IABEP news releases

View our news stories to find out more about IABEP activities across the globe.


International Thesis with BASF Asia Pacific Service Center

Over a period of almost 3 years, several students of the BSc International Operations and Logistics Management Double Degree programme (BSc IOLM) operated by ESB Business School and Universiti Malaysia Pahang have completed internships and theses in cooperation with BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre in Kuala Lumpur. 

Corinna Bosse and Nenad Nedeljkovic, who received their Bachelor degree this summer, share their experience of working for the chemical company in the Malaysian capital.

After successfully completing their first semester at the Universiti Malaysia Pahang they moved to Kuala Lumpur, a melting pot of the most different cultures from all over the world.
“It is probably one of the only countries where Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists live together that well. This was also the case in everyday working life. All traditions are respected and celebrated together – that’s what impressed me the most. Indians, Chinese and Malay are the main cultures present,” Corinna Bosse explained. As the BASF Shared Service Center (SSC) works for the whole Asia Pacific Region, daily work is extremely international. Nenad Nedeljkovic describes this as a real challenge: “My biggest struggle during the internship were the so-called daily performance meeting calls with all countries from the Asia Pacific region. As I was the lucky person who had to write the minutes, I had to take notes and listen diligently to what was being said. Unfortunately, I was not used to listening to an Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and Indonesian person at the same time on the telephone. In the first call it was very embarrassing to ask the colleagues to repeat their sentences multiple times. This was part of the learning process and I eventually got used to the accents.”

Both students had a very different scope of duties.

Corinna Bosse worked for the Import Export Operations department, where she got to know a range of processes and procedures, had the opportunity to strengthen her analytical skills and gained work experience in a different cultural environment. Additionally, she supported a regional project and was, therefore, able to gain project experience. “To sum it up in a nutshell, my job was very diverse, and I got insights into different areas and functions” she stated.

Nenad Nedeljkovic spent his 6-month internship in the Asia Pacific Trading Center (APTC) department and supported the team by analysing lead times of shipments and preparing presentations as well as reports for meetings.  After one year, he returned to the Chemical Multi National Company BASF Sdn Bhd. to write his thesis. He explains: “The project was about the improvement of the Delivery Reliability (DR) and the analysis of root causes as to why shipments got delayed. It was a very interesting project for which I had to conduct meetings with colleagues, map company processes and eventually present my findings in meetings with more than 20 people. My biggest issue was getting used to the Malaysian meeting culture, where my “German clock” was not matched with everybody else’s. Meetings got postponed or I had to wait, which meant also a shorter meeting. However, after living for 2 years in Malaysia, that was no big issue for me anymore. I knew that the employees were very hard working and they did not take deadlines or being punctual too seriously as they had many other important things happening. In the end my project was successful, and the company could improve delivery reliability significantly. It makes me proud that I contributed to an improvement of the company’s performance with my thesis and I am sad to leave BASF after one year in total, but also looking forward to facing new challenges.”

This semester, the two universities, ESB Business School and University Malaysia Pahang will once again be represented by interns at BASF in Kuala Lumpur. Prof. Dr. Taschner, Dean of ESB Business School, states: “We are very pleased about the well-functioning cooperation between the universities and BASF. We would really like to expand the cooperation.”

BASF Asia Pacific Services Center, Kuala Lumpur, joined the International Association of Business Engineering Professionals IABEP e.V. in 2018. Please find further information on the IABEP Homepage: https://iabep.org/about-us/corporate-members/


Why does my co-worker behave like this?

Indonesian guest lecturer Dr. Andika Pratama taught intercultural management at ESB

Generally speaking, collectivism and individualism refer to how interdependent and independent people tend to be with regard to others in their culture. German culture is said to be more individualistic, Indonesian culture more collectivistic. But, “Germans tend to be more individualist on their social life level than on their family level and Indonesian people show a stronger collectivist orientation in their social life than in their family life,” an interesting finding from a student group in Intercultural Management taught by Dr. Andika Pratama.

Dr. Pratama normally teaches at School of Business & Management, Institut Teknologi Bandung (SBM ITB) in Indonesia. In 2018, however, he spent three months as a guest lecturer at ESB Business School of Reutlingen University.

In Reutlingen, Dr. Pratama taught “Intercultural Management” in the Bachelor programme International Operations and Logistics Management (IOLM) and “International HRM and Diversity Management” in the Master programmes International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation (IACT) and International Business Development (IBD).

The findings on cultural differences between Indonesia and Germany mentioned at the beginning, while should be understood with caution, are based on an exchange of ideas between ESB students and SBM ITB students. “The interaction perhaps means more than the finding itself. It embodies the art of intercultural sensemaking,” says Dr. Pratama.

This is one of many examples Dr. Pratama uses in class to discuss how cultural influences affect the way we work. “Sometimes we find ourselves wondering: Why does my colleague behave in a certain way? It is important to be aware that his or her cultural mindset might be the reason.”

Apart from people`s cultural mindset – what are the differences between Dr. Pratama’s permanent home Bandung and his temporary home Reutlingen? “Bandung has over 2.3 million inhabitants, it is the fifth-largest city in Indonesia (based on 2015 data) and is very densely populated. Reutlingen is more peaceful and you can walk or ride your bike everywhere”, says Dr. Pratama. But he also points out similarities “Both cities are surrounded by beautiful mountains and hills.”

Dr. Andika Pratama`s semester in Reutlingen ended in December 2018. His stay took place within the framework of the project „Business Engineering in South East Asia“ of ESB Business School in cooperation with partner universities in South East Asia. The project is sponsored by the DAAD with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In the context of the international guest lecturer programme, ESB Business School regularly welcomes lecturers from abroad.


BASF Asia Pacific Service Centre joins the international network IABEP e.V.

BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre has become a member of the International Association of Business Engineering Professionals IABEP e.V.

To date, students of the BSc International Operations and Logistics Management degree programme have been able to carry out their 6-month internship at BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Now the cooperation between BASF and the participating universities is to be intensified. 

BASF Asia Pacific Service Centre is located in Kuala Lumpur. The shared service centre has nearly 700 employees and provides functional services in the areas of Finance, Controlling, Information Services, Human Resources, Environment, Health & Safety, Procurement and Import-Export Operations Services to more than 60 BASF companies and affiliates in 17 markets across the Asia Pacific region. BASF has three other shared service centres located in Berlin and Ludwigshafen in Germany and in Montevideo, Uruguay, that cover Europe and the Americas.

BASF Asia Pacific successfully cooperates with the degree programme International Logistics and Operations Management (IOLM) from ESB Business School and University Malaysia Pahang. In this double degree programme, students spend two years in Reutlingen at ESB Business School and two years at the partner university in Malaysia. As part of their studies the students complete an internship in Malaysia. “The 6 month internship at BASF in Kuala Lumpur was the ideal addition to my studies. This gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the Malaysian working world and get to know intercultural differences. A big difference are the longer working hours, which you don't realize because of the especially pleasant working environment and my individual projects and tasks,” recalls Nenad Nedeljkovic, student of the BSc. International Logistics and Operations Management (IOLM), who completed his internship at BASF in Kuala Lumpur and is now writing his thesis.

Sarah Chen, Talent Acquisition of the BASF Asia Pacific Service Centre in Malaysia reports enthusiastically: “We were recommended by one of our previous interns, who is a student of ESB Business School, to join the IABEP e.V. as a corporate partner in order to support collaboration and exchange on Business Engineering topics. At the same time this partnership allows us to bring in students from Germany who are keen on gaining international learning experience by completing their internship in Malaysia”.

It seems to be a win-win situation for both sides, what is exactly the idea of the international network IABEP e.V.. It brings together academia, industry and practitioners from all over the world.

IABAP e.V. is very happy to welcome BASF as pioneer of technologies to the association. Please find further information on the IABEP Homepage: https://iabep.org/about-us/corporate-members/


General Assembly meeting of IABEP 2018

The general assembly of the International Association of Business Engineering Professionals IABEP e.V. gathered for a second time on 26th November 2018.  The chairman, Prof. Dr. Andreas Taschner presented the annual activity report, members voted in the executive committee for the coming years and took a decision on the membership conditions for the next year.  

All members of IABEP e.V. from industry and academia are invited to participate in the annual general meeting. The current focus is mainly on South East Asian countries, although the other partners are committed to initiating activities in their regions. A key activity this year was the International Business Engineering Conference (IBEC), which took place in conjunction with the ICMEM Conference on the island of Bali. The theme of the conference was “Business Engineering and Industry 4.0 in a Global Economy”.

IABEP aims to bring academic researchers and industry partners together. An important next step is identifying an international team of experts in the fields of Business Process Management Information Systems, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Production Management, Operations Management and Industrial Engineering, Global Leadership and Human Capital Management, Performance Management and Business Intelligence.

During the meeting the executive committee for the association was re-elected.

The members of the general assembly also voted on the possibility for individuals to become members of the association. So far, IABEP has only accepted corporate and academic members. However, a strong interest was expressed by individuals coming from Asia to become a part of the association.

An important new development is the broadening of IABEP’s focus towards discussing and solving business and engineering problems in manufacturing industrial companies. This definition allows IABEP to cover a wide range of topics and services for manufacturing industries across different functional areas. This will require closer involvement of faculty from different schools and disciplines at all of the international universities partnering in the consortium.  

The general assembly closed the meeting by agreeing on the following goals for 2019:
a broadening of the corporate membership base, the successful completion of joint projects, the implementation of an IT platform to document cases and a further one to help initiate and support project collaboration between partners, comprehensive research projects across the regions and joint projects in the Asian region on business engineering. Until the general assembly comes together in 2019, the individual working groups will continue working together to achieve these ambitious goals.



Two IABEP-Partners realize a double degree programme

ESB Business School and University Malaysia Pahang provide wide-ranging international experience

By: Petra Greiner, Lena Jauernig

White beaches, lush tea plantations, bustling Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia is renowned for being an exotic holiday paradise. But what does it mean to plunge into everyday life in Malaysia for two years, far away from the tourist hotspots and with heart and soul?

“Authentic“, is how Theresa Stöhr describes the experience. The ESB Business School graduate is one of the five students to complete the “Double Degree Track“ in the Bachelor International Operations and Logistics Management (IOLM).

If you choose this option, you spend two years in Reutlingen and two years abroad. For Theresa and the other four double degree pioneers this meant two years of studying and completing an internship in the partner country Malaysia. “What attracted me was the totally unfamiliar, fundamentally different culture“, recalls Theresa. 

Studying at the University Malaysia Pahang

In preparation for the new country, its culture and language, the group attended a weekly course in culture and language in Reutlingen. In August 2016 the adventure started. The first stop was Kuantan, a city with half a million inhabitants in the hinterland of Malaysia. This is where the University Malaysia Pahang is situated.  

“In Kuantan you feel the cultural influences more strongly than for example in Kuala Lumpur. Life is more rural and shaped by religion. This is also demonstrated in everyday university life“, says Theresa Stöhr. Male and female students in separate halls of residence, lectures that fit in with Muslim prayer times and a ban on alcohol, cigarettes and pork on campus. Unusual for German students.  

Despite all the cultural differences the group enjoyed their time in their temporary home. “The people in Malaysia are open-minded and friendly to foreigners. Since our group altogether consisted of seven German students on campus, we were often approached and spoken to and soon made friends. I soon got talking to other international students, particularly from Bangladesh, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and other countries“, reports Simon Funken. 

Practical semester a big Asian city

The booming region South-East Asia plays a major role in the global logistics industry, making it a fascinating environment for our aspiring business engineers. The five IOLM students moved for half a year to the metropolises Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown/Penang or to Singapore.  

“The working atmosphere was pleasant although the working times in Malaysia are on average longer than in Germany“, recalls Theresa Stöhr, who completed her internship at BASF in Kuala Lumpur. She also wrote her bachelor thesis at BASF in Kuala Lumpur. For her and all the others taking the Double Degree Track the bachelor thesis abroad is an integral part of her studies.

Double degree completed and ready for the job market   

Theresa, Simon and the three other Malaysia pioneers have now successfully completed their studies. Last Saturday at the graduation ceremony of ESB Business School they received their double degree certificates. The five business engineers have gained much more than just a certificate, however: with their wide-ranging international experience and their skills in business and technology they are now ideally prepared for the world of work.


The 2nd Business Engineering Summer School

Cuckoo Clocks and Industry 4.0

In early September 2018 students from IABEP member universities School of Business and Management, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Universiti Malaysia Pahang and International University Vietnam arrived in Reutlingen, Germany to participate in the Business Engineering Summer School. The event was organised for the second time by ESB Business School, Reutlingen University.

Accompanied by their lecturers Prof. Pri Hermawan PhD (SBM ITB), Dr. Ridzuan bin Darun (Universiti Malaysia Pahang) and Dr. Ho Thanh Vu (International University Vietnam) the 30 students spent a week on campus at ESB Business School. The programme offered a mix of input lectures and excursions, but the focus of the participants was on the group task competition. In a simulation, the five teams were assigned with the following task:

“Develop a strategic proposal how our two companies can jointly take advantage of Industry 4.0 concepts and tools in order to further improve the performance of our supply chain (=efficiency and effectiveness of our collaboration).”

During two company visits to Festo Didactic and Wiha Werkzeuge GmbH, the students had the chance to gain insights and useful information to solve the task. The excursion to Wiha was combined with a boat ride on Titisee in the Black Forest. The participants were thrilled by the beautiful landscape and some even bought cuckoo clocks as a souvenir for their families at home.

“We had fun and the whole week was an extraordinary experience. We did not only gain new insights and a broader perspective of business and management, but we also learned how the different cultures and different working styles affect the working environment and the group”, summarised Tuan, a third year student at IU Vietnam.

The BE Summer School 2018 is part of the project „Making Business Engineering (BE) happen in South East Asia“. The project is sponsored by DAAD with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is an initiative of the undergraduate programme International Operations and Logistics Management (IOLM), which offers its students a double degree option in collaboration with a partner university.


by Petra Greiner


Business Engineering and Industry 4.0 in a Global Economy

International Business Engineering Conference 2018 (IBEC)

How can companies succeed in an environment that is marked by increasing digitisation, a globalisation of supply chains and increasing complexity in business relations? And how does business engineering as a cross-disciplinary approach help businesses deal with this situation?

At the International Business Engineering Conference (IBEC) that took place in Bali, Indonesia from 9 to 10 August 2018, around 60 experts from all over the globe came together to discuss these questions.

After they had already successfully organised an International Business Engineering Conference in 2016, IABEP partners decided to launch a second edition of the event in 2018. “The IBEC conference is the perfect platform for exchange of information, knowledge and needs among corporate, academic and government representatives in the field of business engineering. Against the backdrop of the rapidly developing economy in South East Asia, such an exchange is critical”, according to Prof. Dr. Nur Budi Mulyono, Lecturer at School of Business and Management, Institut Teknologi.

The IBEC conference 2018 was opened by I Made Mangku Pastika, Governor of Bali. In his keynote speech, he emphasised the significance of industry 4.0 concepts for Balinese tourism.

Prof. Dr. Hendrik Brumme, President of Reutlingen University, together with his colleague Prof. Dr. Hazel Grünewald then went on to share their views on how key technologies impact the current business and academic environment. An important point that was highlighted is the critical role human beings play in the fourth industrial revolution, whether as managers, employees, customers or general stakeholders. Their speech was followed by a panel discussion of academic and business professionals.

On the second conference day, a series of workshops shed light on various aspects of the potentials of business engineering in the age of Industry 4.0. Topics ranged from Business Models and Processes to Automation and Robotics, from Supply Chain Management to Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. Experts from Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, UK and USA provided input on the latest developments in their field.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Taschner, Dean of ESB Business School and Chairman of the IABEP association reflects on his conference participation: “The complex problems that business engineers are faced with cannot be discussed in a short paper presentation only. As all IABEP partners share the goal of being practice-oriented and business-relevant, the workshop format at IBEC provided the ideal framework for an in-depth exchange between business representatives and scholars. We have learned a lot about what keeps companies in the region up at night and what kind of solutions and support they are looking for.”

The conference organisation was managed by Indonesian IABEP partner School of Business and Management, Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). “One personal highlight for me was certainly the unmatched hospitality of our ITB colleagues and the perfect conference organisation on site. This was the best advertising IABEP could hope for”, stated Taschner.

While this year`s IBEC conference has closed successfully, the IABEP partners will not lean back now: “Longer-lasting relationships need to be established, the ideas exchanged during the workshop need to be translated into projects and joint initiatives. The work actually starts now”, says Taschner.


TEDx UMP Pahang

On 14th August 2018, UMP Pahang, academic partner of IABEP, held the TEDx UMPahang event entitled “The Time is Now”.

The theme was a call to the public that now is the time to take assertive actions themselves for change to occur. All the speakers made a call for action to take small steps to improve the lives of others. It was important to plant this seed into the mind of the audience and encourage them to believe that one can achieve great things to change people’s lives. All it takes is endeavour and perseverance.

Prof. Dr. Hazel Gruenewald, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at ESB and currently visiting professor at UMP, was invited to speak at the event. Having navigated across multiple disciplines, sectors and countries, she understands how critical adaptability and resilience are in today’s global and volatile world. In her talk, she discussed the importance of developing self-efficacy and resilience in students before sending them out into industry. Her own experiences inspired her to develop a simulation game, Quest 3C, originally for business engineering students. Through gamification, she confronts students with complex, real-life challenges they will face in the field to help them learn and grow.






Innovation from abroad

Guest lecturer Martin Grossman visits the MBA International Management Part-Time programme

By: Philip Scherer

During the two attendance weekends in May 2018 in the MBA International Management Part-time, the programme was pleased to welcome guest lecturer Professor Dr Martin Grossman. The professor from the Reutlingen partner university Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts lectured for the two weekends on Innovation Management at ESB Business School. In a relaxed manner he vividly conveyed sound specialist knowledge from his field to the students and was available for in-depth discussions during the breaks.

The MBA International Management Part-time programme reoriented itself in winter semester 2017/18 and has become more international. In addition to increasing the proportion of subjects taught in English to 50 percent, the modules at the partner universities abroad are now carried out in integral partner programmes. This also enables foreign students to attend courses of the BA International Management Part-time programme.

Furthermore, contact seminars have been added to the degree programme, which in addition to the lectures held during the classical attendance phases at weekends take place in the evening during the week. Since this semester the contact seminars have taken place completely online via Adobe Connect and can be accessed by the students from anywhere in the world.

Professor Dr Martin Grossman, who taught in this semester for the first time at ESB Business School, will come to ESB Business School again next semester to lecture on Innovation Management during the block week. 

The next application deadline for the MBA International Management Part-time degree programme is 15 June.


Double visit

Guest lecturer Dr Yudo Anggoro and students from Indonesia at ESB Business School

By: Katrin Reil

Fascinating, interesting and a completely new experience was the verdict of the five visiting students from the School of Business and Management at the Institute Teknologi Bandung (SBM ITB) who visited ESB Business School at the end of April as part of an excursion on  ”Cross Cultural and Conflict Management“. A tightly packed programme awaited the group which they completed partly together with German students from the BSc International Operations and Logistics Management programme. Lectures and discussions with expats alternated with excursions in and around Reutlingen as well as a visit to TUBEX, a packaging manufacturer located in Rangendingen. After a week the students drew a positive conclusion in an interview with Professor Dr Andreas Taschner, Dean of ESB Business School. The only thing that needed getting used to in Germany was the weather which at 15 degrees was springlike by German standards but clearly too chilly for the Indonesians.    

Dr Yudo Anggoro also experienced the contrast to Indonesia’s tropical climate. He not only led and accompanied the student group from SBM ITB but is currently staying for a longer time at ESB Business School. He is also from ESB’s renowned partner university and is Deputy Director of the campus in Jakarta. At SBM ITB his teaching and research activities include business ethics, business leadership, business economics and cross-cultural management.

From March until the end of May Dr Anggoro is teaching at ESB Business School in the three degree programmes BSc International Operations and Logistics Management, BSc International Business and BSc Production Management. His lectures deal with intercultural management, international organization and human resource and organization behaviour. He has noticed distinct differences between German and Indonesian students:  The study trip of the Indonesian students to ESB Business School had many benefits, as they learned a lot about German culture and work ethics, e.g. about the efficiency of the Germans in using their time, the direct communication in Germany and how regulations were strictly implemented in the society in terms of transportation, education, and small-medium scale industries. On the other hand, the German students learned about the Indonesian culture during class activities and interaction among them. They learned that in terms of decision making, Indonesian people prefer to have a consensus building since the society values collectivism more than individualism. This practice of sharing among students who have different backgrounds is good to understand each other's cultural challenges. The interaction between Indonesian students and IOLM students went well, as the IOLM students are so nice and they happily introduced the German culture to the Indonesian students.”

The international atmosphere at ESB and the support he has received from the Dean’s Office and colleagues helped him a lot when starting in Reutlingen, Anggoro says. And with a twinkle in his eye he adds that his temporary home also has other advantages: ”Reutlingen is a typical German city where the population is not that large but you can find almost everything in the city. It also has some cultural spots where people, especially foreigners, can interact with local people. The foods are nice too, and I have tried the delicious local Swabian food here.“

As part of the international guest lecturer programme ESB Business School regularly welcomes guest lecturers from abroad. ESB and SBM ITB will intensify their relations in the future by offering a double degree programme.

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