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German 390 Students Explore Diversity in Contemporary Berlin

Submitted by Stephanie N. Welch on June 22, 2016 - 9:51am
Slide from Eric Zhu's Berlin start-up project
Slide from Eric Zhu's German 390 project

For the German 390: Excavating Diversity in the Metropolis Berlin course (taught by instructors Kye Terrasi and Andre Schuetze), students were asked to collaborate on a final group project focused on diversity and contemporary Berlin.  Leo Thom, Marilyn Moehlmann, Steve Benaloh, Sam Scherer and Eric Zhu chose to examine the burgeoning startup scene in Berlin and created a truly excellent project that showcased meticulous research on startups that was flawlessly condensed into their presentation of an accessible and engaging business model for their own company.  The students captured what is unique about Berlin as a location for new business innovations and highlighted the role of diversity in Berlin startups.  Through their exploration of diverse areas and companies in Berlin, the students demonstrated why studying this city is relevant beyond the classroom and academic setting.  Erich Zhu reflects on his group's project:

Being a business major student at Foster School of Business, I am always interested in learning more about other cultures from a business perspective. Before I took German 390, a class that comprehensively covered the development of Berlin, I had heard that Berlin is a new hot spot for IT startups. During this quarter of learning about Berlin, the reason why Berlin is growing as a startup hub became more and more clear. Berlin's history, traditions, and culture make this city unique compared to other metropolises. Berlin is a perfect combination of the traditional German practicality and progressive German creativity. Inspired by the unique characteristics of Berlin, when we initially took on this project, we decide to include both this kind of practicality and creativity in our presentation. As a result, "Pear" was created based on the successful startup pioneer in the Silicon Valley, Apple. We constructed the presentation with a clear logical flow, representing the business practicality. To show creativity, we created the Pear logo based on the Apple logo, assigned each member of the group a role in the company, and presented our project as an actual pitch for a startup to the class.  This project about startups of Berlin gave our team a perfect opportunity not only to explain why Berlin is becoming the new Silicon Valley, but also to demonstrate what a Berlin startup is about. (Eric Zhu)

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