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Thorsten Schulz

Thorsten Schulz Profile Picture

Germany
INT Graduate 2014-2015

 

"A thoroughly stimulating and inspiring international environment"  


Thorsten Schulz 1What were you doing before you came to Warwick?

Up to 2014, I was studying in Germany for a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and Business Economics. That gave me a good grounding but I felt that I needed to develop my skills and knowledge further. In particular, I wanted to build my international experience and understanding of technological innovation in today’s industries.

Why did you choose to join WMG?

I did want to travel and study within a different culture, so I looked at universities as far afield as Asia and South America. WMG really appealed to me though, mainly because of the modules and structure of the International Technology Management course. It was different to most MSc programmes that focus on in-depth theoretical learning. The WMG course was far broader, giving insights into a diverse range of areas that focus on both business and technology. I felt that I would be able to develop a wider knowledge base and enhance my understanding of internationally operating businesses.

What were your first impressions of Warwick?

The large campus and modern facilities were impressive, but what surprised me most was the people. I expected mostly British students but there were individuals from right across the world. My course alone had 25 students that included ten different nationalities. Learning about people’s diverse experiences and approaches was a very important aspect of the course for me. Everyone was really friendly too, which made my time thoroughly enjoyable.

Thorsten Schulz 2Did you enjoy your course?

Academically, it was extremely interesting. I particularly enjoyed the visiting tutors from companies like British Airways and consultants from different industries. This helped me see how the theoretical knowledge I gained could be applied in real situations. Another important thing is that there are no exams to sit. After a week’s intensive study for each module, we had four weeks to complete our post-module assignment. This helps to build a more in-depth understanding of all facets of a subject.

Did you find the group exercises enjoyable?

They were not only enjoyable, but added hugely to the learning experience. I would call it ‘learning by doing’ rather than by listening, which is very powerful and seems to embed the information much more deeply. In the Product Development module, I worked as part of a team to develop a system to help people deal with jetlag. It was rewarding to discuss things as a group and bring everyone’s different ideas together. The project was great fun and working with people from other cultures replicated the real-world experience of collaborating in an international environment.

What was your dissertation subject?

It was a cultural assessment of virtual reality supported communications. I used the Oculus Rift headset in combination with the Second Life virtual environment to create a place where teams who cannot meet because of geographical constraints could communicate. This offers a far more immersive and ‘present’ experience than the phone or Skype for example, with fewer distractions. I wanted to explore how different cultures would react to this new and immersive environment in respect of the ‘unified theory of acceptance and use of technology’ (UTAUT) and the concept of presence, so I invited British and Chinese people to take part. People’s reactions were absolutely fascinating and there was actually little difference in perception between the two groups, though the British did feel more ‘present’ within the virtual space.

Thorsten Schulz 3What did you do when you left Warwick?

I travelled back to Germany and began looking into graduate traineeships in manufacturing industries and starting positions in consultancies. One that particularly appealed to me was with Gambit Consulting, a company that helps businesses develop world-class ERP systems. I joined them two weeks ago as an Associate Consultant. It’s a great company working in a rapidly growing area, and I’m really enjoying my time here. What I gained at WMG has helped me to quickly fit into a commercial environment – not least the self-confidence, presentation and English language skills I developed.

Is there anything else you would say to someone who’s thinking of studying at WMG?

I think it’s important to enjoy all of the extra-curricular activities on offer at Warwick. There are lots of things to choose from – sports groups, societies, clubs and more. As part of the WMG Society, I organised and ran different activities for students, like a trip to Alton Towers and the end-of-year ball. It’s good for people to get away from the academic aspect of life occasionally and enjoy socialising and having fun!