The Chair for International Management - Liebherr/Richemont Endowed Chair" at the University of Fribourg/Switzerland has been established in September 2007. It has been made possible by generous donations by the multinational companies Liebherr and Richemont.
The chair is responsible for the "Master of Arts in European Business" (click here for a detailed description of the programme). The chair focuses on research and teaching in the fields of International Management, with a particular focus on European Business.
The holder of the chair is Prof. Dr. Dirk Morschett.
Some Highlights of the Past Years
In addition to the regular lectures, the chair has organised a number of special events, like excursions or guest lectures. Some of them are presented below.
Visit to coop@home and Swiss Post Parcel Center
On April 28th 2016 a group of students from the Chair for International Mana-gement had the privilege of visiting coop@home’s distribution center in Spreitenbach. Philippe Huwyler, Managing Director, gave the group an insightful and engaging presentation about the world of online food distribution in Switzerland. In addition to outlining elements of coop@home’s strategy and current market position, Mr. Huwyler also gave the group at look at some of the key challenges and opportunities that exist for coop@home in the future. The group was then taken on a tour of the distribution facility, where they had a detailed look at how a modern food distribution center works, touching every food category from fresh produce to frozen products. Mr. Huwyler continually emphasized coop @home’s commitment to service and quality as ways of distinguishing their service offering from that of other online grocery retailers. The tour finished with a Q&A session.
The group then continued their trip to Härkingen and had the opportunity to view the Swiss Post’s Post Parcel Center. The group was taken on a guided tour of the center, after being given a short introduction to the world of the Swiss Post, and the important role it plays on the Swiss market not only from the perspective of a mail and parcel delivery service, but also as a logistics and financial services provider, and as one of the largest employers in the country. They were shown exactly how the parcel center operates, from the moment a parcel arrives at the depot, how they are processed within the center, what happens when address labels are incorrect or incomplete, and finally how parcels are dispatched to other distribution centers, and to the end customer. The evening wrapped up with a short de-brief over coffee and light snacks, courtesy of the Swiss Post.
GUEST LECTURE BY BAK BASEl
As part of Europe Day 2016, the University of Fribourg had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Kai Gramke from the Swiss-based economic research and consultancy firm BAK Basel Economics. He was able to distill the most pertinent points about the applicability of the bilateral agreements for Swiss companies during his interactive and engaging presentation. In order to set the stage for the presentation, Mr. Gramke gave an overview of the world economy and its relation to the economic balance of power over time, and discussed the importance of trade liberalization, where Switzerland comes out on top. He then discussed many important elements about the current state of the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU. He was able to paint a very interesting picture about the true cost of cancelling the bilateral agreements, and how that will affect businesses in Switzerland. The presentation concluded with a series of thoughtful and engaging questions from faculty and students.
Guest lecture by Erwin Kaelin, Head of Developing Markets at Geberit International
On December 14th 2015 Mr. Erwin Kaelin, Head of Developing Markets at Geberit International, gave a guest lecture to students in the European Marketing, Fundamentals of International Management, and Management in Emerging Countries courses on "Market Development at Geberit". The lecture focused on Geberit’s emerging markets strategy. Mr. Kaelin detailed the company’s competitive strength which is their unique ability to deliver smart, innovative and integrated solutions to their clients by leveraging a unique composition of Swiss Know-How. Mr. Kaelin also introduced students to the concepts of push and pull marketing and their implication on market development at Geberit, which was nicely tied together during a very active and engaging discussion session at the end of the lecture.
Guest lecture by Dimitrios Karampis, HR Manager at Philip Morris SA
Mr. Dimitrios Karampis, HR Manager at Philip Morris SA, accepted an invitation by the Chair for International Management to give a guest lecture on “Human Resources Management at Philip Morris SA". This lecture took place on December 7th, 2015, for students in the course Fundamentals of International Management. After giving an overview of the company, Mr. Karampis took students on a journey through the world of HRM by introducing them to various aspects of the field, such as Talent Acquisition, Compensation & Benefits, Learning & Technology, while reinforcing the importance of Diversity & Inclusion in the business world today. He stressed the significance of Human Resource Management by emphasizing the idea that businesses are ultimately built by people. After the presentation, students had the opportunity to ask Mr. Karampis questions related to HRM at Philip Morris SA during a lively Q&A session.
Guest lecture by Thomas Truttmann, VP Marketing, Communications, Public Affairs & Supply Chain at McDonald’s
Mr. Thomas Truttmann, former student at the University of Fribourg, and VP Marketing, Communications, Public Affairs & Supply Chain at McDonald’s Switzerland, was invited to give a guest lecture to students on the Story of McDonald’s in Switzerland. After giving an overview of the company and its worldwide evolution over the years, Mr. Truttmann introduced students to the particular aspects of McDonald’s operation in Switzerland, from menu items and local sourcing, to the importance of people at McDonald’s, and the increasing relevance of technology and innovation to the company. Throughout the lecture students were encouraged to participate and ask questions, which ensured an active, engaging and extremely informative presentation.
GUEST LECTURE BY lukas bucheli, group product manager, savencia fromage & dairy deutschland
Mr. Lukas Bucheli, former student at the University of Fribourg and Group Product Manager at Savencia Fromage & Dairy Deutschland (formerly Bongrain Deutschland), was invited by the Chair for International Management to give a guest lecture to students in the European Marketing course on “Consumer Insights at Savencia”. After giving a brief overview of the company, Mr. Bucheli introduced students to the main principles of consumer insights, and explained how those insights are used to support Savencia’s marketing strategy by enabling the company to get closer to their customers. Through a case study, the main principles of consumer insights were then applied, in a very practical way, to one of Savencia’s main products. Mr. Bucheli showed how insights played a key role in the successful positioning the product in multiple European markets, ultimately leading to an increase in market share. The presentation concluded with an active discussion, where students had the opportunity to ask more detailed questions about the group’s use of consumer insights.
GUEST LECTURE BY DR. KRISZTINA FRANKO, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DEBRECEN / HUNGARY
In the lecture on Managerial Aspects of European and Global Integration, the Chair for International Management invited Assistant Professor Dr. KrisztinaFrankofrom the University of Debrecen / Hungary in January 2015. Dr. Franko gave an insightful presentation on Hungary and its relation to the European Union. After a short introduction, enriched with general information about Hungary, Dr. Franko talked about the main economic factors and drivers in Hungary and its general importance for the country. This was followed by an overview on the Hungarian integration until its membership in the European Union. Then, Dr. Franko examined in detail the impact of the integration in the EU for Hungary. In doing so, the focus was set on the impact of the membership on foreign investment in different industry sectors, on the Hungarian healthcare system and on agriculture. The presentation was complemented with a lively Q&A session with the audience.
PRESENTATION BY KURT HAERRI, HEAD Of GLOBAL MARKETING AND SALES, SCHINDLER
On December 10th, the students of Fundamentals of International Management and Doing Business in China lectures enjoyed a very enthusiastic and passionate presentation from Mr. Haerri on Schindler’s Business Strategy in China. Mr. Haerri in his presentation gave a brief historical overview of the company and shortly introduced Schindler’s product portfolio to the students. He then explained the remarkable growth of China (and Asia) providing examples of the Chinese urbanization and infrastructure development in the last years. Using figures and examples from construction, Mr. Haerri showed that the mere “dimension” of China in comparison with any other country, in terms of population, demand, speed, etc. is enormous and requires the full attention of companies from other countries. Kurt Haerri spoke about the past and current challenges of Schindler illustrating them with numerous examples, stories and hard figures. Based on the gathered experience he also provided insights of how to do business in China, going far beyond the usual superficial statements and into very insightful recommendations. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session with the students.
Presentation by Oliver Staerkle, Key Account Manager for Henniez, Nestlé Waters Switzerland
In the lecture on Distribution Strategies and Retailing in Europe, the Chair for International Management invited Oliver Staerkle, a former student in the MA in European Business and now Key Account Manager Nestlé Waters Switzerland in December 2014. Mr. Staerkle gave an interesting and informative presentation, starting with an overview on the Swiss retail landscape and ist particularities. This was followed by insights, how Nestlé Waters cooperates with its retail clients. Furthermore, Oliver Staerkle explained the strategic tasks of key account management and brand management who jointly create the success for a company, KAM with a stronger focus on the retail customer, brand managagement with a stronger focus on the consumer pull. This was complemented by a description and detailed explanation of the specific role of the key account manager. The presentation was concluded through a practical case and followed by a vivid fruitful discussion with the audience.
Presentation by Stefan Heissler, Managing Director, Liebherr
In the Fundamentals of International Management lecture, in December 2014, Mr. Heissler, gave an interesting and informative presentation on the International Management at Liebherr. He first introduced the company with a short historical overview and the current businesses and he showed its impressive growth in the last 60 years. Mr. Heissler explained that Liebherr has changed the organisational structure from the country divisions to product divisions which are led by divisional controlling companies. The focal point of the presentation dealt with the key success factors of Liebherr. Among others, Mr. Heissler mentioned the importance of diversification (Liebherr operates in 11 product divisions ranging from refrigerators and freezers to Maritime cranes and mobile cranes), organic growth (which allows avoidance of integration problems and ensuring the integration of each unit into the overall corporate culture), customer proximity (which is especially relevant in B2B markets), de-centralisation as well as the family ownership. The presentation concluded with the lively discussion with the audience.
Presentation by Roland Frefel, Head of Categoy Management Fresh Products/Gastronomy, Coop
In the lecture on Distribution Strategies and Retailing in Europe, the Chair for International Management invited in December 2014 Roland Frefel, Head of Categoy Management Fresh Products/Gastronomy at Coop. Mr Frefel gave an interesting presentation on the Coop group, the category management at Coop as well as sustainability initiatives within the Coop group. First, the sales and specialist formats as well as the online formats of Coop as well as Coop’s manufacturing companies were presented. This was followed by explaining the competitive position in the Swiss retail market and deeper insights of the category management process at Coop. Hereby, the philosophy, definition, organisational structure as well as the goals of Coop’s category management were in focus. Finally, the sustainability strategy of Coop was visualised. The presentation was complemented by a fruitful discussion between Mr. Frefel and the audience.
Presentation by Werner Dirks, General Manager Schweiz, La Prairie Group
Werner Dirks, General Manager Switzerland at La Prairie Group, was invited in November 2014 by the Chair for International Management in collaboration with the Institute for Value-based Enter-prise (IVE). The highly interesting presentation in front of a large audience focused on Management and Distribution at La Prairie as well as on leadership. After introducing the company, Mr. Dirks gave interesting insights about the luxury cosmetics brand La Prairie. This was followed by explanations of the distribution structure and developments in distribution, enriched by outstanding examples from Switzerland. Finally, Mr. Dirks gave fruitful implications concerning leadership and management issues and was very open to answer the many questions from a vivid discussion with the students.
Presentation by Dr. Rolf Soiron, Chairman at Lonza
In cooperation with the IVE – The Institute for Value-based Enterprise, the Chair for International Management invited Dr. Rolf Soiron, Chairman at Lonza and former president of the board of directors of Holcim, in October 2014. Dr. Soiron gave an interesting presentation on ”Leadership vs. Management” at Lonza. After defining, what management is and what constitutes a good manager by transforming resources into customer value, Dr. Soiron highlighted the biggest misunderstandings on management in general. He emphasized the role of management which modern leadership literature sometimes tends to downplay. Moreover, core principles as well as important tasks and tools for managers were investigated and discussed with the audience. Dr. Soiron also emphasized what constitutes leadership and the need of active learning for being a successful leader, enriched with fruitful examples based on his own work experience.
Presentation by Valentin Wepfer, Director of Collaborative Supply-Chains and Deputy CEO at GS1 Switzerland
Valentin Wepfer, Director of Collaborative Supply-Chains and Deputy CEO at GS1 Switzerland, gave in May 2013 an interesting presentation on collaborations, how collaborations can be achieved and collaboration platforms for companies. After introducing this highly relevant topic, Mr. Wepfer illustrated necessary preconditions for collaborations, as well as influence factors, drivers, opportunities and barriers and discussed them with the students. Instead of merely focusing on the operative issues of collaboration, Mr. Wepfer emphasized the relevance of the right attitude towards collaboration in order to make it work. In the second part, Valentin Wepfer highlighted topics of ECR, presented national ECR Initiatives in Europe, the global ECR Network as well as the role of GS1 Switzerland in it. Moreover, the successful organisation of collaboration platforms was explained. GS1 Switzerland is the professional association for sustainable value creation networks.
Round-table debate with Christiane Arndt, OECD, and Philippe Allard, European Banking Authority, together with SNIS
Together with the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS), the Chair for International Management organized a round-table debate on governance on March 10, 2014. In particular the link between public governance and corporate governance was highlighted in the debate in which the issue of why regulation is necessary and which effects regulation has, was debated. Christiane Arndt from OECD opened the event with an introductory presentation on the measurement of regulatory policy and governance. She explained how the impact of regulation can be measured and is measured by national and European-level authorities. Here, she also presented some OECD recommendations on this issue. Furthermore, she pointed out that one has to be careful to interpret the indicators in the correct way, e.g. when trying to evaluate a specific foreign country by the means of governance indicators. It is important not to only rely on top-level indicators but to understand of which dimensions an indicator is composed of. Philippe Allard focused on the regulation in a specific sector, i.e. banks. He explained why banks need to be supervised and he explained the main frameworks and tools for banking regulation and banking supervision. After the introductory statements, both experts were discussing the questions from the audience in a long and in-depth debate. The interesting discussion was continued after the official part of the debate in the context of an apéro to which the experts and the students were invited by the organizers.
PRESENTATION BY MARKUS VOGT, HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING, RICOLA
In December 2013, Mr. Vogt, Head of Sales and Marketing at Ricola, gave an interesting presentation on the marketing in the mid-sized, family owned Swiss company, which is present in over 50 markets worldwide.The main highlights of the presentation included the introduction of the new marketing campaign of Ricola "Chrüterchraft".
Mr. Vogt explained campaigns' global design with the possibility of local modifications in the form of voice overs and parts of the spot that can be exchanged (following a glocal strategy). He then gave an overview of diverse marketing instruments used by the company (promotion, product, price and place) as well as the challenges the Ricola encounters in different markets. Very interesting was also the presentation of some coordination mechanisms that the company uses to implement the international strategy in an aligned way in the different countries. The presentation ended with many questions from the audience and a lively discussion.
Presentation by Robin Barraclough, Chief Marketing Officer, Emmi
In November 2013, Mr. Barraclough, Chief Marketing Officer at Emmi, gave an interesting presentation for the students in European Marketing class entitled: "Making Milk Marketing Matter Multinationally".
Mr. Barraclough introduced the well-known Swiss company and gave an overview of the competitors of Emmi. He then spoke about marketing activities, philosophy of the company and the importance of innovation in the area of fast moving consumer goods. He emphasized the crucial role that thinking globally but winning locally (following the glocal strategy) plays for Emmi. He also explained the required marketing spending to establish and maintain a brand, even in a rather small market like Switzerland. Based on this, he described how Emmi has been reducing its brand portfolio in order to focus on a few power brands globally. These are structures in Emmi's "house of brands". In order to better illustrate these concepts, Mr. Barraclough used practical examples and emphasized the key message that particular brands portray. Last, but not least, he showed the opportunities that Emmi offers as an employer for the present students. The presentation ended with questions from the audience and an active discussion.
Presentation By Andreas Baud, International Marketing Director, Victorinox Swiss Army Fragrance
In a European Marketing lecture in November 2013, Andreas Baud, International Marketing Director for Victorinox Swiss Army Fragrance, gave an interesting presentation on the company, its products, the challenges and international marketing activities.
Mr. Baud introduced the company and showed the portfolio of products that the company offers on the market – ranging from the famous Swiss Army Knife, watches, fashion, travel gear, and, recently added, fragrances. He spoke to the students about the challenges that Victorinox is facing- one of which is the modification of the Swisness regulation, which commands the amount of Swiss components and percentage of work done in the country in order for the products to be labelled "made in Switzerland" and carry the red Swiss cross. While this is the case for the knives and the fragrances, the situation is different for travel gear which is sold under a licensing agreement with a US company. Furthermore, Mr. Baud emphasised the challenge to create a uniform brand positioning for the wide product range of its products and to coordinate the international activities which are partially carried out by own subsidiaries in foreign markets but partially also by independent distributors. The presentation ended with examples of the possible solutions the company could apply and an interesting and lively discussion with the students.
Presentation by the CEO of the Sika Group
In a speech in the MA in European Business in November 2013, Jan Jenisch, CEO of the Sika Group and alumni of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of our university, gave exciting insights into Sika's global expansion strategy.
Sika is a specialty chemicals company supplying the building and construction industry as well as manufacturing industries, in particular automotive manufacturers. After a short introduction in Sika's product portfolio, Mr. Jenisch presented the target markets, e.g. roofing, flooring, waterproofing, and then, extensively the growth model of the
company. The presentation was well linked to the international business theories that are taught in the lectures and Mr. Jenisch categorized Sika as a transnational organisation by discussing the specific characteristics of this organisational model. The focus of the presentation was on the companies' engagement in emerging markets in which Sika by now achieves almost 40% of its global turnover, with substantial growth rates. Furthermore, Jan Jenisch pointed out key success factors for the international business of Sika.
As usual, the presentation was followed by an intense discussion with the students who also welcomed the opportunity to discuss not only with the CEO of Sika but also with Robert Urban, Head of Corporate HR, who accompanied Mr. Jenisch at his visit of our university.
PRESENTATION BY Erland Brügger, CEO, Rivella
In the European Marketing lecture in October 2013, Erland Brügger, CEO of Rivella, presented the company and the internationalization of Rivella to the students in the MA in European Business.
Mr. Brügger shortly presented the history of Rivella and its very strong position in the Swiss softdrinks market as well as the international activities of the company in a few European markets. Mr. Brügger spoke very openly to the students about the challenges that the company faces as well the past attempts of conquering the German market. He presented successful and less successful examples of campaigns and activities in Germany. In particular, he presented the future approach of Rivella for this large market, which was the core topic in the discussion with the students after the presentation.
Presentation by Lukas Schulthess, Senior Brand Manager, NIVEA for Men
In the lecture on European Marketing in October 2013, Lukas Schulthess, Senior Brand Manager for the Beiersdorf brand NIVEA for Men, gave an interesting speech on European Marketing at Beiersdorf.
Mr. Schulthess presented the history of the NIVEA brand as well as organizational aspects of the company such as the brand portfolio. In the focus of his presentation was the question of local marketing versus global marketing of Beiersdorf. L. Schulthess presented insights and detailed examples of which marketing measures for NIVEA for Men are defined on an international level and which marketing measures are locally adapted to the particular market conditions in Switzerland. The presentation was very well received by the students and it was followed by a lively discussion with the speaker.
Furthermore, Lukas Schulthess presented career opportunities for management students at Beiersdorf. He himself has graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of our university only a few years ago.
Study Trip to Bangkok in June 2013
In June 2013, the Chair for International Management has organized, for the third time, a summer school in Bangkok in cooperation with a leading local university, the College of Management of the Mahidol University. Professors from Mahidol University gave the students insights into different aspects of Management in South-East Asia, e.g. in cultural particularities, negotiation styles, technology management, branding and other fields of management and marketing. We are very grateful that executives from (mostly Western) companies that are active in Thailand gave presentations to the Fribourg students at the university, including DKSH and Garant Möbel. An attorney-at-law from a German-Thai law firm explained the legal framework for direct investment in Thailand.
And two companies, Svarowski and Liebherr, even allowed the students to visits their factories in Thailand. While both factories are, obviously, strongly different, both companies gave the students unique insights into their production processes and the particularities of business activities in Thailand. Last, but not least, in the evenings and on the weekend, social and cultural events, such as visits to the Grand Palace, a cooking school or a bike tour through Bangkok in the evening, were organised that gave the students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge about the Thai culture.
Presentation by Christoph Rief, Managing Director, and Jérôme Meyer, Director Operations, Aldi Suisse Domdidier
In May 2013, Christoph Rief and Jérôme Meyer from Aldi Suisse presented the marketing and sales strategy at Aldi. In Switzerland, Aldi operates three distribution centers in Domdidier, Schwarzenbach, and Dagmarsellen to serve more than 160 stores. Besides the company history, also the business model, organizational structures and the conviction of the company were shown. Furthermore, Mr. Rief and Mr. Meyer presented career opportunities and perspectives at Aldi Suisse and were open for discussion and answered questions.
Presentation by Allessandro Rigoni, Commercial Director, Nestlé Suisse
Also in May 2013, Allessandro Rigoni, Commercial Director at Nestlé Suisse, one of the world biggest food and beverage companies, located near Lausanne at Lac Léman, talked to the students in the course of Distribution Strategies and Retailing in Europe. The aim of Mr. Rigoni’s speech was to provide further insights on the Nestlé Group, the Swiss market and its particularities as well as issues and opportunities from a retailer and manufacturer point of view.
Presentation by Laurent Vonmoos, Director Sales Switzerland, Philip Morris S.A.
Laurent Vonmoos, Director Sales Switzerland at Philip Morris S.A. gave, also in May 2013, another interesting presentation about the distribution strategy of Philip Morris in Switzerland. After introducing Philip Morris from an international point of view, combined with a market analysis of the tobacco market, the distribution strategy in Switzerland was presented. Furthermore, the strategy of Margot & Cie S.A., a specialized Swiss tobacco wholesaler, was presented. After the presentation, Mr. Vonmoos and a colleague, who recently started as a trainee at PMI, as well as Claude Denti, Director of Margot, were available for answering questions.
Presentation by Oliver Bertschinger, Regional Director Europe of OSEC Business Network Switzerland...
In May 2012, on the invitation of Prof Dirk Morschett, Oliver Bertschinger explained to the students from the University of Fribourg the internationalisation capabilities of Swiss companies and the framework requirements in different European markets. He pointed out the main success factors of the Swiss export economy, which is continuously growing in several sectors despite financial crisis and strong appreciation of the Swiss Franc. He also brought students attention, to the problems which resulted from the currency movements.
ALDI SUISSE has entered the market in 2005 and has about 100 outlets now. The new and up-to-date distribution centre in Domdidier receives and distributes the articles for a major part of that store network.
Wago, with its headquarter in Minden, Germany, is a world-wide operating company with subsidiaries or agencies on every continent and production sites in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, China, India, the USA and in Japan. It is a leading company in innovative connecting technology.
Presentation by Bruno Wiederkehr,
Sales Director, Warner Bros. Home Video
In December 2009, Bruno Wiederkehr gave a comprehensive presentation on the implementation of Warner Bros.’ global mar-keting and sales strategy in the Swiss market.
Presentation by Katalin Dreher,
Consultant, OSEC Business Network Switzerland
In November 2009, Katalin Dreher shared insights into the Swiss foreign trade in general, the forms of internationalization and the mandate of OSEC, in particular explaining the « step-by-step » concept to exporting which it provides to Swiss firms. A strong focus was on the market opportunities in Eastern European countries.
Presentation by Beat Pahud,
Managing Director, Aldi Suisse Domdidier
Aldi is the World’s largest harddiscounter. In 2005, Aldi has entered the Swiss market, a very particular retail market. The presentation gave the students insights into the necessary activities when entering a new country market.
Presentation by Dr Beat Brechbühl,
Partner, Kellerhals Attorneys at Law on M & A in Europe