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Liechtenstein EMBA students visit Stanford

At the invitation of Stanford University, students on the MBA course of the University of Liechtenstein travelled to innovative Silicon Valley. 

At the invitation of Stanford University, students on the MBA course of the University of Liechtenstein travelled to innovative Silicon Valley. 

Design Thinking with Larry Leifer

Thanks to the University of Liechtenstein’s good relations with the Center for Design Research of Stanford University in the USA, students had the opportunity of attending a one-week seminar at this elite American university. The workshop focused on the concept of ‘design thinking’, a method for the solution of problems and for the development and implementation of new ideas. Design thinking shows that interdisciplinary teams, with their different experiential backgrounds and opinions, are particularly capable of developing innovations in that meet the needs of the moment.

Workshop participants attend a lecture by Professor Larry Leifer of Stanford University.

The seminar was directed by Larry Leifer, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Center for Design Research at Stanford University. In him the students had the ideal dialogue partner for this concept. Not only has he had decades of teaching experience at Stanford, he is also one of the developers and advocates of design thinking, and so was in a particularly good position to put this approach across. After hearing what he had to say about the subject, mixed groups of students tried out their design thinking skills. The objective was to get to the bottom of the customer’s real requirements in relation to products and services on the basis of direct observation, and come up with  innovative ideas to maximise the benefit to the customer.  

Visiting the Stanford University

The participants were unanimous in describing the visit to Stanford University as a unique experience. ‘The empathetic and inspiring teaching style of Larry and his team created a very positive atmosphere during our visit. Their tips and suggestions gave us food for thought, both for the professional working day and in the private life context,’ said Rocío Lobatón. She and her fellow students had the opportunity of experiencing the innovative and dynamic atmosphere of the university at close quarters, and obtained very interesting insights into the Research and Development sectors and essential nature of this American university, which regularly achieves top places in worldwide rankings of academic institutions and is one of the most famous universities in the world.

Visit on Google campus 

Google shows innovative strength at the highest level

Apart from the workshop with Professor Leifer, the students also had the opportunity of forming a fundamental impression of a hotspot for innovation, research and development –   Silicon Valley. One highlight in this connection was their visit to the internet giant Google. Google is the market leader among online search engines worldwide, and the internet can hardly be imagined without it.

After a tour of the extensive Google campus, the group had a chance to talk to three Google managers in an open discussion about the development of innovations, Google’s special corporate culture and data storage. This glimpse behind the scenes of such an innovative and rapidly growing company transformed and differentiated the participants’ views of innovative strength and its drivers. Apart from their concentrated theoretical and practical experience, the students moreover had the chance of extending their personal network through their Silicon Valley contacts.

The participants of the MBA programme at the Silicon Valley.

On the conclusion of the study trip, highly positive feedback was expressed. ‘Experiencing for oneself the pulse of the Silicon Valley spirit, with its culture of innovation and new companies, was a unique experience. We should take home a bit of the willingness to take risks and the innovative strength of the Stanford spirit, and apply it ourselves in our own companies,’ was the final summing up of the student Martin Stüssi.

New impulses for work at one’s own company

The EMBA study trip offered the students a unique opportunity of preparing themselves for the challenges of international cooperative projects and the global market. ‘The advantage of a study module abroad is undoubtedly centred on personal experience. Dialogue with people from different cultures and getting to know international firms encourages you to reflect, and gives you valuable input for your own company,’ sums up Rocío Lobatón. 

Creative group work has also been part of the programme.

In view of the major significance of international modules for good management training, the recently established International MBA course at the Institute for Entrepreneurship is also planned to include a varied international programme. The part-time in-service International MBA course consists in a variety of modules from which students can take their pick, and is designed to be as flexible as possible with a view to preparing students for challenging executive tasks – so an understanding of global markets is absolutely basic. Alongside the existing partnership scheme with Stanford University, the International MBA, which starts in October 2015, will also be offering modules in Shanghai, St. Petersburg and Barcelona. 
Workshop participants attend a lecture by Professor Larry Leifer of Stanford University.

More informationen about the study programmes

MBA Technologie & Innovation
NEW: International MBA