The 11 students and two staff members were in Denmark to learn which elements from the Danish way of doing international business that can be used in a Ghanaian context. The one-week international business program was an integral part of the students’ MSc-degree programme in International Business at UGBS.
Learning about the PBL pedagogy
The program started with familiarizing the Ghanaian students with the PBL pedagogy, on which the program was also building. Thus, the activities aimed to link theories with practices through cases and visits to/by companies and organizations. The students also took part in a few of the sessions of the Module on Contemporary Issues in International Business; including a session on The Chinese are Coming and Internationalization, Innovation and Cluster Participation.
Visits to Danish businesses
Two study trips were part of the program, one to Grundfos where the visitors could discuss the Grundfos activities in Ghana related to securing safe water through the LifeLink project. Another tour to Frederikshavn and Skagen was co-organised with Kaj Jørgensen, a long time external examiner at AAU who’s now devoting his time to running a comprehensive network of persons, companies and organizations.
Among others, the students visited MAN Energy Solutions; Karstensens Skibsværft and Frederikshavn Kommune to learn about how Danish districts facilitate business development. Of course, the trip to Skagen also took the students to The Tip of Denmark, dipping their toes in the very cold water from the two seas.
Result of good long-term relations
The visit from Ghana is a good example of the benefit from long-term relations. AAU has had teaching and research collaboration with UGBS since 1976, when Professor Olav Jull Sørensen was a Danida expert in Marketing (1976-78) and met Professor John Kuada. John Kuada later joined Aalborg University and has since been a key person in establishing research projects with the UGBS. These projects also included PhD students and former Ghanaian PhD students are now leading figures at UGBS, including Professor Robert Hinson who initiated the students’ study tour to AAU this year.
Feedback from the students indicates that they had many “take aways” from the study tour. AAU hopes and expects that the study visits will continue. They are run on a non-cost basis for the university with the practical activities handled by Michael Simonsen at the International Business Center secretariat. The new initiative could also include a study tour by AAU students visiting one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and culturally experiencing one of the few Danish colonies in our short colonial era.