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When you think of Madrid, it’s hard not to think of “Real Madrid”. The most famous European football club became Spanish champion for the 35th time this summer. “The result of work, joy and sacrifice,” said ex captain Marcelo, summing up the victory.

The students of our Executive MBA Technology Management may not have to score goals, but they will still be able to identify with this statement. During their five-day study trip to the Innovation Ecosystem at IE Business School Madrid under the motto “Data Driven Enterprise”, they strengthened their team spirit and came a big step closer to their “victory”, their degree.

Artificial intelligence and suckling pig

The agenda contained many exciting presentations. Especially the presentation by Konstantina Valogianni entitled “Latest AI Advancements and AI Organisation Maturity” drew a lot of attention. The Assistant Professor of Information Systems at IE Business School vividly explained how Artificial Intelligence works in everyday life using the retail innovation Amazon Go as an example. “The first time I shopped there, I felt like a shoplifter,” she recounted with a laugh. This is because anyone who buys their groceries at Amazon Go is automatically monitored throughout the entire purchase, so when they leave the shop, the goods are automatically paid for via smartphone. Going to the checkout becomes obsolete.

Likewise, the presentations by IE Business School Professor of Operations and Technology Management Fabrizio Salvador on “Digitalisation” were awe-inspiring. He explained how organisations need to change in order to seize the opportunities of Industry 4.0 and thus drive digital transformation.

A special lunch in the center of the Spanish city of Segovia provided the extra portion of tradition. With typical Spanish hospitality, the EMBAs experienced the traditional preparation of a regional suckling pig. One participant was allowed to cut the tender meat with a plate, which he then had to throw to the ground with a clatter. A special meal – and it tasted good, too. The cultural afternoon was rounded off with a city tour of Segovia.

Insight into modern leadership methods

Those who study for an Executive MBA are already managers or would like to become one. Therefore, lectures from the field of labour economics and human resource management could not be missing from the study trip. The lecture “People Analytics” by Professor Rocio Bonet gave insight into her research on how flexible working methods affect employees and companies and provided participants with best practices for managing employees.

Tactics, training and team spirit for good results

Like in a good football match, the right tactics are the basis for success in the Executive MBA programme. At RWTH Business School, this is specified in the course of study. The combination of self-study, discussion and reflection, and practical applications optimally prepares the participants for their “victory”. The study trip to Madrid is part of the reflection and application units, as are two further study trips to Cambridge and Bucharest. A participant of the last trip also confirms this:

“It was nice that we could apply our prior knowledge from the lectures in Aachen in the Innovation Ecosystem”

The strong cohesion and mutual support were certainly felt throughout the trip – both during the learning units and during the after-work drink on the hotel’s roof terrace. A great experience!