From 4 to 8 December, the "Blended Total Immersion Week - Advanced Regional and Transversal Skills" compulsory elective module (FWPM) took place for the fourth time as part of the new Erasmus+ "Blended Intensive Programme (BIP)" scheme. This time it was organised at the Institut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT) of the TH-AB partner university Université de Bretagne-Sud (UBS) in Vannes. Vannes is a small town in southern Brittany with a rich cultural and Celtic heritage.
A total of 27 students from Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences and its partner universities in France (UBS), Spain (Universidad de Málaga), Finland (Turku UAS) and Sweden (Mid Sweden University) took part in the programme, which was led by Morag Champy Mc Lean from the UBS and co-organised by Prof. Dr. Renate Link from TH AB who is also the initiator of this FWPM-BIP.
The main theme of this BIP was "Risk". In business, good risk management is a key success factor. A company must identify risks and calculate the potential benefits and dangers of risks. It must also decide which risks to take, when to take them and how to deal with them. Together, the participants explored these questions and scrutinised the reasons why some people are more willing to take risks than others.
The students received input from lecturers from all five European consortium universities as well as the TH-AB guest professor Dr Meifen Chu from Kyushu University in Japan for the sake of a non-European perspective. Psychological, financial, marketing-orientated and intercultural aspects of risks, including those in industrial management, were discussed. Student project reports from UBS’ Erasmus Mundus Master's programme "Cyberus" on the topic of "AI Forecasting Applied to Financial Risk Taking" complemented these presentations. There was also a thrilling presentation by Jean-Denis Bragibant, CEO of the Vannes-based company Multiplast. In addition, the managing director of the Vannes rugby club, Martin Michel, offered exciting insights into risk assessment in rugby.
Working in multicultural teams, the students were able to apply their diverse knowledge of risk management in the online planning game "Kalypso", which was co-developed by UBS lecturer Dr Sébastien Dony. Throughout the week, the participants' task was to make and record decisions for "their" own fictitious company, a manufacturer of boat hulls. In four rounds, students had to make decisions for each quarter of the year in the areas of marketing, production, supply chain, finance and human resources. Based on their decisions, they were evaluated and measured against the other teams. In a final presentation, the students were asked to explain their decisions and reflect on the company's results. For some teams, taking risks paid off, but not for others. In any case, the term "calculated risk" stuck with all teams after the week.
Professor Link's BIP concept of "total immersion" included pre- and post-online phases, lectures and project work as well as activities that supported cultural and linguistic exchange. With this in mind, the programme was supplemented by a taster course in French and various cultural excursions. Deputy Mayor Fabien Le Guernevé welcomed the students to the city hall, which was also reported on by the local press: Report in "Le Telegramme". From visiting the weekly market to tasting typical Breton culinary specialities such as galettes and crêpes, there were numerous opportunities to experience "savoir vivre" (the French way of enjoying life). Thus, the BIP participants were able to take their first steps in applying what they had learnt during the taster course.
The visit to the "Alignements de Carnac" ("Carnac Stone Rows"), an exceptionally large collection of more than 3,000 prehistoric menhirs, provided a successful conclusion to the project week. Excursions to the marina of La Trinité-sur-Mer and the viewpoint of the picturesque town of Auray rounded off the varied programme.
The next BIP is just around the corner. It will take place from 19 to 23 February 2024 at the TH-AB partner university Universidad de Málaga – a city on the Costa del Sol known not only for its beaches, but also for its technology park. Accordingly, the Andalusian BIP will dedicate itself to a very special "Tech Challenge".
Students at TH AB can have their participation in the Total Immersion BIPs recognised as a compulsory elective module (p. 157ff.) and credited towards the additional qualification "BW/BWR with an international profile".
Further information on the current BIP of the total immersion type can be found at the following link: