This is clear from three examples: the “CIO Leadership Excellence Program,” the General Management Program that WHU will offer together with the social business Bookbridge starting in fall 2013, and the tailor-made MAN program that WHU offered together with the University of Oxford from 2008 to 2013.
CIOs in the First International Module: “The Experience in India Opened up New Perspectives.”
The “CIO Leadership Excellence Program,” the first program of its kind in Germany, enjoyed a successful kick-off on the WHU campus in Vallendar in November 2012. On February 18, IT executives traveled to India for the first international module. A variety of program activities created a diverse impression. “It is incredibly important to us that the participants not only learn about India in case studies, but also develop a good understanding of the context and truly experience the country,” Winkelmann stressed. The program structure was developed on the basis of the India modules of the WHU MBA programs, which have been successfully carried out for many years. “Understanding emerging countries requires direct personal experience, in many ways. A combination of instruction at our top Indian partner schools and complementary activities in the form of intercultural trainings and visits to German and Indian corporations as well as to social projects and non-profits has demonstrated its value,” explained Professor Jürgen Weigand, director of the MBA programs at WHU.
Networking with Indian IT colleagues took center stage at the NASSCOM Leadership Conference in Mumbai, the most important industry event in India. A joint press release of the industry association of the German information and telecommunications sector, Bitcom, and its Indian counterpart, NASSCOM, emphasized the importance of the visit. It was stressed that the German IT experts formed the largest international delegation, and this was attributed to the cooperation of the associations with the “leading German business school WHU” and the CIO magazine.
In Mumbai, the participants then took part in a one-day training on the topic of “Doing Business in India.” The following day they were off to Bangalore in the early morning, where a visit to a charitable organization and a company visit to Bosch were on the program. In Bangalore, too, there was sound “input” at the top business school in India, IIM Bangalore, which is also a partner university of WHU.
The responses of the participants indicated their great enthusiasm and fascination for a country that is really constantly in motion. On the other hand, they were deeply impressed by the great challenges that remain for India.
The “CIO Leadership Excellence Program” offers a total of three modules: a basis module with emphasis on general management at the WHU campus in Vallendar as well as two international modules in India (Mumbai and Bangalore) and in China. The international modules are especially focused on the topic of “emerging markets.”
WHU and Bookbridge Send Managers to Mongolia
“The global business world is becoming smaller, which is why international participant experience is the focal point of the first open enrollment program at WHU,” said Rebecca Winkelmann. The General Management Program of WHU and the social business Bookbridge are specifically preparing talented mid-level managers for the future challenges of international projects and new markets. The hands-on continuing education program for managers begins in fall 2013 in Düsseldorf. “In international business, it is often the case that the ‘rules of the game’ in the local market cannot be implemented one-to-one in new markets. Many German companies that are active in markets such as India, for example, recognize early that the local presence and experience of employees is irreplaceable.” Dr. Carsten Rübsaamen, WHU alumnus and founder of Bookbridge, adds: “To be successful, you not only need knowledge about growth markets; you have to be able to set things in motion in those places, too.” This is provided for in the nine-month part-time program. In addition to coursework at WHU Campus Düsseldorf, each participant also works closely together with local Asian partners before completing the program with a seven-day visit to the project site in Cambodia or Mongolia.
Working in cooperation with local partners, the managers open a learning center in a local village that will create learning opportunities for the inhabitants. The participants acquire the skills necessary to develop a business plan and implementation strategy under challenging conditions. They learn to work together in diverse teams and to consider multiple perspectives. The program’s emphasis on social responsibility also helps to develop awareness about values and accountability, said Winkelmann. “I also see an opportunity to teach ethical behavior and to raise the question about the ultimate sense of what we are doing.”
Not Just Tailored Once, but Tailored Again and Again
Together with the University of Oxford, WHU developed and carried out one of the most successful tailor-made company programs in Europe on behalf of the MAN Group. The special aspect of the program was its duration – more than twice as long as other programs of its type. “Normally the lifecycle of such a program is shorter; people change, and company strategies change,” said Lutz Kaufmann. In this case, though, there was not only continuity on the side of the partner contacts; the development of the company was also constantly accounted for. “When we started in 2008, the economy was booming; but then we had to navigate through a financial and compliance crisis as well as through the integration of VW Brazil – in short, there were constant and significant changes in the company.” According to Kaufmann, it was necessary to constantly amend and adjust the program contents to fit the changing strategy. “As he expanded, we made the pants wider; as he grew, we made them longer. We didn’t just tailor-make this suit once; we tailored it again and again. At some point, MAN and Oxford congratulated us on our sixth successful pilot program!” The program was so successful, said Kaufmann, because the participating partners constructively and loyally worked together through all phases of corporate development, in all directions, between 2008 and 2013. “It was great fun to work in such an atmosphere,” said Kaufmann. “We really just had to implement the strategy for the participants with skill and enthusiasm, and that was it.”