This article first appeared in BTS Issue 2.
Through the TU Berlin VIEW Programme, eight of us took off for eight weeks to experience an international education beyond just technical knowledge, diving into innovation, entrepreneurship, human-centred design, business and leadership, all while soaking in the rich culture of Europe’s “Cheap but Sexy” start-up capital, Berlin.
By Tanvi Ravindra Thombre, Sophomore
Engineering Product Development
Over two months, we took three different courses:
Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
Developing the Idea
We rediscovered design thinking from a European perspective, and rethought the process of investigating opinions, defining pain points, and developing human solutions. With more emphasis on developing the idea than on delivering a tech-focused prototype, our international and multi-disciplinary teams were encouraged to approach familiar problems from new angles. We had a really great time stepping out of our comfort zones, from interviewing Germans out on the streets, to experimenting with new brainstorming techniques, and finally to pitching the group’s idea to a real venture capitalist!
Start-up Crash Course:
Idea to Reality – Developing the Business
Offering a peek into how start-ups are formed in the real market, this course gave us free rein to add some business meat to our personal start-up ideas. We were first guided through a few sessions of multi-pronged soul-searching to find the overlap between passion, ability, and service. After finding a workable business idea, our eyes were opened to the multitude of complex business considerations that go into the realisation of any start-up. This course allowed us to develop our own individual ideas into business propositions which we then pitched to a panel of real angel investors and venture capitalists! Our greatest takeaway? The start-up founder’s mantra: Team, Product, Market!
Leadership in the Entrepreneur’s World:
“Why should anyone be led by me?” In search of the answer, we dug deep into each other’s past experiences as leaders and followers, as we learnt about the four different types of intelligence as well as effective team building and decision making. Along the way, we spoke to entrepreneurs from the top 10 start-ups in Berlin, and even got to visit their offices! At the end of the two weeks, we each walked away with a personal leadership development plan that will see us through our future endeavours.
I loved the TU Berlin VIEW Programme. The eight weeks passed by in a flurry of school, new friends and new activities. We learnt about our international friends’ countries and got different perspectives from them. Listening to guest speakers who were dedicated to their start-ups was very inspiring as it made us think about what we could do with our lives as well. It was a whole new world exploring Berlin after school, from abandoned airports to spy museums.
Being in Europe, we had all the freedom to explore our neighbouring countries every
weekend (from a miniature wonderland in Hamburg to towering mountains in Switzerland
to concentration camps in Poland). We love you SUTD (and Ms Fideilis who came to visit
us) and TU Berlin (and your very nice Summer University team)!
Post-it till you make it