The final day in Berlin began with a late start in the afternoon. Having completed our company visits, we dedicated our remaining days to exploring the city. A number of us went to watch a local soccer match and others went on their own to explore various museums and historical sights such as Checkpoint Charlie.
A small group decided to rent several east-German made communist era Trabant Cars for a tour around the city. With an ignition system resembling a motorcycle’s and an unconventional manual transmission, the Trabi was not only a vehicle of questionable safety but a moving piece of history. While driving through the city we were educated on German history through walkie talkies provided to each car.
In the evening, to cap off our trip we all met for dinner at Spindler Klate- a waterside restaurant that turned into a night club. After a series of toasts we had our final celebration before leaving for New York the next day.
As we boarded our respective flights back to New York, we began to reflect on the week long trip. We were able to see German production excellence and innovation applied in different settings, we became familiar with several institutions (UnternehmerTUM) that were resulted in these products, and we learned how this commitment to excellence and process was applied to the world of startups. Moreover, we learned how the German companies communicated their history and how they looked to the future. Finally we were able to engage in open dialogue with very business leaders on issues ranging from corporote strategy to career paths. While we all had different takeaways, it was clear that we all had learned a tremendous amount.
Starting in the industrial heartland of Bavaria and ending in the entrepreneurship capital in Berlin, we had lot of ground in a very short time (14 companies in 5 days). I cant help but feel that my curiosity regarding this amazing country has only increased. I leave Germany with memories to last a lifetime but armed with some new theories and techniques to apply to my own career. Truly an unforgettable trip.
Diego Cuenca ’16
Chazen Germany 2016