GGL students had such a great time in Germany! It was more than just a destination️- a place to explore new things and learn a lot. Our students at the Global Governance and Leadership programme had the opportunity to visit many places and world-class companies, where they had the chance to learn the keys to success form global leaders and experts.

They came back to Moscow a few days ago and two of our students- Mark Melamed, Nikita Sitnikov and the GGL professor that joined them- Giovanni Savino, are sharing their experience about the internship programme “Global Leadership- a view from the perspective of a successful German region” at the Deutsche Management Akademie Niedersachsen (DMAN) and the time they spent there. And now- their inspiring stories…

Well, you recently returned from your trip to Germany. We are so excited to hear about your experience there! It is an internship, I suppose you had a pretty busy schedule, but hoping that you had some time for a good sightseeing around. All in all, when you sum up, how do you feel about it? Your impressions about the places, organizations, companies you visited. I will start with professor Savino…

Giovanni Savino: Saying that it was an amazing experience, it would be too reductive: places, companies, organizations are at the top of German and European economies, and workshops organized by DMAN were at the top. The impression was highly positive and enthusiastic.

Mark Melamed: As my favorite musician Boris Grebenshikov said after his first trip to America: “The whole year I could talk about what I had seen…”.
 In my case, I guess my tired legs, numerous pictures in my cellphone and overweight luggage speak for myself. Of course, we have studied almost each day and even when we had our single weekend there- we had to do our final project work. But besides all these lectures and case studies held in the building of the old residence of German dukes, we did very beneficial and informative visits to the headquarters of big enterprises (such as Volkswagen and Sennheiser) and smaller firms (marketing and design companies). This was a great opportunity for us and we gained an essential knowledge and professional experience. We had a wonderful time during our sightseeing trips to Bremen, Hannover, where we explored German cities and culture. And of course- we had a great time during the evenings spent in the fabulous town of Celle. So, even with busy schedules and waking up at 7 each morning, we had a time to walk around, visit museums or just have a dinner in a local restaurant.

Nikita Sitnikov: Everything was great! I have really liked all of the events during the internship. The Germans have a totally different approach to work. They are passionate about their duties. This trip changed our opinion about their way of thinking and way of doing things.

“Global Leadership — a view from the perspective of a successful German region” is the title of the internship programme that you attended at the Deutsche Management Akademie Niedersachsen (DMAN). It included educational workshops and lectures for GGL students. The Deutsche Management Akademie Niedersachsen (DMAN) is known for having a focus on qualifying managers and experts for the success on international markets. Please share your experience and impressions about it.

Mark Melamed: We were working in the castle which had been the residence for German dukes for ages! That was unbelievable. The workrooms were big and bright, with all modern equipment and furniture, but at the same time –there were also these antique windows, walls, statues and ceilings with pictures from ancient Greek myths.
 Our first lecture was “Short review of economic structures in Germany”. A good start for the internship isn’t it? During lectures we have studied topics like: how to overcome cross-cultural barriers or most important aspects of business ethics. Also, there were topics that we are already familiar with (from our GGL lectures in Moscow), such as: “high performance leadership”. We also were taught how to analyze and enter German market and what features and steps are required to make your company successful in the market. The most memorable lecture for me was “Blue Ocean Strategy”. Nevertheless, all knowledge that we gained, we had the chance to apply it during solving the case studies which were given to us after each lecture. We have been working and have done presentations, usually in small random groups (4–7 people each) that made the whole process even more catching and interesting as everybody had their own ideas, approaches and opinions for each case. We definitely became more broad-minded and more cohesive as a team.
 Frankly speaking, lectures that we attended and topics that we had been taught there were made not for bachelor (and especially not for the 1-year) students, but for executives and top-managers for which DMAN had been created initially. So we are lucky enough to have an internship like that.

Nikita Sitnikov: Both seminars and visits to companies helped us to develop our professional skills. Firstly, the DMAN mainly has programs for masters. The whole studying process was based on cases. There were a lot of interesting tasks. The content of lectures was really interesting and informative. Second, I would like to mention the work of lecturers. They really know how to get our full attention.

Also, I believe the world-class companies, such as Volkswagen, Sennheiser and Wiedemann Group, that you had the chance to visit was a great experience for you. Tell me more about it.

Nikita Sitnikov: Well, we actually didn’t have a chance to go to Widemann, but I heard it was great! With our group we visited a Sennheiser headquarters and Volkswagen. Sennheiser is a German privately held audio company specializing in the design and production of a wide range of high quality products, including microphones, headphones. It was interesting to hear about the long history of this company from a man who already working there for more than 30 years!!! After a walking trip through the production line I can say that Sennheiser is not just a company they have a strong corporate culture, employees share same values, they all are inspired to work!

Mark Melamed: Visiting world-class companies was one of the most exciting moments of internship that we experienced. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit Wiedemann Group company as I was in another group, but Volkswagen amazed me and others too (I am sure). We spent a day in Wolfsburg at Volkswagen plant. And the word “plant” is too small to describe the immense city-factory that we had the chance to see. They have their own fast-food, energy plant which provides electricity for the factory and town nearby, football team, music orchestra etc. And of course, lots of kilometers of highly robotized conveyor that produces a new car on each 18 seconds! There are more than 70 000 workers (which is a half of the population of the district that I live in Moscow). As professor Savino said to me, reacting on my amazement: “This is the perfect example of the consequence of the industrial revolution” — and it really is!

What do you consider a greatest benefit for you personally during the whole international internship in Germany?

Mark Melamed: It goes without saying, that now I have a far better perception of Germany and German economy and also I improved my cross-cultural and leadership skills. But the most important thing, is that I finally understood the role I can play in the future. I realized that all these small companies and huge enterprises are looking for leaders, who can deal with global issues. They are looking for broad-minded, well-educated, skilled, young and encouraged people who are able to think outside of the box and take responsibilities. I saw wonderful perspectives for the future that this program trains us for.

Nikita Sitnikov: I think that this internship was a great opportunity to show our leadership skills and I suppose I did it right.

Professor Savino, have you been on an international internship with a group of students before, taking a responsibility for them and making sure that everything goes in the best way possible? I must ask- what did you enjoy the most during this time spent with the students and what you find the most challenging?

Giovanni Savino: What I’ve enjoyed most was the chance to build and be part of a team, which was a very great enrichment for me and for our students. I think that internships like the one at the DMAN give us not just more skills, but more “team-spirit”. For sure, being with a group of students is like being more a trainer than a teacher, but remembering how my father, who was in athletics from 1969, organized track and field retreats with teams, managed to achieve the best, and it helped me to coordinate and organized the whole work there together with Valerya, a colleague of mine.

Spending 24/7 time with your classmates, exploring different educational styles and practices, new places must have been a lot of fun! I suppose you have known each other from the begging of the school year and you already are as one big family- the GGL family. Tell me the most amazing experience you and your classmates had during the trip. Some interesting story that you had all together.

Nikita Sitnikov: I can say that the whole internship was like an adventure! But here is one story. We had a trip to Hannover, my friends and I were very excited by the visit of this city and we simply lost the sense of time. At the moment when we realized that the time is up (because Giovanni texted us) we started running back to the bus together. At that moment I realized that we make such a great team with my classmates and it was the most impressive thing!

Mark Melamed: All these case studies, common trips and evenings spent with each other had a significant impact on all of us as it brought us all together and created a special bond between us as a classmates and friends. And of course, many fun stories happened there. For example, when we were at Volkswagen plant it appeared that our guide (who is working there) is Italian. So, all my classmates who had learned Italian started speaking with him on his native language. One of my friends even took his business card! For my sadness, nobody from Volkswagen spoke Spanish there…

What do you think about Germans, in general?

Giovanni Savino: People are people everywhere, and I really like some qualities, like workaholic style and modesty, typical of Germans. But well, we also had a very nice Italian host at Volkswagen, and it was a really good one.

Mark Melamed: They are very nice and truly punctual people, with very systemic way of thinking. It was clearly seen in the way they organize educational process, business and production. However, they are very friendly and easy-going. We could effortlessly start a conversation with any German, who knew English (or at least Italian).

Nikita Sitnikov: Well, there are a lot of stereotypes about Germans such as they are not hospitable and that they are perfectionists. But the Germans are such good-natured, simple people.

National cuisine of Germany. Did you like it?

Giovanni Savino: German cuisine is good one, really simple one, it’s ok.

Mark Melamed: Is it a question? Of course I did! All that sausages, stewed cabbage, pork, potatoes, mushrooms etc. We had an amazing final dinner at the place dated by 17th century. I also brought some goat cheese, heather honey and tons of sweets from Germany.

Nikita Sitnikov: German cuisine is pretty simple and its very heavy, but anyway I liked it.

Have you ever studied German before? If not, did this trip make you want to learn it?

Nikita Sitnikov: German language is beautiful, but I don’t think that it can be useful for me in the future.

Mark Melamed: Unfortunately, I don’t speak German, but I was impressed of the level of my mates’ language. Many of them have started learning German as the second language only at the university, but they actually can speak it quite well right now. Some of them even had a conversation with Germans. I don`t know about what actually, but they were honestly pretty fluent. And I’m kind of jealous about it honestly…

If you would to describe the trip to Germany in 3 words what would they be?

Giovanni Savino: Team. Work. Knowledge.

Nikita Sitnikov: That is very hard to describe this amazing trip in three words. Maybe 1) Progress; 2) Experience; 3) Friendship.

Mark Melamed: Let it be… Genuine German Learning, or just GGL.

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