The German-American International Business Workshop

The German-American International Business Workshop is an important component of the International Curriculum offered by the College of Business Administration at California State University, Long Beach.  Typically, a group of 10-20 German undergraduate and master’s students from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences visits Long Beach in November, and a similar group of Long Beach students travels to Germany the first week of June.

Whether held in Long Beach or in Hamburg, the Workshop consists of a get-acquainted dinner, two days of student seminars, visits to local businesses, a farewell dinner, and social activities.  Students make their own travel arrangements and, as a cost savings, stay with a host in Long Beach or Hamburg. 

Over the years we have heard presentations at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Fender Guitars, the Getty Center, JetBlue Airways, Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Long Beach Transit, Mattel, the Port of Long Beach, the Queen Mary, UPS, Toyota, and United Airlines among others.  In Germany we have had meetings at ExxonMobil, Gruner + Jahr, Hamburg Airport, Hamburger Hochbahn, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Lufthansa Technik, Olympus Europa, the Otto Group, Montblanc, Philips, REpower, Siemens, Vattenfall, and a number of other corporations.

The Workshop began in November 1993, with the arrival of the first inbound group of Germans.  The first Long Beach class went to Germany in June 1995.  Terry Witkowski, the late Wilm Pelters (CSULB German Studies), and Joachim Kellner (Hamburg-Marketing) organized these initial Workshops.  Other CSULB participating faculty members have included Ming Chen (Management), the late Paul Frantz (Business Law), Kenji Klein (Management), Sabine Reddy (Management), the late Clyde Stoltenberg (Business Law), Dana Sumpter (Management), and Mark Washburn (Management).  Other Hamburg faculty members have included Werner Beba, Natalia Ribberrink, Horst Seider, and Annette Schikarski (all in Marketing).

When CSULB students go to Germany, they enroll in “short-term study abroad” courses – CBA 494 or, for graduate students, GBA 694 – during Spring Semester.  Typically, the class meets about 15 hours in Long Beach for orientation sessions, lectures, and group project assignments and then for 30 hours of activities in Germany.  When the Germans come, Long Beach business students receive extra credit to participate. 

Students have enjoyed Workshop events and the opportunity to interact directly with students from another country.  Some have subsequently come to Long Beach or gone to Hamburg for an entire semester.  And so far the Workshop has resulted in at least one German-American marriage!