IB Study Week in Hungary
"Our aim on these trips is to provide the students of the 'International Business Management' (IB) degree programme with know-how and food for thought on an academic, business-related and cultural level," explains Professor Dr. Eberhard Hohl. Together with Professor Dr. Barbara Niersbach, International Representative of the Faculty of Technology and Management, he led the study trip to Hungary.
The programme on the first day included a visit to the renowned Budapest Business School (BGE), the largest business school in the country with 17,000 students and RWU's partner university since 2005. The IB students from Weingarten were warmly welcomed by the BGE faculty, Professor Dr Marianna Válóczi and Professor Dr Csaba Moldicz. In addition to lectures on the history and economic and European policy of Hungary by university lecturers Dr. László Bodolay and Dr. Balázs Ferkelt, the agenda also included a campus tour and dialogues with Hungarian and international students. The IB students were not only "academic consumers" in a course taught by Dr. Judit Törok, but were challenged by their own team presentation about Germany and presentations of their "home companies". On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the students then watched a documentary film entitled "Grenzfall" and discussed their impressions with the director Péter Szalay and the dramaturge Dr. Ildikó Hidas.
Budapest - one of the most beautiful cities in Europe
In the following days, the students experienced Dr. László Bodolay in other roles - as co-organiser and competent travel companion of the MBA study week on site. He had lived in Berlin and Heidelberg for many years and had already been to RWU several times for guest lectures on German-Hungarian communication, most recently in summer 2019.
The 1.8 million metropolis of Budapest is a conglomerate of the former cities of Buda (German: Ofen), Obuda (Alt-Ofen) and Pest, explained László Bodolay. The discovery tour led from Heroes' Square to the Buda Castle and the Fisherman's Bastion, past medieval Pest into the Jewish quarter, characterised by narrow alleys, quaint bars and cafés. In the most intact Hungarian-German town in Hungary, Pilisvörösvar, there was a company tour of the Bányai Butorok furniture factory, conducted personally by the owner and managing director, Péter Banyai. The company's core competence is the production and processing of high-quality kitchen and bathroom furniture using the material Corian, which is very similar to marble.
Company excursion to ZF Hungária Kft. in Eger
After a one and a half hour bus ride, the MBA study group was welcomed in Eger by Markus Schleier. He presented the status and planned further development of the ZF plant, which he has headed as Technical Managing Director since 2012. With an investment of almost 100 million Euros, ZF AG expanded the Eger location in April 2018 with a 40,000 square metre production hall, which will enable the production of 8-speed automatic transmissions for the automotive industry in the future. The reason for the choice of location was surprising, "it was not only the lower wage costs that were decisive here, but rather the technical know-how and the level of education of the Hungarian skilled workers", according to Markus Schleier.
This was followed by a cultural highlight in the form of a guided tour of the nationally famous castle complex of Eger, which was built in the 13th century as a result of the Mongol invasion. In the evening, the students met Markus Schleier again, who invited the exploration team to dinner with a glass of "Egri Bikavér" wine (German: Stierblut) at the Hofbräu Haus.
Exploring the artistic town of Szentendre and experience „floating Budapest”
During a walk through the picturesque town of Szentendre, László Bodolay used his extensive knowledge to explain the history and special features of the town in combination with a "hands-on Hungarian" language course. After visiting the "Museum of Micro Art" and the famous "Marzipan Museum", the students returned to Budapest where the first stop was an organ concert in the St. Stephen's Basilica, which was built between 1851 and 1905. Afterwards, they had dinner together on a ship and explored Budapest from a different perspective. "The highlight of the study trip for me was the cruise on the Danube at night, where we got to admire Budapest from the water," to quote Mira Kaoussan, a student in the third semester of the MBA programme.
Visiting the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce along with the Gellért Baths
In the morning of the last day, we visited the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK). Such institutions play an important role for the strongly export-oriented German economy. Dirk Wölfer, Head of Media and Communication at the DUIHK, explained the tasks, fields of action and challenges of the Chamber of Commerce to the students in addition to current economic data. The last stop of the study week was the imposing parliament building. During a guided tour, the students not only learned about the history of the country, but were also able to take a look at the neo-Gothic features of the building on the Danube, which was completed in 1902. Before heading home again, the students could use their afternoon at leisure. While some of the group went to the "Great Market Hall", others used the day to relax in one of Budapest's many thermal baths. "The visit to the famous Gellért Baths was my personal highlight, so that I could process the impressions of the week in the thermal water," summarised Christoph Harr, the youngest student of the Hungarian Explorers.