Thanks to my colleague Professor Hong Wu, I was invited to teach at Høgskolen i Østfold in Fredrikstad (a partner University of Karlshochschule) for the third time this autumn. While I was teaching Change and Innovation in 2011 and 2012, I taught Marketing this year. Since I have been working with Norwegian companies for many years, it was a great opportunity to combine own business experience both as a consultant and a the general manager of a Norwegian company in Germany with my academic research and teaching.
Furthermore I asked a group of students from my other study program “International Marketing” to join me on the trip. I tried to focus my lectures on business between Norway and Germany and the challenges of business between smaller and bigger countries in general. And this is what my students wrote about their trip and their learning experience im Norway:
“[…]Our first impression [of the Høgskolen i Østfold in Fredrikstad, LB] was very positive. In our opinion, the university is kind of a bigger Karlshochschule, at least the building we have been taught in. With nearly 3.000 students it is much taller, however, there are plenty of group rooms available. Also, the size of the classes and the transparent architecture is familiar to us.
When we entered our classroom on Tuesday morning we were warmly welcomed by our new temporary classmates, in total 25. Most of them are much older than we are. A 50-year-old guy, who is working during the weekends, managing his family and still having the energy to take a full-time class, is really impressing.
In our lectures, most of the time we were talking about marketing, especially the differences in marketing and business between Norway and Germany. We learnt a lot about the Norwegian market – we had, for example, a guest lecture from Bayer’s head of Norway (Torstein Myhre), and he explained to us, why Bayer isn’t that big in the Norwegian market: In the past, they refused to sell Aspirin as a powder, however the Norwegian pharmacies wanted to keep the powder and therefore stopped selling Bayer’s Aspirin. […]
Our “final” task was to give a lecture on a case study. Our new friends, studying “Innovation and Project-Management” had to develop a new product and a market-entry strategy for the German market. They were able to apply their gained knowledge from Prof. Becker’s lectures, and did an awesome job in doing so.
We spent the remaining two days of our stay in the capital of Norway. Oslo is a beautiful city, as you can see from the embedded pictures. Apart from one incident, we really had a nice stay: Unfortunately, one of our purses was stolen on the very first day in Oslo, and we spent the next morning at the local police (because they refused to help us the day before). However, we enjoyed our short visit, but also looked forward to the German prices.”
I think the students really enjoyed their stay in Norway and learned quite a lot. I myself enjoyed the opportunity to work with local companies like the above mentioned Bayer nordic, Kaluna and Loyds, the developer of the Paxter electronic vehicle. In Norway eMobility is widely accepted, especially since electric cars receive many benefits such as tax reduction, free parking and the permission to use bus lanes.
But also the cultural aspects of the trip where quite exiting, Hong Wu and I visited some bronze age places. For me it was quite impressing how already early trade could lead to the expansion and mixing of cultures.