THM MBA Alumni Day 2016: Pilots in Stress Situation, US-European Relations, new Value Added for Alumni and MBA Students and a lot of Networking


On the 15th of October 2016 at Klassikstadt, Frankfurt Main, the 11th Alumni Day of THM MBA School took place. A great location with the flair of an old, completely renewed factory where we could admire sport cars of the last generation, like Bugatti, Lamborghini, McLaren, Maserati and Ferrari, and wonderful old-timer cars of different epochs. From Mercedes 190 SL through Porsche competition, Alfa Romeo Sprint, Lancia Fulvia, VW T1 Bulli, Citroen 2CV and the legendary VW Beatle. All perfectly restored by experienced car mechanics and upholsterers, whose workshops are located in the Klassikstadt.


Not only was the location perfect. This Alumni Day sets records:

- Over 50 participants - record for this format
- 10 students from our partner university in Bergamo from a course of 13 - another record.
- Great speakers: the journalist and TV moderator Don Jordan and the airline pilot Philip Keil. 


Of course, there was plenty of time for networking, which is maybe the most important part: meeting the old fellows and make acquaintance of the alumni of the other courses. 


The Alumni day started with the interesting speech of Philip Keil, an airline pilot who decided to put his experience in managing difficult circumstances on an airplane at the service of everybody who is interested in making use of it in every day’s situations. If you are a pilot, your machine is failing during the flight and you have a couple of hundreds of persons on board you have to decide what to do. The biggest problem is that you receive many inputs from instruments, control tower and your crew and you have to decide what to do. Everybody is telling you something and you are the only person who has the yoke in his hands


The strategy is simple. Better said, it is simple for trained people. FORDEC: Facts, Options, Risks and benefits, Decision, Execution, Check. The most important thing is that the pilot enters in his mental “sterile cockpit”, putting aside all thoughts and noise in his brain, focusing on the only things that count in that moment: Aviate, Navigate, Evaluate. 


Don Jordan well known journalist and former correspondent for  CBS News, Voice of America, The Guardian as well as Deutsche Welle gave an interesting speech that highlighted the different cultures in the US and Europe. Although the origin of US-Americans is (still largely) European, the mentality is quite different. Therefore, Europeans look at the same facts with different eyes than Americans. The speech went into a discussion with the alumni about US elections and TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).


Most Europeans would not vote for Mr. Trump and prefer Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Jordan, who has been living in Germany for a long time, thinks European. He tries to explain why the election campaign is so close: “Anyway, Mrs. Clinton does not give a true image of herself and therefore is not able to really catch the voters.” This is the main reason of the almost 50-50 situation that we well know from the press. It reminds me of the topic “authenticity” from the leadership module of the MBA course.
TTIP is also a difficult topic. Europeans and Americans see things differently. This is the reason why they could not reach an agreement on even one single point of the TTIP proposal. Mr. Jordan - thanks to his long TV experience - could master the discussion in the room, which confirmed the different points of views on the two shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Again a reminder of the “cultural differences” discussed in the MBA module leadership.

Between the two guest speakers, THM Business School and THM MBA Alumni Association awarded Mr. Martin Heinz, CEO iTAC Software, for the best master thesis of the MBA course XI. Mr. Heinz presented his thesis “The potential of Industry 4.0”. He evaluated the need for new “on demand” business models, products and IT-services within the MES (Manufacturing Execution System) software business, driven by industrial demand and technology changes.


His prize was a free of charge participation of a module at the Baltic Management Institute (BMI), the new international partner of THM MBA Business School.


The prize for Martin Heinz was handed over by Prof. Dr. Joachim Sandt, co-director of the MBA-program, who gave an update on the MBA program at THM Business School. First, he gave information on the MBA XIV course that successfully started in October 2016. Then he gave information on the new cooperation with the Baltic Management Institute (BMI, Vilnius, Lithuania). BMI is a business school for business executives. Since its founding in 1999, it has developed more than 5000 executives through its programs. BMI now works on three continents – North America, Europe and Asia - as a partnership of top international business schools. BMI’s programs include Executive MBA, Executive education solutions (e.g. leadership and decision-making).


A group of BMI EMBA students and alumni Visited our MBA in the summer to attend the module “Innovation and Industrie 4.0”, also offered as an additional service to THM Business School MBA students and alumni. 


The cooperation enables the THM MBA program to offer value added for THM alumni and current MBA students. For the first time, from 25th to 27th of May 2017, a group of 25 THM alumni and MBA students can participate – free of charge – in a module in Vilnius: “Doing international business in and out of Lithuania.” There will be guest lectures and company visits with managers’ presentations.
Furthermore, starting now MBA students and alumni can take part in modules of the MBA program at BMI. Alumni will be charged a fee of € 300. This tuition fee will be used to set up a scholarship sponsored by the THM Business School MBA. Thus, THM offers not only content within the two-year MBA-program, but also after it. The additional offers were very well received by the alumni.
In-between: networking, networking, networking. Lunch and coffee breaks offered a nice opportunity to exchange opinions and make acquaintance, surrounded by nice old and new cars.

What is the best way to conclude a beautiful day? With a nice dinner of course. We met in the evening at L’Unico Restaurat, Frankfurt, and tested delicious Italian food.

THM Alumni Association thanks Prof. Dr. Joachim Sandt and Prof. Dr. Jan Freidank (Directors of THM MBA Business School), Mr. Guido Gloy (THM MBA course I) for their active help in the organization of the 11th THM MBA Alumni day. The good cooperation between THM Business School and Alumni Association was one of the main reason of the success of this event.
Many thanks also to Prof. Dr. Mauro Cavallone (Director of International Sales and Marketing Master, Bergamo University) and his students for the participation.



- Stefano Cevenini 

Chairman THM MBA Business School Aluni e.V. 



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