Global Applied Interdisciplinary Workshop

The workshop

The Global Applied Interdisciplinary Workshop (formerly the German-American International Business Workshop), GAIW for short, is the flagship of the long-standing cooperation between HAW Hamburg and California State University Long Beach (CSULB). Twenty-five years ago, Prof. Dr. Kellner (HAW Hamburg) and Prof. Dr. Terrence Witkowski (CSULB) laid the foundation for the workshop, which at that time was still focused on marketing. A lot has happened since then (25 Years of German American Friendship). Today, the workshop is led by Prof. Dr. Natalia Ribberink on the German side and coordinated by Prof. Ming Chen (International Business Program Director) and other CSULB professors on the American side. Each year, a current topic in international business is selected. 

Over the years, participating students have been able to get a behind-the-scenes look at a variety of companies. From UPS, Toyota, Long Beach Port and United Airlines in the USA to Philips, Siemens, Lufthansa Technik and Olympus in Germany, executives at the various companies have helped students understand how international businesses operate in the global marketplace. Natalia Ribberink is an enthusiastic supporter of the workshop, saying, 'The practical relevance of the course is an important focus at a university of applied sciences, and the German-American International Business Workshop offers students just that. Visiting companies in the USA and Germany enriches their theoretical business studies and academic experience with insights into the international business world. By having the opportunity to speak with members of the international business community, they often make important connections for their future careers. For example, US student Lexi Sage participated in 2014 and visited Volkswagen as part of the workshop. This was a key factor in her being offered a job at VW America in Washington DC in 2018. Today, she works for VW in Berlin.'

It speaks to the strength of the relationship between the universities that the workshop was not cancelled when the coronavirus pandemic broke out in 2020. Instead, it became a virtual concept that spanned a seven-week period in November/December. Under the scientific direction of Natalia Ribberink and Mark Washburn, 35 students in mixed German-American teams bridged the Atlantic and the time difference. They worked on a topic that could not have been more timely: 'Sources of competitive advantage in the digital economy.' In the process, they gained insights into online companies such as Amazon, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as the digital strategies of Nike, Volkswagen and Hapag-Lloyd. Company representatives assigned research tasks based on their corporate perspective and accompanied the students throughout the workshop.


Students in the Foreign Trade/International Management B.Sc. degree course are invited to apply for the GAIW. Workshop places are limited and acceptance is subject to certain conditions. Information about the application process and deadlines will be sent regularly via HAW Hamburg email to all students in the degree course and posted on the GAIW Instagram account. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the International coordination team.

Partner: College of Business, California State University Long Beach, California, USA

Where: Summer term: Hamburg, Germany / Winter term: Long Beach, USA

Who: Students in the Foreign Trade/International Management B.Sc. degree course

When: Summer and winter term

Contact: Prof. Dr. Natalia Ribberink

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