Short Term Study Program Entrepreneurship

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New Short Term Study Program Entrepreneurship between RWTH Aachen and Tsinghua University

The strategic partnership between RWTH Aachen and Tsinghua University, Beijing, has been extended to include a new, innovative exchange program. Organized by the RWTH Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group (WIN), headed by Professor Malte Brettel, and the RWTH International Office, the first part of the Joint Entrepreneurship Study Program took place in Aachen in September.

The eight-day program in Aachen covered the basics of entrepreneurship: 14 students from the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management and 17 RWTH students worked in binational teams on case studies investigating the differences between Western and Chinese start-up companies. Furthermore, to deepen their knowledge in real-world settings, the students visited companies in Aachen and Cologne. The aim of the program is to encourage the participating students to create their own business ideas and, where possible, collaborate on their implementation. The most important course contents were made available at the edX online platform to enable preparation and subsequent review of the material covered. In this way, Professor Brettel’s team once more leveraged the possibilities of blended learning approaches for innovative teaching and learning.

A special feature of the week in Aachen was the integrated “buddy program,” which paired Chinese with German students for social activities. The Aachen students took their buddies on tours of the city, invited them home for joint cooking sessions, organized games evenings, and introduced them to the local pub scene. Not least due to the dedication of the Aachen students, the program was not only academically rewarding, but also provided an exciting intercultural learning experience.

The group from Beijing was accompanied by Dr. Jie Jiao, associate professor at the Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Tsinghua University, and Yan Li from the International Office. Professor Jiao considered the study program particularly valuable due to its combination of technical aspects and soft skills training, involving working in international teams, the development of communication skills, and the adoption of proactive work behaviors. For both. it was their first stay in Germany. Not only were the impressed by the historical city center of Aachen, but also by the organization of the program with its attention “to the last detail,” as Professor Jiao put it. And, as Yan Li emphasized, “Germans are really fun, with a great sense of humor!”

At the end of November, the second part of the Joint Entrepreneurship Study Program will take place in Beijing, at the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management. Then, the buddies will meet again, and the RWTH students will have the opportunity to gain further insights into the Chinese start-up and entrepreneurial landscape.

At the closing event in Aachen, Professor Brettel expressed the hope that the Joint Entrepreneurship Study Program will develop into a regular exchange scheme, such as the student exchange with Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, which has providing opportunities for making international friends and generating joint business ideas for well over ten years now. Currently, the prospects look bright.


Dr. Birte Seffert, RWTH Aachen University International Office