Real solutions for real challenges


51 KLU Bachelor of Business Administration students, 10 teams, one challenge: the development of a dashboard to monitor the logistics resources of Hamburg waste management firm Otto Dörner, culminating in project presentations at the end of February this year to some of the company’s top executives, representatives from IBM, and Professor of Logistics Information Systems, André Ludwig. Securing a good grade was not the only objective, with the winning team treated to a special prize

As far as undergraduate projects go, the scope of the one 51 KLU Bachelor of Business Administration students specializing in digital management and innovation faced could easily fall into “boss-level” category.

Divided into teams of five to six members, students were tasked by Professor of Logistics Information Systems, Andre Ludwig, with analyzing Otto Dörner data and developing a dashboard to monitor the firm’s logistics resources, with a focus on forecasted rates of container usage, how long containers remain at customer locations, and failed and hazardous rides.

If that wasn’t demanding enough, the students had to utilize unfamiliar IBM tools, and then present their findings and dashboards to an audience made up of their peers, Prof. Ludwig, software experts from IBM, and Otto Dörner Managing Directors Patrick Eckelmann and Enno Simonis.

“It was challenging task,” acknowledged Prof. Ludwig, who has been organizing this IT project, with various topics, technologies and companies, for the past six years. “But it also provides students with the opportunity to apply theoretical concepts to real, relevant problems and demonstrate their skills in a real-world setting. The creativity, passion and team spirit they have shown while coming up with novel solutions has been clear to see, throughout the process."

A great opportunity

The students also had ample support to tackle project, with direct access to employees of Otto Dörner as well as experts from IBM, to obtain information, ask questions, and gather feedback. As a Scrum Master, Ludwig also guided the project teams and assisted them in developing efficient workflows.

“It was a really great opportunity because it’s not every day that you can speak to huge companies like IBM and Otto Dörner,” enthused 19-year-old Roman Iliuchenko (Bachelor in Business Administration, Class of 2026), whose team were placed third. “Development-wise, the presentation was great because when you get up onto the stage you have a lot of people in front of you and you need to deal with the stress of organizing all of the information you have and express it in a way that everyone will understand.”

Classmate Johanna Wetterkamp (Bachelor in Business Administration, Class of 2026), 22, meanwhile, says she learnt a lot about collaborating and using new software while doing the project. “It’s good to get to know different programs and to practice working in groups because it’s always helpful for the future. At work you have to work with different people and communicate with different departments, so focusing on that at KLU is a great opportunity for us.”

The presentations, which lasted approximately 20 minutes each and were given in KLU’s state-of-the-art “golden egg” auditorium, were followed up by Q&A sessions with Otto Dörner, IBM and Prof. Ludwig, who also comprised the jury which selected the winners.

Results to be implemented in everyday business

“It’s impressive to see how talented these young people are, how smart they are, and how quickly they adapt to the objective and move in the right direction,” remarked Patrick Eckelmann, Managing Director of Otto Dörner, whose company employs over 1,100 people, afterwards. “The level quality of analysis shown by the students is so high, it’s overwhelming. The winning three projects, for example, had dashboards which you could, with minor amendments, implement directly into our everyday business.”

While all the students were rewarded with a boat tour on the Elbe River after the presentations, the winning team of Can Lukas Röhlsberger, Alejandro Trevino, Amelie Bolle, Elisabeth von Wulffen, Johannes Stefanowski and Lena Weber were treated to something a little more thrilling: a ride on a speedboat that hits speeds of up to 100km/h.

“I really enjoyed giving a presentation about something that matters - telling a business owner important information and analysis about their decision-making,” said 19-year-old Röhlsberger (BA Business Administration, Class of 2026) before heading off on the speedboat ride. “We had a lot of discussions and we tried to come up with the optimal solution. This is why I’m very proud of winning. Other groups did the analysis part maybe a little bit better and more intricately, but in the final creation of our dashboard, we focused on creating a composition of charts that are easy to read, but, when combined, allow a manager to extract as much information as possible. I think that’s what won it for us.”

Impressions of presentation day