Global exerciseBusiness partners met for the first time Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Together, they sat down to create digital camera companies that will truly span the globe.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Business partners met for the first time Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Together, they sat down to create digital camera companies that will truly span the globe.
Unlike other teams competing in the GLO-BUS international business simulation, UWS students partner with German students from Kassel University to shepherd their businesses forward.
“I think it’s good to connect with other people around the world,” said UWS senior Paige Maki. “Interacting with a whole new culture and people from a different country could be fun and different.”
The GLO-BUS simulation is part of Professor Bruce Kibler’s strategic management class.
“This is the capstone class,” he said. “It ties everything together for the students, which is why the competition is international.”
Universities around the world participate in the simulation. Kibler took things a step further by creating an international connection with Professor Gerd-Michael Hellstern of Kassel.
“We’re actually combining the teams from the different universities to create the international experience that they have,” Kibler said. “To go across cultural, language and time barriers in making decisions in running a global company through the simulation.”
It makes the experience more valuable, Hellstern said, and more realistic.
“You have a time difference in a company that’s big problem,” the German professor said. “And different holidays … now you think of an international company, big problem — you have people in Turkey, you have people in Germany, you have people in Switzerland and they all have different time frames, different holidays … so you have to coordinate it and they learn it in simulation.”
There are nuances of language and culture that don’t mesh, even though the German students speak English. In addition, German and American timetables are seven hours apart. Morning in Superior is the end of the workday in Kassel.
This is a chance, said German student Henning Tolle to “get insight into practical business.”
“This will definitely be a new experience,” Maki said.
She and classmate Alicia Pablich sat down with Florance Mangal of Germany Tuesday to put their PAF Company into operation.
Although the professors have been partnering students together for the past two semesters, this fall was the first time they met face to face. Thirteen of the Kassel students flew to Superior for a week.
“We are enjoying it,” Tolle said of the trip to the United States. “It’s very different from Germany.”
“It’s huge,” Mangal said. “The people are very friendly.”
She said she looked forward to making new friends as they built a business together.
Maki said having met Mangal would make it easier to communicate with her via e-mail, phone and other electronic means in the future.
“We’ve got a lot going on here, but it’s meeting them, touching base, I guess,” said UWS senior Richard Buchanan.
His teammates include UWS senior Kelsey Fangman and Kassel students Tolle and Lukas Ruth.
When it comes down to it, Kibler said, GLO-BUS is a game. Students will have to make decisions based on reports, outcomes and indicators, and sometimes ethics can be trampled in the bid to win.
“I think everyone wants to win but I think it’s a really good learning experience, a chance to do something that’s out of the norm,” Buchanan said.
It is also a window into the business world through a multicultural lens.
As Hellstern put it, students from both sides of the world “find they have far more in common than they thought before.”