Competition in the logistics industry is intense, and only innovation and optimisation are the key to long-term success. UPS, the largest parcel service in the world, is constantly developing its business. UPS Germany has now been advised on current challenges by CBS students as part of a business project in the German-language General Management Master’s programme led by Dr. Sameer Joshi, who holds a professorship in Strategic Management at CBS. Prior to the project, UPS, in collaboration with Dr. Sameer Joshi, defined eight highly relevant topics. By taking the students’ specialisations like Finance or Marketing into account, they were able to efficiently contribute their knowledge to the project right from the start. The students had the great opportunity to work on a real UPS task – and UPS had the chance to get access to current Business School knowledge and talents. A real win-win situation.
“Our goal is that partner companies of a business project receive the best possible advice from our students, and that students work independently and effectively in an authentic business environment,” says Dr. Sameer Joshi. “My special thanks go to UPS for the excellent support. During the entire project, the students had access to UPS representatives providing data and insights.”
Each topic was tasked by one team, and as a further motivation, the Business Project was also a competition: The winning team had the great honour of presenting its own proposals to the UPS German management in Monheim. UPS was enthusiastic about all eight teams’ achievements, but there could only be one winner, namely the team with Philipp Becker, Erik Dröge, Badr El Aita, Yannick Härtl and Oliver Laux.
Another very motivating factor for the students was the ambitious time schedule. Between the kick-off at the first lecture at the end of January and the final presentation at the end of March there were only seven weeks, and as in real business life, significant progress had to be presented every week. As early as in the second lecture, the teams presented their concept, which was worked out and optimised in the following weeks. Through the interaction with each other and with Dr. Sameer Joshi and UPS, plus professional coaching, all students gained insights into and were able to participate in the development process of all eight topics. Another strict and realistic requirement was that the presentations should not be longer than 15 minutes, which required precise and disciplined coordination within the team. During these seven weeks, eight sophisticated and thoroughly calculated presentations were created.
Self-organised teams, inspiring excursion
To ensure that the teams were productive from the very beginning, the students were asked to split up into teams on their own and to elect the topics previously presented by UPS. This allowed the teams to start their research on the selected topics immediately after the first lecture. But how is it possible to develop convincing consulting strategies for a company whose complex business you don’t yet know? The solution: A night excursion to the UPS Air Hub at Cologne-Bonn Airport, the largest UPS distribution centre outside the USA. Each night, around 200,000 international express items arrive, are sorted and forwarded, which allowed the students to see for themselves how demanding logistics is.
For UPS, this was not the first Business Project with CBS. In recent years, the company has had a very good experience with the work of CBS students.
Business Projects at the CBS are regular courses, which are of course also graded. In Bachelor’s programmes Business Projects are scheduled for the fourth semester, in Master’s programmes for the second or third semester. In these courses, students can put their theoretical knowledge into practice, generally based on real-world tasks specified by the partner companies. Business Projects are also interesting recruiting opportunities for companies.