Studying an International Module in Cape Town ( South Africa).

As part of our International experience in the MBA program, as students, we can select where to attend two modules of our lectures,  Cape Town ( South Africa) or Brisbane        (Australia).

Although both are incredible cities,  many of us have selected to study during two weeks in Cape Town, considering this city as one of the most important cities to do business in South Africa and also it is the strategic city for many companies to expand their business in Africa.  Besides that, the landscape in  Cape Town is a combination of mountains and beaches, where people can feel immersed in its history and the African culture.  I would say that it is one of the most well located and beautiful cities in South Africa.


RADIO CAPE TOWN – Marketing Manager

During the classes, we assisted to some conferences in Radio Cape Town related to the marketing strategies that they are using nowadays for its brands. We had an outlook about the way that this industry works in South Africa.

As well as, we had the opportunity to share with some entrepreneurs that are located in some vulnerable areas of Cape Town as Khayelitsha. They have spoken about their experiences as an entrepreneur in a city with high social differences and their strategies

Sharing his experiences as owner of http://www.departmentofcoffee

implemented to be able to create a business with few resources.

These experiences allowed us to be aware of the reality in many developing countries and understand the living conditions that many people have to face in South Africa, and as result, the entrepreneurial spirit that most of them develop in order to contribute with the society.

It was a really good experience, first, because we got an overview about South Africa, its economy, its conditions, its needs and let us compare and think about possible business opportunities between Germany and South African. Second, because we had the opportunity to share with local people and to understand the way that they think. Third, definitely is a city where we had a lot of things to do, beautiful parks to do sports, restaurants and bars to explore the African culture, and definitely, the happiness and charisma of the people stood out.


The long-expected FESTWOCHE!

Since I arrived in Kempten, everybody was describing one of the most important events in Kempten and Bavaria: The FESTWOCHE. It´s third- largest regional fair in Germany which attracted almost 180.000 people this year.  This is a traditional festival quite similar to Oktoberfest. The visitors wear the beautiful traditional Bavarian clothes (dirndl and lederhosen), the waitresses carry up to 6 glasses at the same time and beer and typical food as Schweinebraten (roasted pork), Würstl (sausages), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles) and Brezen (pretzels) are available everywhere.


Allgäuer Festwoche 2017.



This event takes place every year during one week in August.  I was quite impressive how many people arrived every day from different cities to enjoy this festival.  I was three times there, drinking beer, eating pretzels and drinking a traditional beverage called  Vierspurige (Red wine, White wine, Sprite and Water)…..


Lichterfest Allgäuer Festwoche 2017.


This festival is not just to drink beer. Outside the tents, the are some small stalls selling everything from candy, waffles, popcorn, Oktoberfest clothes, and souvenirs.  In one of those days, there is a special event with lights and concerts during the night called The Lichterfest. It´s a great moment to share with family and small kids

It was a really good experience… Now, I´m ready to attend Oktoberfest!


Alba Carolina Vargas

International Student / MBA 2018.


Biking in Allgäu.

After an intensive class week, we decided to go out for a ride and enjoy the wonderful weather. As expected, the area‘s network of cycling paths was extremely well marked which allow us to enjoy easily Allgäu and its lakes, mountains and meadows.


The landscape on the way to Niso See.

Our destiny was Niso ( Niedersonthofener See), located one hour and a half far away from Kempten. It’s one of the famous lakes surrounded by green forests were Bavarian families use to swim, rowing, sailing and surfing.

As there are some supermarkets on the road, we bought some “snacks” to prepare a picnic.  The place was plenty of people, kids and adults were sitting around, taking a rest or playing football or volleyball near to the lake.

Although at the end of the day I was completely knackered  It was a perfect plan in the middle of the week. We were enjoying the nature, riding a bike, swimming, eating and practising our breathing exercises as our Leading-self lecturer recommend us (jejeje)….

Doubtless, It was a break from our daily routine to unwind and de-stress.


Alba Carolina Vargas,

International Student, MBA promotion 2018.



Kempten: A City for International Students who love travelling!

Ulm(Germany)- June 2017


I have been living in Kempten during the last four months.  As it´s my first time living in Germany I try to travel around whenever I can.  I really love travelling and it´s better with friends, specially If they have different nationalities. Although, all of us are studying the MBA Programm, we are in different Semesters and tracks. So, the only way to meet us together is out of class.  In the last Month, Angeles from Argentina, Tuan from Vietnam,Andrea from Hungary and me ( from Colombia), decided to go to Ulm for first time.

Kempten is strategically well located in Europe. Driving to Switzerland, Austria or Liechtenstein   takes less than one hour. The lowcost flights  from the nearest airport (Memmingen) to different destinations in Europe are also amazing. Train facilities as Bayern ticket and bus connexions are also some  advantages for us, as international students.

In a few months, I have traveled to diverse countries and German cities. I really enjoy living and studying here, because I have  flexible timetable and class schedules that allow me to organized some plans out of the city with my adventure buddies!.

We are thinking about our next summer destination…

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Salsburg (Austria)- May 2017.

Alba Carolina Vargas,

International Student, MBA promotion 2018.


Cross- cultural Leadership: Your culture + Our culture: My culture.

First day of class in Germany – March 2017.

It has been one year since I started to study in the southern part of Germany. I would say that in the first six months I was facing a cultural shock and then I tried to develop the way of how to handle it, how I can adjust myself to my new environment. Cultural shock is defined as a sense of confusion or the feeling of not knowing what to do or how to do things in a different culture. To help you to avoid feelings of anxiety or fear I will share my insight of cultural differences that as international students we have to be aware of.


It is not just about drinks as colabier ( beer+coke) or radler (beer+limonade ) that German people drink or about hot chocolate with cheese that Colombian people eat ( many people are curious about how we can eat it) jejejeje.

The next lines are about leadership dimensions that can be identified in both cultures.

In Germany, the society is highly individualistic, which means that they look after themselves and their close family ( parents and siblings), which usually is quite small. Their communication is really direct, following the idea of being “ honest, even if it hurts” because this is the way people can learn from mistakes.

In my lovely country, Colombia the society lies amongst the most collectivistic cultures in the world. It means that aligning yourself with that group’s opinion as well as sharing time with our family are really important.  And as a family, we consider our parents, siblings, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.. This is more than 15 people, at least in my family.  Regarding the communication style, it is indirect because we want to avoid conflicts and maintain harmony.

On the other hand, while the majority of German people are task oriented, the majority of  Colombian people, as part of Hispanic culture are relationship oriented.

What is that? Imagine that you have to develop a task in a group in one hour. In the group of task-oriented members they would develop the task in 50 minutes in a productive way, but probably at the end they would not know whom they were working with. While, in the relationship-oriented group, they would start networking and the task would take a back seat. Sometimes, they request 5 minutes more in order to complete the task. They are more interested in the people involved.  This is my experience working with both cultures.

Although I could continue listing the differences, I want to highlight that both countries are driven by competition, achievement and success. Both cultures have given me the courage to develop my values and my personal and professional potential. It enabled to understand Cross-Cultural Behaviours and that no culture is better, none is worse.

If you study or work in Germany, I would recommend you to keep the values from this culture that you consider important for your development and to create a new culture within you.  Once, you have selected these values,  I invite you to close your eyes and create an emotional connection from your heart to people from your original culture that you love( family, friends, couple…). It will make you feel safe and as a human being if you feel safe it will be easier for you to perform in a different culture.  Repeat this exercise, once you experience anxiety, fear or if you feel you are “out of the group”. Be aware of your self- identity and self-respons-ability.

Just by understanding our own culture, other cultures, and their potential positive or negative impact we can recognize the cultural differences and then, we are able to determine what to do and act appropriately in order to get the best result from ourselves in a new environment. People who practise it, they work on their cultural intelligence, which is considered as an important characteristic of professional leadership.

Finally,  I would like to express my sincere appreciation to PhD Mark Baker who is the lecturer of the seminar Cross-Cultural Behavior and who has supported the international students greatly in the MBA program.

Alba Carolina Vargas
International Student ( Colombian)/ MBA  class 30.