noticeable. The teachers are very open and they get far more involved with us, also at a social level. The red tape in both Italy and England amused the students. There were so many forms to fill in and for instance we had to have a health check, very complicated, after we d been there 3 months already to check if we had contagious diseases, smiles Simon. Almudena reports that as there are four dual degree students from Switzerland, they make all the bureaucratic rounds together and have fun while going from office to office. All three students were impressed by how good the support was at the universities. They were really helpful, says Simon. It was my first time living outside of Switzerland so everything was new to me. Supporting Simon, the pioneering dual degree programme student, included Camerino organising a special individual graduation for him. I was the only student but they put on an entire show. There were flowers, a presentation from the Director there, Knut [Dean of MSc BIS at the FHNW-ed] came and they all put on gowns. It was very special. I would do it again For Muriel a key advantage of the Cambridge semester was the real intercultural working experience. When you actually live abroad and work with students and others, then the intercultural dimension becomes real. You have to adapt and overcome, she says. For instance, I was in a group with three students from India working on accounting systems in Cuba. We had to overcome language and cultural barriers and our different ways of working. And this kind of experience is what I feel gives me an added advantage when I enter the job market. I applied for a job when still in Cambridge and they were excited about and very interested in my semester here. And gave me the job. Simon s experience when he started looking for a job after graduating was similar. It was interesting for employers if not the main aspect. What surprised me is that both companies I applied to were not that concerned whether I had a Bachelor or a Master but they did say that having a dual Master would be worth it at a later stage and offer more opportunities. Almudena expects that her very international education, across three different countries, will make her an attractive candidate for employers. Companies appreciate a track record of being able to adapt well to new environments. Especially now that companies are so international they appreciate it if they can actually move you and know you can interact with different people, she explains. The students are also agreed that gaining insight into teaching at an academic university was interesting but are unanimous in the advantage of doing the main learning at a University of Applied Sciences. The FHNW really can be proud of its internationality and its teaching standards, says Simon. The main advantage, for all of them, seems to have been personal growth and enrichment. Managing to live and study in a different culture, mastering language and cultural challenges, and making new friends are the highlights they report. The really really good thing was that I made an incredible friend, says Simon. My roommate was from Iceland and even now we are still in touch and have even visited him. The whole experience was incredible and I would do it again. It s such a privilege being able to do the dual degree. I m a full-time student and so it was possible for me; for many part-timers it s not practicable. I m so grateful to Knut that he made this possible he s put so much energy into this and because of it students have this enriching opportunity, says Almudena. Brigitte Sprenger Camerino University held a full graduation ceremony esepcially for Simon (from left to right): Luca Tesei, Simon Brander, Flavio Corradini, Knut Hinkelmann, Fulvio Esposito, Emanuela Merelli. The Deans Perspective Prof Dr Knut Hinkelmann, Dean MSc BIS, agrees that personal enrichment, experiencing a more academic approach and improving your CV are advantages of doing the Master as a dual degree but he sees other important aspects as well. Students have to be more autonomous and self-responsible when they go to Camerino. In my opinion it is an asset for the students to experience a different style and culture. Although the culture of Italy is much closer to ours than for example China or Vietnam, the students might experience some differences in the treatment of students and the flexibility to handle things. Another aspect is that the University of Camerino has different competence areas. It is a more technically oriented department and thus there is a different kind of thinking and problem solving - more from the technical and mathematical point of view. This broadens the view of the students. And this is what justifies that they get an additional degree. Prof Dr Thomas Bürgi, Dean MSc IM, emphasizes the value of the cross-learning experience of Dual Degree students going abroad from Basel to Cambridge or the other way round. He is convinced that experiencing British university as well as British company culture first-hand provides FHNW students with new insights into the open and hidden parts of Anglo-Saxon management. Our multicultural community of learning in Switzerland encompasses more than thirty nationalities. You could say that we are proudly Swiss, but truly international. We are doing it the Swiss way, though, organising classes more often than not in a detail-driven way, having students work in groups and present a lot to their colleagues. British tuition is very much different from that, reducing face to face teaching to the max and having students write assignments individually. This is very much complimentary to our teaching style. An important added value for our students is the second degree they are awarded a Master of Arts in International Business. The Sextant _ Nr 6. / Autumn 2011

3 TheSextant Nr 6. / Autumn 2011 Focus Interview: The Two Olgas Swiss-Russian Programmes strengthen competitiveness and innovation in Russian businesses and organisations In 2009 the FHNW School of Business and the St Petersburg State University embarked on a cooperation which to date includes an Executive Master in International Human Resource Management, several short-term training programmes for Russian executives and a significant contribution to the book Negotiating in an International Environment published by the FHNW School of Business. Among the main drivers of this cooperation are two Olgas, one in Russia and one, of Russian descent, in Switzerland: Prof Dr Olga Strakova, Director of the Business Learning Centre at the St Petersburg State University for Engineering and Economics and Olga Schibli, executive assistant and coordinator of Russian cooperations at the FHNW School of Business Olga Strakhova What motivates Russian participants to join the joint EMBA in International Human Resource Management, or the other executive programmes? Olga Strakhova: The basic motives are that these programmes eliminate cross-cultural barriers in exchanging experience on business dealings and lets Russian participants receive positive practical insights such as the Swiss have. Swiss innovation in business is not always easily realised in Russia but once the participants gain insight into, for instance, the Swiss way of controlling business it enables them to strengthen their competitive positions and create an absolutely new type of doing business here in Russia. The programme offers akey advantage in its practical orientation. The students therefore not only expand their individual potential, but also that of the organisation they are in or the business they are starting up. Akey feature of the EMBA is that participants conduct their theses on atopic within the organisation they work in. This is not standard in Russia, only the very best programmes do this. The Russian student considers the key advantages of joining arussian-swiss programme the reception of quality education at aeuropean standard, establishing international contacts and gaining new perspectives on management theories. Swiss education is very prestigious here. President Medvedev said in Davos this year that foreign credentials will now be recognised in Russia does this impact your programme? Olga Strakhova: For the Russian people the president s opinion is very important and this particular decision will raise the prestigiousness and competitiveness of our Russian-Swiss cooperations. This state policy will simplify the problems of marketing such programmes and offer new perspectives. There will be more demand for managers with Western management competences. Olga Schibli What have been the challenges in setting up these cooperations? Olga Strakhova: Language barriers can significantly impact cooperation. However, most Russian students and businessmen do know at least one foreign language and this is English [The teaching is done by both Russian and Swiss lecturers in English ed. ]. However, we do not have much practice in oral English. But this is a problem which, as the course progresses, diminishes. Another challenge can be the administration and bureaucracy here. There are many administrative obstacles in the development of an international education programme and it requires alot of motivation and expert knowledge to conquer these. What Ifound extremely interesting and challenging in this context was our collaboration in writing about international negotiations, our analysis of this international project. Itwas very, very interesting and significantly contributed to the development of our programme. Olga Schibli: The standard of education between the two countries is very similar but the focus is quite different. In Switzerland there s anarrow specialisation and application of theory into practice. Russia teaches theory including general courses in philosophy or culture without practical applications. An interesting example of this was during the 3days of Health Management Executive Course for highly qualified health executives in Switzerland this year. Obviously there was alot of professional input and visits to such as the Kantonspital Olten, Hirslanden Clinic Aarau and the Tropical Institute in Basel. During the Summer School which is apart of EMBA HRM Programme, we take our students to enterprises where they see how the theory they were taught is implemented into practice. The Russian participants ask endless questions about the history of Switzerland, of Olten, about daily life or organisations. They would ask when was this city, building, institute, etc. built, by who and why they wished to know the historical and political background of everything as well as wanting to know how it was managed today. In other words as ahost you have to be ready to meet all these questions and be able to answer them! Everyone they met here is invited to Russia -this is the next challenging step for us -toorganize apilot visit for Swiss executives to Russia. The largest issue and barrier here is of course finances. To start anew programme is very difficult, but we found away to cooperate and how we have few partners in Russia -two largest State Universities and the Association of Health Managers of Russia. For 2012 we plan anew EMBA in Finance and Banking, and few customized short term courses focussed on HR, Health Management and of course abusiness trip to Russia. Dr Yaroslav Kuzminov, the rector of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow has said that main challenges in Russian tertiary education is the continued emphasis on narrow training of specialists, under-financing and amarket demand for more technical/vocational training. Do you agree? Olga Strakhova: Idoagree but Ithink programmes like ours indicate that this is changing. Ithink soon there will be ashift and we can expect that 80% of students will graduate with a more technical or practice-oriented education. Olga Schibli: This reflects our experience with the EMBA HRM Summer School and Health Management Executive Course. An example: medical procedures of Switzerland done by nurses or general medical staff. The interesting point for Swiss and Russian participants was the organisation of processes and legal issues on that. Equipment which in Switzerland is operated by specially trained nurses or medical personnel is steered in Russia by highly qualified doctors or child vaccination is obligatory in Russia but not here. So the knowledge exchange between executives of both countries in mutually beneficient. What future developments do you anticipate or aim for within the framework of your cooperations? Olga Strakhova: In my opinion there will be an increase in demand for programmes in the hightech areas of business where knowledge of technology to create innovative products needs to be supported with business knowledge and administrative skills. Isee the increased demand for scientific and practical marketing research in the field of medicine, technology and computer innovations which require support and management in such areas as business innovation, marketing, management of key organisational processes. Human resources is also key in the strategic development of such business. So Ithink, using our approach with its practice-orientation, there will be even more demand for programmes such as ours in the future. Olga Schibli: Increase in demand for EMBA programmes and an increase of entrepreneurial activity. Many Russians seek our expertise as consultants. Brigitte Sprenger 1 The EMBA is an 18-month part-time programme, with acurriculum designed by both St Petersburg and the Institute of Human Resource Management of the FHNW School of Business. In charge of the programme at the Swiss end is Prof Dr Jürg Marx. 2 In Negotiating in an International Environment; Eight Perspectives for Business Practitioners (ed. Ruedi Nützi, 2011, FHNW School of Business) the chapter on Russia was authored by 3Olgas not only Prof Dr Olga Strakhova and Olga Schibli but Olga Shvetsova, a post-graduate student in Economics in St Petersburg, as well. 3

4 Partner Profiles The School of Business cooperates with 130 universities around the world. Afull list is on Each issue of The Sextant profiles half adozen of these partners. University of Northern British Columbia Prince George, BC, Canada Where Main campus located in the largest city in northern British Columbia, Prince George (pop.: 76,000) approx. 780 km north of Vancouver (multiple daily flights to Vancouver on Air Canada). Size 4,183 students of which around 3,500 are undergraduates and 350 international students Study Fields UNBC offers more than 60 academic programs leading to certificates, diplomas, and degrees. Undergraduate programmes in International Studies, Political Science, Computer Science, Environmental Science among others, as well as various joint programmes. BA s in Economics and Commerce with majors in Accounting, Finance, Human Resources, International Business and Marketing. Campus The campus sits on about 550 hectares of university property; trails from the campus connect to a network of nearly 50km of hiking, biking, and skiing trails. Cafeteria, winter garden, library, bookstore, sport centre, laboratories, childcare centre and two student residences are on campus. Website University of Latvia Where Located in Riga (pop.: 750,000), situated on the Baltic Sea coast, on the mouth of the River Daugava Size 25,000 students Study Fields The university offers a wide range of courses in English in the fields of Economics and Management, Humanities, Social Sciences, Geography and Earth Science, Psychology and Art. A Baltic study programme is also offered to exchange students. Campus 13 faculties (Biology, Chemistry, Economics and Management, Education and Psychology, Geography and Earth Sciences, History and Philosophy, Law, Medicine, Modern Languages, Philology, Physics and Mathematics, Social Sciences, and Theology). Libraries, research facilities, study centers, a language school, and a career centre. The University of Latvia s main library is the biggest university library in Latvia. Accommodation is available in a student dormitory off-campus. Website Universidad San Francisco de Quito Where Main campus is located in Cumbayá (2,400 meters above sea level), around 15km away from Quito (pop.: 2Mill.). USFQ is the only university in the world that owns acampus in the Galapagos Islands and acampus in the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve (Tiputini Biodiversity Station). Size 5,500 students of which around 1,000 are international students Study Fields Programmes in International Relations, Environmental Communication, Organizational Communication and Public Relations, Advertising, Human Resources among others. BA s in Business Administration, Hospitality Management, Economics, Finance and Marketing. Campus Private university with modern library, bookstore, education and research laboratories, seven themed restaurants, dental and medical clinic. The university provides accommodation with local host families. Website USFQ.aspx 4 University of West Florida, Pensacola Where Main campus located in Pensacola (pop.: 53,000), sea port on Pensacola Bay and westernmost city in the state of Florida. Size 11,600 students of which 9,900 are undergraduate students Study Fields Most popular majors include psychology, communication arts, biology, especially marine biology, computer science, teacher education and all programmes from the College of Business. BA s in Business, Accounting, Economics, Management and Marketing Campus 1,600-acre campus including anature/ wildlife sanctuary and more than 30 km of running/hiking/biking trails. Olympic-sized pool, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities. Many student residences on campus Website Hanyang University, Korea Where Main campus located in Seoul (pop.: 10.5 Mill. in the city; over 25 Mill. in the metropolitan area) and branch campus ERICA located in the city of Ansan (pop.: 700,000), approx. 1 hour away by train from Seoul. Size 35,000 students Study Fields Very strong in the field of engineering. Programmes in Information Systems, Computer Science, Humanities, Political Science and more. BA s in Finance and Business Administration in Seoul; BA s in Economics and Business Administration on ERICA campus. Campus Private university with the largest indoor college sport facilities in Korea, training courts, libraries, PC rooms, language institute, broadcasting stations, subway station and residence halls on both campuses. Website Fachhochschule Wien, Austria Where Located in the center of the capital city of Vienna (pop.: 2Mill.). Size 2,400 students; approx. 70 exchange students per semester Study Fields 16 bachelor s and master s degree programmes in the fields of Finance, Accounting, Real Estate, Journalism & Media Management, Corporate Communication, Marketing & Sales, Human Resources & Knowledge Management, Tourism and Management & Entrepreneurship. Courses in English offered in the fields of International and cross-cultural management. Campus All eight institutes of the FHWien University of Applied Sciences of WKW are united under the roof of the newly built 8,500 square meter campus. Accommodation is available in the many student dormitories across Vienna. Website The Sextant _ Nr 6. / Autumn 2011

5 TheSextant Nr 6. / Autumn 2011 EMBA focussing on Brand Management planned to kick off Spring 2012 in Beijing A new Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) focused on brand management is to be launched in Beijing by the FHNW School of Business in March Project Manager Prof Dr Xinhua Wittmann expects afirst cohort of 25 people to start on the 18-month degree course. This executive degree programme is entirely new for an emerging market. Chinese firms have shifted their strategies from made in China to Created in China and therefore the management skills and mindset required for building up abrand has to be delivered, Prof. Wittmann explained. So this is a direct response to market need with our offering an EMBA which specialises in brand management. In Brief Continuing and Executive Training Courses: The FHNW School of Business has optimised its information events for continuing and exectuive training and courses. The newly formatted events, which integrate information on all the courses and workshops in the various disciplines are held in turn at the three campuses where those interested can, over a glass of wine, attend recurring blocks of general information and then seek out the individual course managers for further information. The next event is on 15 November, from For further information go to (in German) The programme, entirely designed by the FHNW School of Business, is a cooperation with its partner the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). The BFSU will recruit and market the programme and is also involved in the teaching. The participants will kick off with three months of intensive study in Switzerland and will then return to China to complete some other courses but especially to work on their theses under Swiss supervision. The degree programme will deliver modules in three stages. Stage I: Management, Organisation, Finance, Economics & Law, International Management, Brand Management; Stage II: Case study in strategy and marketing, project Management; Stage III: Master thesis. International Business Summer School in Basel: In summer the FHNW School of Business launches its first Summer School. The two-week programme (6 ECTS), entitled Swissness in Action: Moving Goods and People, is open to Swiss and international Bachelor students. Taught entirely in English, participants attend courses, visit companies, discover local culture and establish networks with people from Switzerland and around the world from 29 July 2012 to 11 August Registration closes 30 April For further information: ch/business/degree-courses/summer-schools/ summer-schools Campus Olten: Building Shell Completed Students and staff, on their daily to and fro between the railway station and the FHNW School of Business in Olten, walk past the completed building shell of the new campus. From the outside, it looks close to completion but it will still be nearly two years before the big move. With a panorama across Olten and its sleeping giant hills, the roof (above) of the new campus has aseries of windows which let light flood into the various atriums (below). Under there are series of photos documenting building progress. (Photos: Michele Canonico) IM Alumni Association Launched Contemporaneously with the 10 year anniversary of the pioneering BSc in Business Administration (International Management) programme, the IM Alumni association was founded on 29 September. The association is for all alumni of the Bachelor IM, the Master IM and exchange students who spent a semester or two in either of these programmes. The main aims of IM Alumni are to connect and support its members. To remove barriers the founding members decided to waive membership fees. Alumni will be contacted and invited to join over the coming months (see below). President of IM Alumni, Florian Estoppey appealed to especially alumni of the first 3-4 years to get in touch if not approached. Several activities and events are in the pipeline: a kick-off event is planned for spring 2012 and regular smaller events and linking with FHNW School of Business and studentscouncil activities or events are also on the agenda. Students from earlier years set up their own alumni which worked very well for a few years but inevitably, as their lives moved into new phases, contact with their alma mater dwindled, said Prof Antje Leukens, Dean of the Bachelor programme. As well, the character of the programme has evolved. After 3 years the annual intake had risen to an extent where parallel classes were established and the contact and interaction between years and classes changed. The IM Alumni will enable former students not only to get in touch with classmates of old, but also establish links with students from other years. The Bachelor in International Management (later renamed BSc in Business Administration/International Management) started in 1999 and was the first Bachelor programme taught entirely in English in Switzerland and kick-started internationalisation at the FHNW School of Business. Next September will see the tenth anniversary of the first IM graduation. The programme formed the foundation for the successful partnership with over 130 universities around the world for student exchanges and numerous joint activities and programmes as well as, years later, the establishment of the consecutive Master in International Management. The IM Alumni can therefore expect members from a pool of over 1000 alumni (including former visiting students). The founding members are: Florian Estoppey (president), Firat Aslan (administration), Robel Ghebressilasie, Sebastiano Mereu (communication), Stefan Stöckli (finances), Antje Leukens, Brigitte Sprenger. Are you an alumna or alumnus?: Sign up under or join the IM Alumni Linkedin group. News item from Central Queensland University: Some of the European students who took part in the recent Going Home ceremony on Rockhampton Campus L-R Anders Christoffersen (Norway), Malin Ekblom (Sweden), Matti Von Leliwa (Germany), Elina Mattiasson (Sweden), Sabine Stucki (Switzerland) and Bianca Gockel (Germany) Cap College farewells its European Union CQUniversity s own version of the European Union will reluctantly split up and head back to their home countries soon, after a term as exchange students on Rockhampton Campus... The students from Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden say they were all in the same boat when they arrived and were grateful to be housed together on Capricornia College among international students, who could understand their perspective as newbies. 5

6 Who s Where? Jill Brajkovich I m here on an exchange from the University of Canberra where I m doing a5-year double degree in Law and the Arts. But I m enjoying it so much that I m seriously considering staying on for another semester. Ilove travelling and in Europe it is so easy to get around and see many different places. Before Iarrived here Ispent two months travelling around Europe and especially went to stay with my father s family in Croatia. I ve been invited now by some of the other exchange students here, from Spain and from The Netherlands, to visit them. Ihad been abroad before when I d done a 3-month exchange to Chicago during my secondary school. And there Ibecame acquainted with the idea of going away from home to study. That s why Ienrolled in Canberra because actually I m from Sydney. When Icame to the point of wanting to do asemester abroad I selected Switzerland because I d once been here very quickly, especially to Lucerne and it was just so beautiful. Ifigured that Switzerland is pretty international and that the language barriers would not be that high. And I m finding this to be true. Most people here speak English. Also, people had warned me that the Swiss might be abit cold or distant but I ve not found this. They are very helpful and friendly. It s also really good to have the Tutoring Team and the buddy system here, there s no time to get homesick. The only thing Ireally miss is my friends, especially my fellow students back home Imiss all the law jokes. Oh, and of course Imiss Vegemite. Getting used to the colder weather is achallenge and also that the shops are closed on Sundays is strange. The train system here is amazing though. If atrain in Australia is supposed to leave at 8itmight well be twenty past 8 before it departs. Igot quite excited the other day though when aswiss train was five minutes late that was news! Marcel Bachmann I m an International Management Bachelor student doing my ERASMUS exchange semester here in Bilbao, Spain. Bilbao is the biggest city of the Basque Country which borders with France and the famous Rioja region. It s acity that isn t very touristic and therefore not well known in Switzerland and other countries. The whole city is very green, hilly and surrounded by water (rivers in the city, the sea nearby). Specialities here are Pintxos (like tapas but unique from the north, very stylish) and several typical pastries. And wine is drunk like water here. I ve come up with the perfect description: Do you know what signifies paradise? That only a few people know about it. Besides studying there are various locations and resorts to visit. It s therefore a cultural experience and specially away to learn Spanish. What is very different here is the concept of punctuality: classes don t start on time, public transport is not punctual. Or also that the Basque people are even more direct than we are in Switzerland: When you go to astore you order directly without saying: Hi how are you, Iwould like to buy or thank you. You can hardly hear people saying those things. Even the cashier usually doesn t say thank you. It s not rude it s just the way how the Spanish communicate. They don t use flowery phrases and speak much louder than we do. Sometimes it almost seems to be screaming. I don t actually miss much from home. I ve adapted myself to the new situation and habits. However I do miss having a timetable to see when the buses run and drinking tap water. 6 Tomo von Felten I m abachelor International Management alumnus. Currently I m in Tokyo, close to the city centre (Shibuya, Shinjuku). I ll be studying Japanese for the next 3months before Istart my Internship at Hilti Japan Ltd. During this stay Iwant to improve my Japan know-how in order to work later in ajapan-related job back home in Switzerland. Iwas inspired by the Japan-Year which the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce is supporting. The chamber then recommended my to Hilti Japan leading to this unique opportunity: it is quite difficult for foreigners to get ajob in Japan. What is different, exotic?! Well, there is certainly the morning rush-hour which takes getting used to. There is atrain every 2minutes, however, each one is totally overcrowded and everyone keeps an eye on the other commuters. For example, they make sure no one is making phone calls as this is not allowed. Also, smoking at train station and on the street is forbidden. Examples of what s exotic here are definitely the girls dressing up like barbie dolls. Fashion styles are very different from Europe. Here in Tokyo one does not notice that afew months ago the country suffered so many disasters like the earthquake and the tsunami. The only things I ve noticed is that trains are not as frequent outside the rush hours and smaller businesses complain that people are not spending that much money anymore. However, daily life is not touched at all. Idomiss the green scenery or forest trails for running, biking and most of all that important thing that every Swiss abroad misses, freshly baked bread! The Sextant _ Nr 6. / Autumn 2011

7 TheSextant Nr 6. / Autumn 2011 Zhang Bing I teach economics at the Shanghai Economic Management College (SEMC) and am here in Switzerland for two months until the end of November. My college is a training centre for managers so my students are a bit older and with a lot of work experience. Sometimes a company will send a group of middle managers to us to train on a specific area, and sometimes we have classes which are a mix from different companies. I m here on an exchange within the joint programme between Shanghai and the city of Basel and your school. There are eight of us but the others are all managers, I m the only teacher. We ve had a week of courses and now while my colleagues are off visiting companies, I m meeting up with professors here and sitting in classes to gain insight into how things are done here. My colleagues and I visited a class on Negotiating and this was very interesting as we had to actually negotiate - we really enjoyed the negotiating process with the smart international students of this school. What is interesting too for me is that you have campuses in so many different places and not in one city. I was in Switzerland once with my family seven years ago but then we only visited the major tourist spots. This time, because I am here for longer, I hope to see much more and especially get more in-depth insight into life here. My name is Philip and I am from Stockholm, Sweden. I am studying a bachelor in accounting and finance at Stockholm University School of Business. 600 people. Another difference is that we don t read a lot of different subjects at the same time. We usually read one or two subjects and then we have the exam before we start new subjects. Philip Why did I choose to study in Switzerland or more exact in Basel? First of all I had never been in Switzerland and I always wanted to go here. Secondly, Switzerland is famous for its banks and since I study economics, which is in the same line of business, it is a suitable place to study. Regarding Basel, I heard it would be a beautiful city with a long history of good universities. In Sweden we usually have much larger classes than here in Basel. We can sometimes be up to I came with an open-mind to Switzerland without having any particular expectations about the city or the people. However, people have been very friendly. I am impressed by how many languages people are speaking and that the IBM program is taught in different languages every semester. Basel was indeed a beautiful city with a lot of different things to do. I was for instance swimming in the Rhein last week, which was amazing with all the strong streams. Stefan Gürtler Ilectured on Green Marketing and Public Relations during one week in October at the Economic University of Katowice which is one of five Polish economic universities in Poland, with students. There s not much to say about the campus, but the back offices amongst them the international offices are now located in aformer building of the communist party (a political monument of the past period -alot of Stalinist charm still remains), where party leaders underwent ideological training. From there, the offices will be moved to aformer coal mine the industrial monuments of the Silesian region. Public Relations as an academic subject was only introduced in Before that the subject was named propaganda. Most Polish firms have quickly adopted this management instrument to improve their relations with society. The relations between the universities and the firms ought to be improved as well universities are hesitant to cooperate, because corruption and abuse of money in the private sector also a remnant of the past isstill common. As a result, students have only recently started with real life projects as we know them at the FHNW (they go abroad for an internship instead). Polish students are brilliant theorists but for obvious reasons hesitant practitioners. These are some of the topics we discussed during my exchange. How does teaching in Poland compare with Switzerland? The EU Katowice is like afactory, an opera and well, an university. There are porter s lodges and porters like in afactory, there are large cloakrooms with many coatcheck girls like in an opera and there is alarge number of university assistants and officials. In my lectures with 60 students, two assistants supported me, one brewing tea for me in every break. This made me philosophise on whether cost reduction through service streamlining is such agreat economic idea... Students don t differ much from our students there are the ones more in the front, who contribute actively and the ones more in the back, who decide to remain silent. Rooms are locked during classes, you can t enter them after the start of the lesson, and nobody dares to leave. So there s not much traffic, when compared to our classrooms. 7

8 TheSextant Nr 6. / Autumn 2011 A Day in the Life of Robel Ghebressilasie Robel Ghebressilasie (Foto: Michele Canonico) Robel Ghebressilasie is a Bachelor student currently in the final year of his Business Administration (International Management). He has also been president of the studentscouncil for over a year, a period which has seen considerable growth not only in the number of members but also in the expansion of activities. I always have to run for the train I seem to be unable to get out of the house on time. Yet I do always manage to catch the train and it certainly wakes me up. Though having said that, I m not awake enough then to do any serious reading or studying on the train I usually read. And then usually, when I arrive in Olten, I m disappointed with the weather I live over the hill in Baselland and we seem to have more sunshine there. My days are very different because the timetable varies from day to day. This semester we have no lessons on Fridays and so I can work then to finance my studies. I m in the claims department of a subscription agency so I deal with libraries and publishers and companies from all over the world. The other four days are usually a busy mix of lessons, studies and studentscouncil work. Well, I can call it work but of course it s purely voluntary and in many ways it is a hobby as I enjoy the diversity and the people so much. Today was fairly typical in that way. I am majoring in Finance and so had a full day of lessons. I chose Finance not only because it is in English, but I seem to have a natural talent for it and therefore find it interesting and enjoyable. I think it offers many opportunities for my further career development too. Just about every company needs someone in the Finance department so I am confident I can find a job after graduating. I d love to then work for a few years to afterwards do a post-graduate degree in China, either in Business or in the Mandarin language. I spent my semester abroad in Beijing and would love to go back. Especially to improve my language skills just a few semesters of lessons here and one semester there is not nearly enough to become fluent. In between lessons I am mostly busy with studentscouncil work. At the start of the semester that means marketing and acquisition. When I joined in my first semester here I was one of 8 new recruits this year we ve acquired about 25 new members and that is fantastic. There s even a Visiting Student who joined that s the first time that s happened. The increase in activity and membership is due to a project that was done three years ago which had a big impact. So now we send each student a letter at the start of the semester and then we get slots from the deans when we can come in and present the council. We also have Info-booths. Having so many more people has enabled us to expand our activity too. We have seven teams in charge of the different things: administration and infrastructure (that s things like running the coffee machines and the fussball tables), then there s the Tutoring Team who are in charge of the buddy system for visiting students and for events for them, then we have Events like the student parties, or the apero s at Christmas and Easter or visits or the ski-weekends, and new projects include the new e-shop and the scriptorium. We are embarking on so many new things, and that is exciting. I think it s very important to be innovative. You always need to be thinking of new ideas or updating your events. So while we ve been doing the Apero at Easter for many years, the Events team is launching a number of new activities to meet the interest of students. We ve started having barbecues once or twice a year, we ve expanded the Studi Party to Baden and Brugg as well as the one in Olten and currently we re thinking of setting up a Halloween event. Another project I m keen to have up and running this semester is the e-shop. This has been in the pipeline for many years and required a lot of organisation and liaison but we expect to be on-line later this semester initially with a narrow product range, especially t-shirts with the school logo for instance, but this will expand. My role as president is simply to stay in touch with all these many teams and activities and help and support when there are problems. It means that during the school day I m ing and phoning during the breaks and of course meeting up with people. What I really love about this job is exactly that. If you re in the studentscouncil you get to meet so many more people than if you re just in your class. We meet students from all years from all the different programmes and of course we meet all the visiting students and that is an ever-increasing number and from so many places with so many stories to tell. We try to involve the visiting students as much as possible and I think it s important for all students here to be involved in the school and the student body. Attending classes and learning is important, but it s also important to be involved. After school my involvement with the studentscouncil usually continues. There s stuff like updating the website or Facebook but I also try to attend all the events. That s a lot of parties but I love it. My spare time at the moment is often school business, but this is such a unique opportunity, to mix with so many different people and set up so many different activities. I do though reserve my Monday evenings when I play basketball in Basel within the unisport programme. In any case, it will be over soon enough. At the moment we are in the process of looking for my successor there are a few people interested. When I first joined the then president Florian Estoppey basically mentored and persuaded me over the course of a year and I m glad he did. But meanwhile, I have the next two evenings booked: tonight we have a meeting to set up an alumni association and tomorrow, after the Graduation ceremony, I ll go to the big student party. It s a tough life! 8 TheSextant The Sextant is published twice a year by the International Office, School of Business, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland FHNW Editor: Brigitte Sprenger Contributions: Celia Goicoechea, Dora Hunziker, Jeannette Merguin (Photos), Michele Canonico (Photos) Layout: canarini.communications gmbh, Basel Print: Dietschi AG, Olten Circulation: 1000 and as pdf on Next Issue: Spring 2012 Contributions to



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