Energy Efficiency

In this week’s blog entry I will be putting a few perspectives out there on the concept of Energy Efficiency. Energy as we all know is becoming ever more topical and important from both a business and societal perspective. The demand for energy is only increasing and the supply is struggling to keep up. So it is high time that we begin using the energy we have wisely and efficiently!

Energy efficiency; many people talk about it, fewer practice it, and those that do don’t always do it very well! You may be asking yourselves, “Energy efficiency, isn’t that where you install a few sensors to switch devices on and off and where you put in a few energy saving light bulbs to lower your electricity bill?”

“Jein” would be the answer, as energy efficiency is a whole lot more, much bigger! You need to adopt a big picture outlook or in management speak a so called holistic view on the topic. Don’t get the wrong idea; I am not going to be writing about how we are going to save the world in the following paragraphs.

Energy is used everywhere in our society to produce, transport and provide products and services. A holistic approach to energy efficiency involves thinking about how much energy you consume not only directly but indirectly as well. Considering direct consumption of energy is easy; lights, T.V., stereo, heating, air conditioning, transportation and computers. Considering indirect is quite difficult and not always given much thought; unnecessary consumption of products and services, wastefulness, purchasing exotic products that have been transported a great distance, and don’t forget datacenters which support all our online activities.

How are we going to get there?

A mind shift is currently slowly in progress, due to all the energy hype! Trying to not waste energy by switching devices off and installing energy efficient devices is part of the solution. But the really difficult task for all of us is trying not to buy products that we do not really need! Moreover the biggest impact will only be seen when there is wide spread installation of measurement devices that can tell us each individually how much energy we consume and what precise impact that will have on our wallet, community, society and environment.

Thought is key in becoming more energy efficient, and we students, as educated thinkers and the future leaders of industry in this world should think in a more sustainable manner and be careful of not conducting ourselves in a fleeting and thoughtless consumption-orientated manner. It is this adjustment in our own and others behaviors which will help us not only become energy efficient and sustainable but by doing so will ensure that the human race inhabits this world longer than the dinosaurs did.


Strategy and Organization

Hello again. This week I am going to tell you a little about my specialization Strategy and Organization. This specialization is really the reason that I came to this school. I had my first experiences dealing with strategy in my bachelor studies as my capstone class was based upon strategic management. I discovered that I really liked the topic and decided later to expand more into the subject by doing an internship in strategy consulting with Arthur D. Little. Out of all of the experience that I had before I have to say that I rank the time there as the best experience that I have had till then. So needless to say I was excited when I saw that the European Business School was offering a specialization in strategy and organization.

Now that I have begun the semester and have seen where the specialization is headed as far as course content is concerned I must say that I am not disappointed. The literature that we are working with is top of its class, and there is even a real live consulting project integrated into the course. The module is actually broken into four sections: a seminar paper, the field study, a strategy class, and an organization and governance class. The range of the classes is definitely going to make this specialization a challenging but rewarding program which I expect to take a lot from.

The professors of the classes are very knowledgeable about the subjects and are able to effectively utilize real world situations and content to convey the theoretical concepts and principles. They foster a class atmosphere that stimulates productive topic discussions and debates, which really contributes to the learning process. The thing I probably like the best about the class is the level of interactivity in addition to the discussion topics. I would definitely recommend the specialization and the teachers to prospective students especially if they are interested in the area of consulting. See you next week.


My First Week in Spain

My semester started at the very beginning of the New Year 2010 on January 7th. Because the date was so close to Christmas, I was not able to arrive in Barcelona a long time before university started. My first day was an introduction day where we got most of the important information about the university, the lectures, and about Barcelona in general.

From the second day on we started with our normal lectures and courses, and it did not take long for me to find out the first differences between the system here and the system at the EBS. A very obvious difference was the size of the university; there are around 5,000 to 6,000 students here, which people here say is a small university!

Generally, the whole system is more similar to high school. In the lectures here there is a maximum of 30 students. In every subject we have two two-hour lectures and one exercise group a week, which means most of the learning is done in class. Additionally, our participation during the lectures and our weekly homework (!) make up around 30%-50% of our grades in most of the subjects. The only difference which is not similar to my time in high school is the times our lectures start. As all of us know, punctuality is more important in Germany than in the majority of the more southern countries in Europe. Our lectures don’t ever start before 10 minutes after the official time they are meant to start. Well, viva España!!!


Getting Organized

Well, it was a long day but productive day today. I woke up this morning and decided that it was time to get organized. One of the main skills that one must bring to the European Business School is a high level of organization. Our program is set up in a way which inspires rigorous and detailed self-management. We have a lot of deadlines and an irregular class schedule that forces students to pay close attention to timelines and appointments. I think it is great preparation for the challenging scheduling of true working life, and it is once again a display of the multi-faceted education that is provided at our university.

Today I started off by collecting and organizing all of this semester’s class materials and allocating dates and deadlines to my calendar and to-do list. I organized my emails and setup up computer folders to make a place for everything to go. I try to pay attention to making things easily accessible and easily findable. It makes no sense to have information and material if you can’t find it. It always seems like a daunting task when you first look at the large amount of material, but once you establish order it all becomes much more manageable. I think the best way to go about organization is just to start doing it. Diligent organization is probably one of the most helpful tools when it comes to being successful at this school. I must say it is always astounding to see just how much of an impact good organization actually has. It really makes my life much easier when I have a good perspective over all of the things I have to do.

I must say that since I arrived at EBS I have sharpened my personal organizational skills considerably (even though I had considered myself organized before I came here). I am sure that I will look back upon my days here and appreciate the organizational skills that I have developed. I guess the next step of the process now is to leverage my newfound level of organization and get to work. See you next week!


Why I Chose to Study Abroad in Spain

Currently I am an exchange student at the UPF (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) in Barcelona, Spain. You might be wondering how, out of all the countries in the world, I decided to come to Spain. The first decision I made was to go to a Spanish speaking country because I am studying Business Languages. Finally, I wanted to get my Spanish skills to a standard where I would be able to speak fluently. Additionally, I had already been to Spain several times and enjoyed the culture and the mentality of the people a lot. The open-mindedness, the music and dances, the food and the laid back and generally sociable attitude of the people are some of the things I really enjoyed.

Regarding my choice of university in Spain, the UPF is the second best business school in Spain and is a short distance to the beach-- in addition to the good weather. These were factors that made it even easier to decide to come here. At the end of the day, the semester abroad is not supposed to be solely about academics but also a time where we as students are meant to experience different cultures and different systems of learning. It is a time where we are able to meet new people, where we have to show that we are able to adapt to new surroundings, and where we have to learn to organise ourselves and be more independent.

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