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Rewarding study visit to industrial companies

ABB, Sandvik Coromant, Scania, Ericsson, Hitachi Energy

Published Apr 20, 2023

In March a total of 50 master and MBA-students visited seven industrial companies in Sweden including KTH´s strategic partners ABB, Sandvik Coromant, Scania, Ericsson, Hitachi Energy as well as Alleima and Northvolt in a collaboration between KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Students visiting ABB in Västerås.

The collaboration included students from the Global Modular Course at KTH and Understanding Sweden: Focus on Innovation and Operations from The Wharton School.

Collaboration started in 2020

For more than 10 years, The Wharton School has strategically exposed students to real cases globally. Johan Blaus, responsible for strategic partnerships at KTH at the time, was first contacted by The Wharton School in 2020, and was, together with Luca Urciuoli, Associate Professor at the Department of Industrial Economics and Management at KTH, responsible for the visit.

- When it became clear at the beginning of 2020 that the course could not be carried out in China as in previous years, Sweden came up as an option since two of the teachers have connections to Sweden. They got interested in KTH's strategic partners and reached out to KTH and me, says Johan Blaus.

Added value for both students and companies

Luca Urciuoli whose courses cover the areas of logistics and supply chain management, purchasing, but also risk management, and operations, says that the students that join these courses come from different programs, mostly production engineering and management, sustainable production management, and industrial management. The study visit added value to both the students and the companies.

Isabel Freitas.
Isabel Freitas.

The focus of the visit was sustainability and innovation, and in addition to taking part of new advanced technology at the companies, the students were given challenges to carry out.

- This course presented my group and I with an astounding opportunity to develop a strategic plan for Ericsson, aimed at addressing the supply chain disruptions currently affecting the company. Working with MBA candidates from The Wharton School and visiting all these companies proved to be an extremely enlightening experience, says Isabel Freitas, one of the master students from KTH.

Bharghav Ganesh
Bharghav Ganesh.

- The industrial visits were a highlight of the program. I had the pleasure of gaining first-hand exposure to state-of-the-art practices in business and engineering followed by leading firms. Additionally, I had the chance to connect with industry professionals who were more than willing to answer my curious questions, says Bharghav Ganesh, master student at KTH.

The students worked in groups with hands-on cases provided by KTH industrial partners. Group meetings went well, despite different time zones, and students' deliverables were high-level and, hopefully, practically relevant for companies, says Luca Urciuoli.

Karthikeyan Dhanapal
Karthikeyan Dhanapal.

The outcomes were impressive, and seeing the student's engagement and motivation has been rewarding.

- The visits were great opportunity to witness first-hand how the businesses operate and what makes them stand out as a successful company. Also, it was great to be accompanied by knowledgeable personnel from the Wharton management school, who provided a unique perspective that an engineer might not typically observe, says Karthikeyan Dhanapal, master student at KTH.

Continued cooperation

Planning for next year's collaboration will begin before the summer of 2023, but before then evaluations will be made with both KTH and The Wharton School as well as with the companies.

- The ambition is to set up a course at KTH, so that collaboration becomes part of the curriculum, says Johan Blaus. On March 31, the students presented their assignments to the companies.

Text: Malin Nordin Bartlett
Top photo: ABB