12 Dual Degree Program in Technology & Management students traveled to Bayreuth, Germany to join students from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC), University of Bayreuth and University of Sao Paulo, Brazil to formed mixed teams and conduct technology research and market analysis to develop viable business plans for automotive industry under the mentorship of faculty from the four universities within the 10-day trip from 5 to 15 January 2014.
Students then presented their business plans to a panel of five external judges comprised of senior business executives from leading Germany automotive companies and an ex-Mayor of Germany.
While in Germany, students toured the manufacturing facilities at Brose, Continental, and New Materials GmbH all of which are leading technology providers and research institutions in the automotive industry. Students also received lectures on innovation management and business plan development from these companies. The company visits provided students with appreciation for large-scale implementations of Technology and Management disciplines in the competitive automotive industry leading the way for intelligent sustainable mobility. Students also toured several cultural and historical landmarks in Bayreuth, Bamberg, Pottenstein, and Nuremberg and thoroughly enjoyed German food and beverages.
Having many iterations of consultation with caring faculty advisors, students’ business plans were polished after 10 days for their final presentations. The winning team proposed the business plan, CargoRope, based on the need to transport large amounts of goods in developing regions. By utilizing the unused capacity of gondola cars, this proposed system might largely reduce the cost of cargo transportation and help developing local economy.
Throughout the competition, the students experienced and shared different cultures with teammates, and developed team spirit, problem-solving skills, and friendship with each other. They made great advances in opportunity analysis, business plan development, product prototyping and investor pitching skills.