Dominik Schopf

Student at the Silesian University in Opava, School of Business Administration in Karvina, Czech Republic         

When I came back from my working stay in America in the penultimate semester of my university studies, I immediately had an interesting opportunity to take part in another project called ECMT+, taking place in Wildau, Germany. I did not hesitate and I immediately filed in an application. A couple of weeks later I was accepted. Then it was time to prepare, pack and embrace this next challenge in life.

“What kind of challenge in life? It’s just another trip, covered by our university,” my friends said. Yes, at first glance it may sound like yet another trip, but the opposite was true. The ECMT+ program can open your eyes to many things.

The most important finding that I brought back from Germany is that work in an international team is both very enriching and at the same time very demanding. This is due to the significant differences in the so-called “mindset” of each member of the team. In my team I worked with students from Poland, Germany, France and Scotland. Every nationality, or its citizens, have a different mentality, opinions, behaviour, level of English, etc. As I have already mentioned, everything has its positives and negatives, but for me in particular the work and everyday contact with these different opinions and mentalities was the most enriching experience.

In addition to students from different European countries, our team was coached by two professors, French in the first week and Scottish in the second. While the first coach had to help the team clarify the initial ideas, strategies, and goals that needed to be developed during the two-week project, the second coach had a much easier job. At first, he listened to the provisional results of our work, and then, thanks to his professional experience, gave us valuable advice to ensure success in the final presentation before a professional jury at the end of the programme. In just two weeks, of course, no one could expect a functional business model or a good marketing strategy. But I am sure that everyone has done a lot of good work and every participant learned something new. I have personally tried in practice some interesting methods that I can apply in the future when setting up a business, which is my lifelong dream and goal.

Several times during this intensive program, each participant had to leave their comfort zone, whether by presenting in front of a lot of people in English (which did not matter to our Scottish friends) or validating the problem right in the streets of nearby Berlin. We have taken lots of valuable experience home from Germany, and also many experiences and new friends. And who knows, maybe even future business partners. Each participant knows the needs and opportunities of their home market, and therefore the creation of a joint (global) business sounds very tempting. Only time will tell if we are going to do such a thing in the future. Wish us luck!