Fifth day of the connectUS 2016 Preparatory Seminar

Joint FRIDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2016

High-ranking guest speakers and a career fair at the FHNW in Olten!

On our last day of the Preparatory Seminar all four International Student Projects came together to participate in the joint Friday. The FHNW International Student Projects Insight China, Focus India, connectUS, and explore asean hosted a career fair for their participants. Students had the chance to get in touch with potential national and international employers. After an interactive case study organized by their Main Joint Partner Blaser Swisslube AG; Heinz Karrer, President of economiesuisse, and Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Director of SECO, visited the FHNW and held captivating speeches.

Thanks again to all the companies that supported us today during the Career Fair. A special thanks to our partners Blaser Swisslube, EF Education First and Sapient.

Fourth day of the connectUS 2016 Preparatory Seminar


Elevator Pitch workshop (Project team // connectUS 2016)

Imagine you meet Mark Zuckerberg in an elevator and you have 30 seconds time to introduce yourself in an original way so that you will leave an remarkable impression and Mark wants you to work for him.

For this reason we had this morning a workshop featured by our project team about the elevator pitch. They started with general explanation about its content and how it works.

Further they showed us an example with do’s and don’ts when performing an elevator pitch as well as how you should structure your speech. Within the structure it should be a clear understanding about the goals, experience and the unique selling proposition or better said, what makes you special. The most important things about the elevator pitch are its content, how it is delivered and then in the end the following up.

Usually the time of the performance of an elevator pitch can vary between 30 – 60 second and the goal is to persuade someone within a short time from your skills, your person and maybe increase job opportunities in the end.

In general it can be said that it is really important to know that you can’t use the same pitch twice and you need to tailor it to the relevant occasion as well as to the company or project you are applying for.


The Evolution of Digital Media (Cristina Riesen // Seedstars)

Christina Riesen works as an entrepreneur at Seedstars, a company that aims to have an impact on people’s live in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship.

Through the example of „be like bill“ the stickman who went viral on social media – she explained how big the impact of every one of us can be on social media. Never before it has been so easy to approach, motivate and engage people to a certain topic as it is for us today using social media. This underlines the great possibilities new technologies bear.

She also compared the exponential growth of global mobile data with a tsunami that is going to hit us soon. For companies it is really important to see this as an opportunity and not to underestimate the power in the world through technology and digital media.


Finally she told us about the trends for the current year which goes towards Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Streaming Services with the Original Quality Content. The starting point of all new developments should be based on the needs and personal preferences of each individual aiming to enable an unforgettable consumer experience.

Finishing her inspiring presentation she shared one key message with us: „Be bold, believe that we can change the world, think big and make an impact. Together we can change the world“.

The fourth day of the Preparatory Seminar ended with a reflexion session were the participants of the seminar week had the chance to give a feedback to the project team.

Third day of the connectUS 2016 Preparatory Seminar


On the third day of the Preperatory Seminar we have been on the road to visit the US Embassy and Swisscom (Headquarter).

Importance of the US – Swiss Relationship (Suzan G. LeVine (Ambassador) // Embassy of the United States)

Today we had the great opportunity to visit the US Ambassador Suzan Le Vine with her husband Eric in their residence at the Embassy of the United States in Berne. Suzan Le Vine took up her position as the United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in June 2014.

Suzan started her talk with a focus on the currently running presidential elections – obviously one of the most important topics in the United States right now. She focused on how the election system works, also compared to Switzerland. She additionally explained in detail what the important factors are to really make an advantage to other candidates. One of them is to successfully start and continue grassroot movements: Build small communities of candidate supporters which then spread the candidate’s message to as many people as possible.„It’s a marathon, not a sprint“, as US-ambassador Suzi LeVine says.


Further the ambassador highlighted the importance of the economical collaboration between Switzerland and the US and answered question regarding her work with the elaboration of apprenticeship programs in the United States.

We really want to point out that it was a honor for us to visit the Embassy of the United States in Switzerland and we are sure the connectUS delegation will remember this morning as very inspiring and we feel humbled to had the opportunity to meet such an experienced, energized and powerful woman with a great husband at her side.

Human Centered Design with Company Visit (Alexander Farga and Sabine Hug // Swisscom)
In the afternoon of the third day of our preparatory seminar we were warmly welcomed by Sabine Lengacher at the Swisscom headquarter in Bern. Sabine works as an Intern at Swisscom’s HR & University Marketing department and led us into the holy halls of creativity, more exactly into the brain gym. The brain gym is one of the creative meeting rooms on the „Human Centered Design“ floor. Their employees have the possibility to discuss, present or exchange ideas in a very pleasant environment.


The following company visit with an introduction into the „Human Centered Design“ was hold by Alexander Farga and Sabine Hug. They showed and explained us how the philosophy of the Human Centred Desing has influenced the arrangement of working areas for the employees. The tour gave insight into a culture which is highly influenced by the values of an open communication, being innovative and creative with the import principle of giving constructive feedback.

But being innovative and seeking for creative solutions that are based on the needs of the consumer, go beyond the borders of one department. They have one big meeting room that is designed to offer workspaces so that project responsibles of different departments can work together. They are also free to rearrange the rooms, depending on their needs. Offering such an working environment helps that employees are able to be close to each other, increases their exchange and fosters innovation.

The concept of Human Centered Design where first applied at the Swisscom office in Sillicon Valley and we are absolutely excited now to have the chance to do a second company visit during our onsight trip in San Francisco in March.


Second day of the connectUS16 Preparatory Seminar

The second day was full of creativity, interactive presentations and useful insights of does and don’ts in the US.


Creative Workshop (Jean-Philippe & Ursina Hagmann // Innopunk)

The second morning of the preparatory seminar was featured by the guest speakers Jean-Philippe and Urisna Hagmann of the company Innopunk. Before starting the workshop with the students, he gave a brief introduction about what they aim to achieve with their startup company and why they think its important to be a rule breaker to be a pioneer or a game changer in a market. They also gave definitions about what these terms mean to them and how this has an impact on the approach of your innovation management.

Creaive Workshop

Giving some background information about how our brain works, gave us an understanding of how we can overcome the self-perception of not being able to come up with creative solutions. The whole morning was very exciting, puting into practice what we have learned undertaking an innovation process during our group work session by ourselves. Finally, we were all very proud of the results we were able to achieve in such a short time.

It was a pleasure to do this workshop with the great team of Innopunk!

Consulting as a Key to Success (Chris Hawkes & Gene Mysen // Sapient)

This afternoon our session started with Chris Hawkes and Gene Mysen from Sapient. They showed our delegation today what consultancy really is and why consulting is a key to success. And further they spoke about sapient as a work place after graduation.

DSC_7534Sapient founded in 1990 is a consulting company that delivers innovative integrated solutions to clients all over the globe while expanding skills, working and socializing in a supportive work environment.

Gene and Chris explained consulting as a business that provides professional expert advice and helps among other thing to improve profits, proof costs, reduce risks. In practice it means that business value is created by understand the strategic impact, quantifying business value and finally it is an act of a trusted advisor.

The guest speakers stated that there are four different stages in the approaching of problems; namely structured thinking, story boarding, slides and writing design and finally delivery. But in todays presentation the focus was on the first stage of the structured thinking since this is also useful for us in other context for example when writing a thesis.

In the last part of the presentation Chris and Gene gave us some fascinating insight into the work culture at Sapient and why it would be a big chance for us to work at Sapient. Finally they introduced the delegation to their campus program that is directed to graduates who wants to gain first insights into the consulting field.

Do’s and Don’ts in the US (Margaret Oertig // FHNW)

DSC_7544The last presentation of the day prepared the delegation members for the upcoming onsight trip to the US in march, telling them which topic areas they have to consider while being abroad. It’s very important to take into consideration the political correctness and avoid topics that are related to gender, country of origin or military service, as they can be perceived as discriminatory. Always pay attention to the friendliness while interacting with each other and be aware that in other countires the perception of what is seen as friendly may be different than in Switzerland.

Margaret Oertig was also able to give us some good input about which topics are specially recommended for networking with people from the US. Her last advice she could give us for the trip was to start accepting uncertainty. Changing the mindset can also bear great opportunities.

First day of the connectUS16 Preparatory Seminar


The Preparatoy Seminar week 2016 started with a varied agenda including three very interesting presentations. We would like to do a review of what we have learned today and share with you the most important insights we gained today.

Influence of a Positive Appearance (Corinne Staub // ONE)

During the first presentation of the preparatory seminar of Corinne Staub from „ONE“ we got some great insights into the business world in terms of appearance.


She transmitted her statements involving members of the delegation to show how you can build up trust or how you have to correctly introduce yourself. She designed her presentation on a very interactive way, including a pleasant mix of theory, examples of experience in real live, funny anecdotes and gave some historical background to explain where some current customs come from.

Furthermore she highlighted the importance of preparing yourself about who you are going to interact with and which message you want to transport with your introduction. It’s important to have a tailored description of yourself that is short and meaningful and will be reminded by your conversational partner. You have to walk your talk and know your magic sentence. Additionally you have to consider the environment you are in, as habits, values, customs and does and don’ts depend from the environment or country you are in.

We all were very glad about her concrete dress code recommendations as well as her explanations about how to deal with rank, gender, and age in a business context. We now feel well prepared for all upcoming events and aware of the impact of our appearance.

Work Culture @ Google (Javier Bargas // Google)

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to follow our road of talent focus and could happily welcome Javier Bargas from Google Zurich as a speaker. Javier Bargas who calls himself a Zoogler (Google employee from Zurich) works as a Staff User Experience Research Manager and gave us some really interesting insight into the work culture of Google and how the hiring process is handled.


Free Food, a gym at your disposal, no fixed working hours and a creative working environment with space to relax and treat yourself. Why not?

For Google the most important thing is that their employees enjoy their workplace and have a good life at the workplace since this improves the employees‘ output. Therefore several incentives are given to their employees.

Furthermore Javier Bargas introduced the delegation to Google’s interview process. They seek the smartest people of the world and therefore their hiring process is quite unique when compared to the hiring process in Swiss companies. Almost the entire hiring process in Google lies on the shoulders of the employees. And just on the final stage HR gets involved.

Personal Success Story (Christine Ledergerber // Ledergerber Hinderling Consulting)

The closing presentation of the day was hold by the guest speaker Christine Ledergerber who shared her personal experiences of the establishment the startup company Power Plant, that aims to establish themselves on the solar panels market with their project called „Marine Solar Islands“.

Everything started in 2010 with the inventors vision of Thomas Hinderling, a very well known and recognised nuclear phisisist, started to share his vision of a revolutionary solution of floating solar panels. The concept Marine Solar Islands brings solution to three prevailing problems countries with land scarcity, high rates of water vaporation and scarcity of electricity sources face.

Sharing her experiences and personal success story was a great example of how challenging the establishment of a startup can be even if you have a great idea. Being a visionary is very difficult, because you are confronted with a lot of challenges you have to be able to overcome and constantly adapt your approaches with every new insight gained.

You need to be resilient and patient enough to take all the steps needed, identify the window of opportunity it, be supported by a network that backs up your project and well prepared to be able to deal with intercultural differences.

She gave adequate recommendations if you want to successfully establish yourself as an entrepreneur, taking in consideration the defiance’s of operating in foreign markets.

connectUS 2016 – Preparatory Seminar

During the one-week intensive preparatory seminar, expert guest lecturers offer a thorough overview of doing business in the US as well as an insight into social and cultural aspects. Our three main roads of success namely PIONEERING, TALENT FOCUS and GAME CHANGER will also be reflected on the agenda. Among other things we will gain deep insights into the work culture of a well-known US company, participate in a special boot camp and learn about the influence of digital media.

The highlight of the week will be on Wednesday where we do company visits. During the morning we will have the unique chance to visit the Embassy of the United States and hear about the Swiss relationship with the US.


Last but not least we will end the Cross-Cultural Learning Week with the joint Friday, where all the participants among all projects come together. This day will offer great and unique possibilities to exchange with participants of the other projects as well as the opportunity to get in touch with companies during the career fair.

We are looking forward to welcome our partners as well as all participants of the preparatory seminar soon in Olten.

Cross-Cultural Learning Seminar Week

Welcome to our Cross-Cultural Learning Seminar Week

We are happy to offer students and lecturers from our ASEAN partner universities the unique chance to be a part of our Cross-Cultural Learning Seminar Week from February 8, 2016 to February 12, 2016 in Switzerland. This week creates a great opportunity for students and other interested parties to build up networks with different companies, lecturers and students as well as to receive first-hand information about how to do business in the examined countries.

We are looking forward to many applications. Deadline: 31 December 2015!

All information concerning the Cross-Cultural Learning Seminar Week and the application process can be found in the booklet below:


Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any questions.