The recipe for international cooperation

During an intense elective course called Global Marketing, 13 students from Kirkwood Community College, Iowa, were put together with 13 Danish Marketing Management students from Zealand Institute of Business and Technology (ZIBAT) Roskilde. The interplay culminated in a mixed group examination with a specific case: Present new business ideas for the music venue and youth culture house, Gimle.

14 well-planned and intense days
13 students and two teachers from Kirkwood Community College, Iowa, arrived in May-June at ZIBAT Roskilde to follow a 14-day well-planned elective course, called Global Marketing. The American students were paired with a team in Marketing Management students from ZIBAT. The mixed groups of students would among other things explore the cultural differences in doing business in the US and Denmark.


Icebreakers, different teaching styles and company visits
The elective course was divided into three parts: Presentations on the themes entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity during the morning, company visits during the afternoon and sightseeing in the evenings and on weekends.

The first business visit to Vestergaard, which makes de-icing systems for airplanes, made a great impression on everyone: “We are looking at what looks like fire trucks with a crane on top. And the quality manager says: ‘Before we go any further, you have to try our deicer!’ So they were allowed to come up in the cab to water the trees. They all had a lot fun. It was a real ice-breaker,” says Helle Thomsen, the International Ambassador and Assisting Professor from ZIBAT Roskilde.

CASE for the exam: presenting new business ideas for Gimle
It all culminated in an exam, where the students had to develop new marketing initiatives for the music venue Gimle. Each of the mixed groups were given half an hour to present their ideas in front of the jury (shark tank presentation) consisting of the American teachers, Todd Saville and David Brandstetter, Helle Thomsen as well as Line Holm Christensen, who is marketing responsible at Gimle.

Among the audience was the Head of Zealand Institute of Business and Technology, Ulla Skaarup. She subsequently thanked all the participants in the room – and especially the American students and instructors for coming to Denmark to resume the good international cooperation between ZIBAT and Kirkwood Community College.


Group work is the new black
After the deliberation of the five groups’ presentations, the two instructors, Todd Saville and Professor and Coordinator, David Brandstetter, reflect on the international cooperation. What have their students got out of their visit to Denmark?

“We asked our students to write about their expectations on beforehand, and now they are going to write about what they have learned and experienced afterwards. I think they are going to take home huge cultural awareness. They have learned about different teaching styles, grading styles and different forms of entertainment. These experiences really help globalize them in a number of positive ways,” says Todd Saville.

“But it was so refreshing to see the positive experience, it has been for them. They have really surpassed our expectations. Our students were thrown into a new environment with different sets of instructions. It was a challenge for some of them – we heard all about it,” the instructors agree.

“In the end, it has been a learning and creative experience. A lot of good things will come out of this collaboration, also for us. We are going to borrow some things for learning also takes place for us teachers,” explain Todd Saville and David Brandstetter concurrently.

… And we were walking…
Besides digesting the experiences of their 14 day-stay in Denmark, both students and instructors will return home with aching legs and feet:

“We are not used to walk like we have done here in Denmark. Back home everything is really spread out, so all of us students own cars. Walking around like that takes some time getting used to,” says the student Garett Morling.

The instructors say smilingly: “You asked what we would take home: We will probably take a couple of blisters on our feet.”