This spring, 32 students will embark on the inaugural Chazen Entrepreneurship and Innovation Trip to Germany. The trip will be led by Professor R.A. Farrokhnia and three student organizers: Manuel Hein (a 2nd year CBS Student, Entrepreneur, and German native) , Diego Cuenca (Co-President of CEO and 2nd year student) , and Misha Ipatov (a 1st year student and entrepreneur). The tour will begin in Munich then move on to Stuttgart and end in Berlin. The goals of the tour are to explore the German business environment, compare the German and American models of innovation/entrepreneurship, and uncover the cultural factors that drive the German economy.
The planning for this trip began in late 2015 and has consisted of weekly meetings, outreach to a wide variety of companies, and soliciting student feedback. The result is a tour that combines cultural sights, company visits/fireside chats, and social events to provide a complete immersion and facilitate learning. Students will be visiting established companies that include BMW, Siemens, and Airbus in addition to startups such as Soundcloud, Number 26, and Coffee Circle as well as small medium enterprise “hidden champions” such as EOS. Further, students will be participating in interactive experiences such as a design challenge with German students at the Technical University of Munich or driving the latest BMW performance vehicles to Neuschwanstein Castle.
The background of the students participating in the trip are varied with former media professionals, private equity analysts, engineers and entrepreneurs. Their participation will play a key role in the success of this trip as we look not only to observe Germany but to compare its business/innovation environment and culture to that of other countries. We look forward to starting strong on Sunday in Munich and updating the Columbia community along the way.
Diego Cuenca ’16