Written by Anita Ferrara
What a week! The FHNW international student projects (ISP) had an inspirational week filled with highly interesting speakers, interactions and workshops at company visits, and much more. To successfully end this year’s preparatory seminars, the ISPs came together on a joint day to mingle and interact across the ISP projects.
Friday started off with the Career Fair, where many of our partners presented tailor-made offers for FHNW graduates. Alongside, speed interviews were conducted for pre-selected students and quick CV checks were offered as well.
Sustainability: Do we walk the talk?
In the Aula of the FHNW in Olten, all the students gathered for an interesting panel discussion on the very current and important topic of “Sustainability: Do we walk the talk?”.
During the talk, various interesting and different opinions have been raised by every attendee, consisting of Michael Diaz (Head of Investment at Alternative Bank Schweiz), Sibylle Kuhn (Sustainable Finance Consultant at Inrate), Prof. Dr. Michael von Kutzschenbach (Lecturer at FHNW), Mevina Caviezel (Head of Sustainability at Senova Switzerland) and Andri Silberschmidt (President Jungfreisinnige Schweiz). The panel discussion was moderated by Michael Jeive (Head of the International Student Projects).
The discussions not only addressed sustainability in terms of ecological aspects but also in the economic sense where mostly the highly regulated banking sector hinders an effective approach towards waste reduction. Furthermore, Andri Silberschmidt also pointed out the failure of sustainability-related laws, when it comes to the implementation of it in the political system. All in all, every participant agreed on the necessity that a restructuring of business models is essential in order to gain a higher sustainable value. Additionally, everyone can contribute to a sustainable work and living environment by finding his or her personal motivation and passion.
“Start today! Start with one thing, start with being carbon neutral. You can do that by reducing your number of flights and reducing meat consumption. One important thing is to make one small step!” – Michael Diaz, Head of Investment at Alternative Bank Schweiz
Last but not least, all participants offered suggestions and shared their personal effort in reducing waste and creating sustainability.
The panel discussion definitely encouraged students to reassess their behavior and attitude towards sustainability and will hopefully foster more engagement in this topic.
Final speech with Marco Gadola, CEO of Straumann AG
Marco Gadola, the CEO of Straumann AG, closed the ISP preparatory seminar 2019 with his fascinating speech and presentation “From dire to driver-a real-world business case”. Mr. Gadola, a big believer in corporate culture, provided us with motivating insights into Straumann AG, a dental implant company and how the company had achieved an enormously successful strategy change since the economic crisis in 2008. Straumann has long been known as a high standard brand with impressive heritage, however, the Straumann Group was facing a significant drop in its share price back in 2008. As a result, the company decided to reconstruct its strategy as well as improve the corporate culture. In 2013, a new “close-to-customer” strategy was launched for Straumann. At the same time, Straumann started to target to unexploited growth markets and invest in emerging markets.
The success of Straumann was due to not only the improved strategy but also the corporate culture that the company established. According to Mr. Gadola, corporate culture is in fact the base for sustainable long-term success and also the most relevant driver for innovations.
His final advice to everyone was that we should not stay in our comfort zone but in order to achieve progress and learn, we need to step out of our comfort zone and grow.
..and to close the week, our Apéro!
With the apéro at the end of the day, everyone could wrap up the week, which was packed with motivating speakers, cultivated country insights and exciting company visits. The apéro riche was the perfect opportunity to network with other international project member and alumni to tell them about the experiences made during the preparatory seminar 2019.