Excursions, Study Trips and Day Trips 

Within the Master of Arts in International and European Business, we regularly organise field trips to best-practice companies and to international institutions and we also intend to offer courses in other countries. In the last years, these events included:

In April 2023, the Chair, for its lecture “Digital Commerce”, organised a field trip to several distribution centres and headquarters of retail companies. A great thank you to Interdiscount/microspot.ch, Jumbo and coop.ch for welcoming the students!

We started the day at Microspot where Daniel Augustin, Head of Marketing, gave an excellent presentation of the company and the digital marketing along the marketing funnel. Christian Rohr, Head of HR, then gave the students a perspective on Microspot’s trainee programme. As the final highlight of the visit, Georg Weinhofer, Head of Logistics and Service, and a colleague gave us a detailed tour through the modern warehouse, showing us the flow of goods from the goods receiving area via the storage area with its stingray shuttle system to the picking stations and the packaging. In the control room, it became apparent that logistics is a high-tech business.
We continued the day at Jumbo in Bülach, where Lorenz Würgler, Head of E-Commerce, and his colleagues guided us through their e-logistics centre. The particularities of the bulky, heavy and highly diverse goods quickly became clear and the people-to-goods picking with individual and manual packaging made sense. After the tour, Lorenz gave us a great presentation of E-Commerce of Jumbo in the context of the merging of Coop Bau+Hobby and Jumbo last year.
To get a further perspective on Digital Commerce, we drove to coop.ch’s headquarters in Spreitenbach. Grocery online is a totally different business and Philippe Huwyler, CEO of coop.ch, and Rolf Zeller, Head of Projects, explained this in detail to the students. Seeing is understanding, so we took a long tour of the grocery distribution centre where we again followed the flow of goods from the goods receiving area through the different picking areas via the freezer with -28 °C to the outbound dock where the various boxes for one customer are assembled just in time before the Coop-own delivery van leaves.
This was a fantastic day full of dense learning and profound insights into Digital Commerce for which we are highly grateful to the companies!

Study Tript to Bangkok - Asian Management
(Summer 2011 & 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. 

(Spring Semester 2008 & 2009) 

In the spring semester 2008 and in the spring semester 2009, the chair has organised an excursion to Brussels and Rotterdam with visits to EU institutions and to the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest logistic and industrial hub. To give you an idea about these excursions, the programme of the 2008 excursion is described in the following text.

In the spring semester 2008, the chair was organising an excursion to Brussels and Rotterdam with visits to EU institutions and to the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest logistic and industrial hub.

After meeting at Geneva Airport, on Tuesday, April 15, the group flew to Brussels.

The official programme started on Wednesday morning with an extensive visit to the European Commission where three experts from the Commission welcomed the group and gave their perspective on different policy issues. 

First, Mr. Jo Vandercappellen, a member of the Speakers’ team, gave the group an overview on how the European Union works and besides explaining the European institutions and the decision making process, he gave us insights into the developments and processes “behind the scenes”.

The second presentation focused on the EU-Switzerland relations from the perspective of the EU. Mr. Ulrich Trautmann, Internal Relations Officer from the Directorate-General for External Relations, confronted the group with some very provocative statements on the bilateral agreements and the role of Switzerland in its relations to the EU. He also gave some insights into the negotiation processes and after his presentation a very lively and controversial discussion with the students took place.

The last presentation of the morning was given by Mr. Peter Sander, Head of the Unit “Policy Coordination” in the Directorate-General for Trade. He spoke about the external trade policy of the EU and the current WTO negotiations. He explained the recent developments in the trade policy and the shift from the discussion of tariff barriers to the full context of international trade, including social and environmental standards and non-tariff barriers as well as investment policies. 

After the visit to the EU commission, the group went on to the Swiss Mission to the European Union. This diplomatic organisation, a part of the Swiss EDA (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) has been established 50 years ago and can be seen as the “antenna” of the Swiss confederation in Brussels. Mr. Alvaro Borghi, Conseiller Juridique, gave us an overview on the tasks and activities of the Swiss Mission and some insight into the Switzerland-EU relations from the perspective of Switzerland, giving an excellent counterpart to the EU presentation in the morning. 

After the day full of lectures, presentations and discussions, the group, including all students and Prof. Morschett and Annett Donath, Research Assistant at the Chair, had dinner together on an invitation by the chair, in a nice little seafood restaurant in Brussels’ old town. 

The next day started in Brussels, with another political organisation, the EFTA. At the General Secretariat of the EFTA in Brussels, Mr. Marius Vahl, Officer in the EEA Coordination Division of the EFTA, gave us the possibility to learn first hand about the EFTA and the European Economic Area (EEA). Since Switzerland is not part of the EEA, the visit to the EFTA helped to get another perspective on the level of integration and cooperation in Europe, via the EEA. Mr. Vahl explained the cooperation between three EFTA countries and the EU in the EEA and gave us also some background knowledge about developments and potential future changes in the integration agreements. 

With the visit to the EFTA, we completed our programme of the political perspective on Europe and continued our excursion by travelling to Rotterdam, where we spent the afternoon at the Rotterdam Car Terminal. Mr. Jeroen Verkerk from Broekman Car Handling B.V., first welcomed the group and gave them an introductory presentation of the company and its different activities. 

Broekman Car Handling is part of Broekman Group’s Automotive Division which offers worldwide automotive logistics and creates high quality integrated automotive logistics systems. The Broekman Group is a leading European vehicle and cargo logistic services supplier. 

After the presentation, the group took a tour of the Car terminal, having to regard the safety regulations of the terminal. The handling processes to newly arrived cars were demonstrated to us, including final assembly and fitting as well as the handling and logistic processes on the huge area of parked cars, trucks and construction vehicles. 

The next day was fully dedicated to the Port of Rotterdam. A long and extensive guided tour through the port was first done by bus to see the vast land area, the docks and the wharves from the land side. The port and industrial area stretches over a length of 40 kilometres and covers 10,000 hectares.

Our tour included a visit to the huge container terminal of the Port, where the storage of containers, the loading and unloading of container vessels and other processes could be seen. We passed by the huge container vessels, learned about the relevance of the containerisation of freight and about the highly automated processes at the container terminal, including driverless vehicles delivering containers to the harbour’s cranes for loading. 

Since parts of the port are not easily seen from the landside, we embarked on a chartered boat for a cruise through the port, sailing past wharves, docks, quays and silos and resting places for ships from all parts of the world.

Mid-afternoon, after a long trip through the port, the bus was awaiting us and took us back to Brussels. The group had some time for visiting the city a last time. 

On early Saturday afternoon, we landed back at Geneva airport where the excursion ended after five very interesting days with many impressions, new insights into political processes and company activities in international management.