University of Cologne


1. How does the host university differ from NUS?

University of Cologne has long history and was funded in 1388. Although it was closed in 1789, it was open again in 1919. The university is an open campus with very big green fields.

The Doing Business in Germany – Automotive program is the emersion program that focuses mainly on the automotive industry. There are broad selections of company visits, excursions and academic seminars. We only spent 2 days in the University of Cologne. The rest of the time we visited multiple cities (Cologne, Nürburg, Frankford, Berlin and Munich) in Germany. The learning was very rich in the understanding of automotive industry, Germany culture and geography.

2. What strong points does our School have compared to your host university?

1). World class facility and Professors
2). Strong academic requirement in the modules
3). The Asia perspective

3. What strong points does your host university have compared to our School?

1). Focus on the automotive industry2). Partnership with corporations and industry experts to share the real life practical lessons with students:

a). Corporate visit to Ford and BMW
b). Talks and sessions with the automotive industry experts, Economic professors, automotive associations, policy makers and consulting firm
c). Visit to Nürburgring and sessions with its operation VP
d). Case and presentation related to the automotive industry in Europe

3). Rich experience and exposure to the culture and attractions in multiple cities (Cologne, Nürburg, Frankford, Berlin and Munich)

4. What expenses did you incur at the host university for one semester?

Estimated Breakdown of Expenses:


Estimated Expenditure (S$)

Airfare (Return Ticket)


Travel & Health Insurance


**Program Fee (€ 2450)



– (Covered by Program fee)



Books & Stationery


Miscellaneous (Eg: Local transportation, phone calls, postage, student visa, medical report)


Others (Eg. Extended stay for 7 days, airfare for tour of Italy and France, etc) Please specify here:

100 (Weekend Trip)

600 (Extend Trip in Europe)



5. Testimonial for website (4 to 5 sentences)

a) Attach favorite photo at PU

Doing business in Germany –Automotive program is a great learning trip. I learnt real life case studies from best automotive companies e.g. BMW, Ford, and industry experts. I also had great experience travel around Germany and Europe.

6. Please type a TWO page report of your personal experience in the host university.

a) Your overall experience overseas (initial cultural shocks that you encountered, lifestyle, about the university, academic aspects)

b) What you learned from the exchange program

c) Your advice and suggestions for future exchange students designated to go to that university

Germany is the country that I always want to visit. The German football team is the one of the best in the world and many German companies are leading the innovation. Germany is famous for its automotive industry. The Doing Business in Germany – Automotive program is an excellent chance for me to learn the German automotive industry. The daily schedules were well organized to maximize experience from different aspects of the industry.

Regarding the culture, the Germany people are serious about the commitment on time. Even the bus and train timing are accurate according to its schedule. Everyone is planning ahead and reach early to avoid being late. The other observation is that everything is in good order. The country is well organized with good infrastructure in both the cities and rural countryside. Among all countries I visited after the exchange program, Germany is the most organized country.

The Brexit session was a very memorable experience. During the visit to Ford Niehl plant in cologne, we had the interactive session with the senior management. The discussion was on the strategic implications of Brexit. We were given the tasks to present the action plan after Brexit came true in the evening of 23rd June 2016. My take away was that advanced preparations for critical events is very important to manage company risk. Because this event (i.e. the surprised Brexit voting result) has serious impact to the Ford’s operation and business in Europe. The management team had done great job by accessing the risk 6 months before the vote and hedging the risk. They did not only avoid the potential loss due to the surprise, but also generated significant return to fund the adjustment of its operations.

I learnt that German automotive companies invest a lot on the research and development to continuously innovate. In Ford Merkenich, we visited the advanced porotype design facilities, e.g. VR CAVE. We had a guided tour of the highly automated assembly line for the BMW 3 series in Munich.

In addition, we also had the historical and culture enrichment. There are tours for Reichstag building, Bundestag, Jewish Museum and Berlin Wall etc. The hotels were selected to be walking distance to the attractions. Therefore we can go to historical site easily by ourselves. In the weekend, some of us made a day trip to Heidelberg to explore the natural scenery and famous castle.

I have a few suggestions for the future exchange students: Firstly, buy air ticket early. We may find discounts for the return flight tickets to Germany if we book the tickets 3 months ago. Secondly, the transportations during the program are fully covered. The public transport within cologne is also free once we have the student ID card. Lastly, the weather can be a bit cold in May period. Hence you may want to bring some warm clothes.

– Ding Wei, 2016 Intake