IM Medley: Info on AI for businesses + an apero

So is AI something for my organisation? (Photo: http://freedomandsafety.com/en/file/ai-businessjpg)

Combine gaining some insights into current business topics with socialising and networking.

On 22 February, from 6pm, Prof Dr Kaspar Riesen presents a dynamic mini-lecture on Artificial Intelligence (OVR building, Campus Olten. Room  OVR A013 ). An apero follows.

Big data and machine learning has been on everyone’s lips lately, and many companies are wondering if and, most importantly, how these topics could be used to their advantage. In this mini lecture, the topics of machine learning and artificial intelligence are vividly presented and possibilities and limitations of this specific field of research are discussed, including some case examples from current consultancy.

Kaspar Riesen, IT-consultant and lecturer (Photo: © Adrian Moser)

Kaspar Riesen received his MSc and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Bern in 2006 and 2009, respectively. His research interests cover the fields of artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, machine learning and data mining. Kaspar Riesen is the author of two unique books that present thorough introductions to the field of structural pattern recognition. Moreover. his list of publications includes 17 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and more than 50 publications in refereed conference proceedings and edited books. Since 2010 Kaspar Riesen works as a university lecturer and researcher at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

Register here now.

Next event:  Bid for a Boss. 12 April from 6pm in Olten.

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#ThrowbackThursday: Daniele Turini

Met on day 1 – the crew! From left Robel, Manuel, Reto , Daniele (in front) and David

This is our crew.  We met on the very first day of studies in IM.  In one of the classes we had to form a group and there was no choice, really, all 5 of us guys were in the back row.  There was an instant  chemistry among us though and the friendships have proved lasting.  After graduation, we all went our separate ways but remain in touch sporadically.  And – whenever one of us turns 30 we get together. Recently it was David’s turn and we all made sure we could at least catch up, say hi and plan our next common activity.

Graduated in 2012

(Photo: Natascha Jansen)

Now  After 4 years as the Head of eCulture, Marketing and Communications at the Basel Museum of History, I changed jobs last August and am now Digital Consultant at Xeit GmbH where I can concentrate on what is my passion – digital communication.  At this agency, I can work on a broad range of projects such as working out social media strategies, re-designing websites, drawing up concepts for blogs or working on some kind of digital projects that yet have to be defined.  Sometimes we work for bigger corporations, but it’s also very nice to help the smaller start-ups.  I hold Social Media workshops or even broader-themed workshops for clients.  I also do more teaching now.  Currently I hold courses in community management at the ZHAW (Zürcher Hochschule for Angewandte Wissenschaften) and once a semester I’m guest lecturing at the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg im Breisgau on eCulture.  I love the diversity of my roles but it is of course demanding.

After graduation My career path was a case of serendipity.  I took on an internship at the Basel Museum of History and just then they were looking for someone who could do Social Media.  This role expanded over the years where I developed a digital strategy and in teams worked on numerous cross- and transmedial events and activities. It was a good time. I had the chance to start from zero and eventually was invited to present our digital strategy in Atlanta, Barcelona, Berlin and various other places in Europe. At the same time, I returned to the FHNW repeatedly to further educate myself in this field: I first did a DAS in e-Business Management and currently I’m doing the Master in Digital Marketing (to be quite honest, I never would have thought I would do that).

How did studying IM help? It gave me an international mindset.  I always felt that there’s a different approach in IM both on the personal and the business level.  We were always encouraged to think outside the box and to be open-minded.  This mindset increased my initial motivation to study IM and it has served me extremely well in my professional field.  Social Media, digital media is also very much about being open-minded.

Want to get in touch with Daniele?  You’ll find him on our closed IM Alumni group on LinkedIn. (And of course, you’ll find him on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Snapchat, on Xing, on SoundCloud, and on his very own dotcom page!)

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#ThrowbackThursday, #Love@IM: A December Love Story

Tatiana and Marcel Dickmann

Tati came from Ecuador and Marcel from Germany – both on a one semester exchange which brought them much more than expected.

“When I arrived at the Olten staff house for my exchange semester in spring 2007, I was given a room on the 13th floor. My buddy brought me and upon our arrival there was another exchange student there. “Can you look after these girls?” my buddy asked the student, as they knew each other from the HR class. That was how Marcel and I met for the first time.  He was on exchange from FH Dortmund and I from Universidad  Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil in Ecuador.   We didn’t go to the same classes but on the 13th floor we all socialised together a lot.  We never dated as such but hung out and got to know each other very well. By June we were a couple.  Before we returned to finish our education in our different countries, we travelled around Switzerland and at the end of our time together Marcel proposed.

I knew it was real but I also had my doubts whether a relationship could survive the distance and the long separation on the horizon. We agreed that he would come in December to meet my family and then we could announce our engagement. But shortly after going back home, in September, we both realized that it didn’t make sense to be apart. So he came to Ecuador in December to marry me. I completed my open semester and moved to Germany by March 2008 to learn German and a year later we were back in Olten: Marcel had accepted a job in Switzerland and I had decided to study IM.”

Coming Full Circle: Tati, Marcel and Oscar. Ten years after meeting and marrying, the two former IM (exchange) students are back In Trimbach where their baby Oscar was born just a few steps from where the couple met.

Now  “This month is our 10th anniversary.  And the biggest gift we received was the birth of our son Oscar last September.  We also moved to our house this summer – to Trimbach.  As Marcel said, we have come full circle – we are back to the place where we started as a couple and our son was born in the hospital on the same grounds as where we had lived.

In February I will return, at 70%, to my job as Country Business Manager LFP DesignJet at HP GmbH in Zurich. I really enjoy that it’s so international and that besides using my managerial skills I can use all my languages.  I like the travelling and getting to know the business in other countries, I enjoy presenting our products and being in contact with our customers.”

Tati, after graduating in 2012, first worked for Scintilla for 2 years and then joined HP’s graduate program. She was promoted to her current role in March 2015.

Marcel, who graduated in 2007, worked first in auditing for Deloitte but then switched to finance controlling in the energy branch working for companies like AXPO and BKW. While employed in that role at BKW AG, he completed his MAS in Controlling at ZHAW. Since January 2016 he has been finance controller and member of the Management of the hospital Dornach (Solothurner Spitäler AG). “Being a site finance controller means to have the whole responsibility of the site’s finance, which allows me to interact with different people in different departments in order to understand their processes. So being a hospital finance controller has brought me to have experiences like joining a couple of surgeries without being a doctor. And I like the challenge of having this big responsibility while working 80%. I enjoy spending every Friday with my son and wife.”

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Bid redeemed. Robots and Rotkraut

Manuel Frei at the Industrie 4.0 trade fair in Nürnberg

The prize was a trip to Europe’s largest trade fair – Industrie 4.0 – in Nürnberg. CEO and IM alumnus Stephan Kunz offered this at the Bid for a Boss – Manuel Frei placed the winning bid.  The two shared a dinner of Rotkraut and Spätzle the night before  the big day – looks impressive.  We don’t know what Manuel thought of the robot, though.

There will be more such amazing opportunities at next year’s Bid for a Boss. Set for 12 April – so save the date.

Manuel Frei (left) won the bid for CEO (and IM Alumnus) Stephan Kunz’s offer to be taken to Europe’s largest trade fair in Nürnberg.

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#ThrowbackThursday Daniel Altherr

(From left) Flo, Daniel, Stefan and Jan on the “weird but fun” night out in Zürich with a group of BEST tour Californian students in 2007.

In June 2007 about 15 students from CalState Fullerton came to Switzerland as part of the so-called BEST programme run by Robert Buttery, the Head of International Relations.  He asked some of us regular students to take the group out – which we did.  It was a Monday evening and we, Stefan Stöckli, Jan Musar, Flo Estoppey and myself took this group to several bars in Zürich.  Let’s just say it was a weird but fun night with a lot of alcohol.  Which meant that the next day we ended up sleeping on our desks in a classroom as we waited for a lecture to start.

Graduated BSc IM in 2007

Now I’ve been with DePuySynthes, which is part of Johnson&Johnson, for over 8 years now in various roles.  Currently, as EMEA Marketing Manager for the Spine segment, I can profit from knowing the business inside out and the network I’ve built up.  I’m tasked with rationalising the portfolio of 255 products by half. Reducing this number will allow us to focus our R&D efforts on creating innovation instead of keeping old brands updated to comply with the changing regulatory environment. The challenge is to retain our existing customers when removing some of their favourite brands. So I have to keep them and our sales force well informed.  This is such a major project that it’s on our CEO’s scorecard which motivates me even more. My role is very much more about marketing strategy than sales which I enjoy and means I learn something every single day.  Also, importantly, I enjoy that I can have a better work-life balance now that I don’t have to travel so much. I had years when I undertook 70 trips a year.

After Graduation I’d done my semester abroad in Hong Kong and joined the Insight China seminar so a year after graduating I tried working in China. But it was 2008 – I picked the wrong year.  I then returned to Synthes as Product Manager in the Spine unit, which after two years lead to the role of Market Development Manager of the same group in the Middle East and Africa. Especially the Middle East is a vibrant development area in our sector and I travelled a lot. However, after the merger with Johnson&Johnson that business unit became redundant – I then took on the same role but for 13 countries of Eastern Europe and was based in Prague.  This market was expanded to include Neuro – two business units dealing with implants and instruments for brain and skull surgery.  This unit, too, was reorganised last year so after about 4 years in Prague I returned to Switzerland.

How did studying IM help? You know, I was thinking about this recently. In my current job I’m not applying much of the knowledge taught in the courses I took.   But my studies brought me three highly valuable assets. One is that those three years made me an adult, able to work independently and take responsibility. Then, I learnt to present. I developed the skill to stand in front of people and talk about what I know- or sometimes even what I don’t know and to be concise. I need to present every day – to colleagues, to surgeons. And then thirdly, it gave me a valuable network of people including some, like Stefan and Jan, who remain my best friends.

Want to get in touch with Daniel? you’ll find him in the IM Alumni LinkedIn group.

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Bid Redeemed – Innovation Playdate

Monika Blaser (left) took Nikolina Fuduric through the Innovation Lab toolkit at Postfinance which Nikolina had won at the Bid for a Boss event. We’re not sure what the piggy bank is about but looks like they had fun

This week Nikolina Fuduric redeemed her Bid for a Boss win: she and Monika Blaser, Head of the Innovation Lab at PostFinance enjoyed a “playdate” – Nikolina could pitch a business idea they then took through the Lab’s toolkit. “It was a learning experience for me and it was a lot of fun!” reports Nikolina.

The Bid for a Boss event, with the auctioning of various opportunities with bosses from all walks of life, raised over CHF 3000 of which the majority went to the charity C4C which provides laptops and ICT training for youngsters in rural Nigeria.  The event will be held again in April 2018.

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Winning Bid for a Boss – Brussels Lobbying and Beer

Amila Basic (left) and Andrea Häfliger at the European Parliament. The won the “boss” Max de Boer who took them to brussels for two days of lobbying and Belgian beer. Read all about it in the latest edition of The Sextant

Last April one of the star offers at the IM Alumni Bid for a Boss event was the two-day trip to Brussels offered by Max de Boer.  The happy winners were Amila Basic and Andrea Häfliger and in the new edition of The Sextant they themselves report on how that trip went.  Read all about it and other international news nw_sextant_Autumn-2017-MEDIA.

 

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#ThrowbackThursday: Dominik Trost

Dominik (bottom row, far right) with his Jogku team in South Korea

I first considered Mexico as my hottest favorite for the semester abroad so I could improve my Spanish skills. As the deadline to apply for a university came closer, I remembered my stay in the USA where I lived together with my “brother from another mother” Richard Shin. I was fascinated by his personality, his focus on studying and the Korean culture overall. With those memories and a gut feeling which was telling me to go to a country where everything is totally different from what I was used to, I opted for South Korea. I fell in love with that country and the people virtually upon arrival. Every Saturday, we played “Jokgu” – soccer-tennis describes it best – with local people. There was no way of communicating through words – but body language was enough for us to understand each other. I also met up again with Richard and got the chance to dive into the great Korean culture; we went fishing, celebrated “Chuseok” – Korean thanks giving – and went out to do what Koreans do! Living together with his family for a time was an experience I will never forget and I realized again that spoken language is not needed to understand each other. I felt and still feel like a Korean – an experience I will never forget!

Dominik Trost 2017

Graduated from BSc IM in 2016

My best friend Sven from my kindergarten days and I had often talked about setting up our own business.  So during our studies – Sven was studying IT and I was in my second IM year – we started developing and selling small applications. By the time I graduated we had enough income to go full-time. At that time, we got the opportunity to develop a complex job/vacancy tool which was aimed to be implemented in big HR companies. Soon we had 8 employees and interns (in summer 2017 up to 12) in our office in Lenzburg. We decided to become a legal entity and founded Comptex Solution Engineering GmbH. As we were really passionate about the potential of Augmented Reality (AR), we opted to put all our resources into holo|one – a spin off which focuses solely on developing AR-solutions. Two months ago, we saw that Airbus was holding a competition on Innovation Solutions in the Aeronautic Sector.  We sent them a concept where AR plays an integral part in maintenance procedures of aircrafts.  Currently, for instance, when planes go in for maintenance or repairs the engineers still use physical paper checklists, manuals which have graphs of all the parts etc.  With our application they put on AR glasses, go to the engine and see through them and receive all necessary information of the respective part they are working on. They have their updated checklist pinned virtually next to the maintained or fixed part and can search the endless manuals by voice. Another part of the application is designed for trouble-shooting events – if a plane lands where there are no certified Airbus engineers then instead of flying people out, a general engineer can wear the glasses and the Airbus team in another location can see what they see, support, guide and even draw directly in the field of view of the engineer. The great thing about our solution is that it is neither limited to the Aeronautic sector nor to maintenance. Having a remote expert available everywhere, following a checklist while working as well as making use of browsing endless manuals by voice within seconds open up opportunities for many more business processes.

We got financial support and the opportunity to be part of an accelerator/incubator project in Hamburg.  We started there at the beginning of October and it’s very exciting. The next two months are devoted to identifying customer desirability. There might also be changes in the overall concept due to additional findings in field research and interviews. By January, we have to make sure that our solution is technically feasible. Do engineers and mechanics want work with additional glasses to complete their tasks? Would it even be an option to use tablets or smartphone for this solution?  By spring there will be the demo day where we present a prototype and explain the business viability of our solution. During this time we get a lot coaching and support from Airbus. There is a lot to do but it’s very exciting.

How did studying IM help?I took the Entrepreneurship major and the many sessions practising how to pitch were very valuable. When we flew to Hamburg to pitch our concept to Airbus we knew we only had 9 minutes to pitch. Because I had had so much experience, I was confident and focussed.  Also, all the information about investors helped a lot when we were setting up our own company, and of course then there’s all the stuff we learnt about marketing and intercultural communication….. all of this is useful now.

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Pub Quiz in Basel for all you clever cookies

Our first ever IM Alumni pub quiz – because we know you’re all pretty clever. Join us 21 September at the Pickwick Pub in Basel

Time to show you really are clever cookies:-)

Our first ever IM Alumni Pub Quiz will be held at the Pickwick Pub in Basel on Thursday, 21 September.

We’ll be doing 4 rounds from 7pm (though we start warming up with drinks from 6pm – there’s a free welcome drink for you).

Form teams (no more than 4 people per team)  – get in touch with your old classmates, especially those who seemed to know all manner of trivia. Register below either as a team ( give yourselves a brilliant name) or as an individual – you can indicate in the message section that you’re looking to join a team and we’ll try to help.

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#ThrowbackThursday Couples

Richard and Nicole became a couple during their semester abroad in Korea in 2003

We both started the IM degree in 2001 – it was only the one class then so we all knew each other well and four of us especially formed a very close-knit group. So a friendship between Richard and myself had already been well established before we went on our semester abroad.

Back then allocation of your host university was by drawing lots from a hat.  Nearly all of us wanted to go to Auckland as our first choice but there were only a few places there.  So we drew lots again for our second choice: Ajou University in South Korea.  About half the class had decided that we wanted to do something adventurous – and South Korea seemed pretty different. In the end, there were 8 of us who went to Ajou and there, within the first month or so, Richard and I became a couple.

The other six in Korea were not at all surprised – they’d seen it coming – and so there was no awkwardness.  But those two close friends in our group were not there and we puzzled greatly about how to tell them.  Don’t forget, in those days we didn’t all have smart phones, there was no Whatsapp.  We didn’t want to wait until we saw them again months later, so we mailed.  That did feel a bit weird.  However, being a couple within the IM class was not a problem.  There were quite a few others who had also met a partner during their semester abroad.

 

Richard and Nicole with their twin girls in 2017

What happened next? Nicole: I went on to work for PwC consulting expat clients in international HR.  Richard and I got married in 2010 and then in 2012 our twin girls were born.  I decided I wanted to be at home for at least a year so stopped my job.  Eighteen months later I then found the perfect post for me – I am the Assistant for the IM programme.  It’s part-time, interesting and close to where we live and of course it was a bit like returning “home”.  I very much enjoy being in touch with a great variety of people – I liaise with lecturers, especially external lecturers, coordinating resources, planning. It’s perfect.

Richard: I joined what is now the Bank J. Safra Sarasin immediately after graduating and have been there in different roles and different teams ever since. My current position is Senior Portfolio Manager for institutional clients based in Zurich. What I enjoy since the merger is that the bank has become more international and our working language is English now.

Via the IM Programme many students have learnt a lot about business, made new friends, found future employers, expanded their horizons and also, more often than you think, found their partners.  After nearly 20 years since the programme started there are a surprising number of IM couples and even IM babies 🙂

So – here’s a slightly different #TbT item.  Also, so that we can tell all you IM lovebirds out there that we’re having a Love@IM barbeque from noon on 9 September at a site around Olten (we’ll communicate the place soon).  It’s for all who found love via or during their IM days and for any and all resultant kids:-)  So save the date and sign up now!

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