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Business Skills for Ph.D.s

We are excited to be part of the program “Business skills for Ph.D.s”, organized by the doctoral candidate’s representation of Kiel University (CAU) and the Education Cluster The program offers a unique chance to gain insights into the organization of 8 large companies in Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark.

Last Friday, October 28, 2016, we welcomed 10 doctoral candidates at the punker headquarters in Eckernförde. punker CEO Dr. Henning Bähren gave our guest from Pakistan, Japan and Germany an overview of the punker Group’s history, product portfolio, customer base and company structure before starting off on a tour of our production facilities. The diverse academic background of our visitors (from Electrical Engineering, Material Sciences and Biology to Business Administration) sparked an exciting and versatile subsequent Q&A session and discussion. Topics included Lean Management at punker, possible product or service diversification models and punker’s medium-term growth strategy, as well as career opportunities with Northern German small and medium sized businesses. The doctoral candidates were surprised to learn about the number of modern, successful and internationally aligned businesses in Schleswig-Holstein. This showed us yet again that initiatives like “Schleswig-Holstein. The True North.” (Der echte Norden) and our involvement in the incorporated partner program for businesses in Schleswig-Holstein are of great importance to promote career opportunities for high professionals in the “True North”.  punker was the first stop of the program. Over the next three months, the group will visit seven more businesses in Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark:

  • 4th of November: Mach3 – The marketer of the three radiostations RSH, delta radio and Radio BOB. Perfect marketing for everyone.
  • 18th of November: Macio – User Interface Design and software engineering from one source.
  • 25th of November: Die Futter-Manufaktur – Founded in 1870 this family business managed the transformation into an innovative manufactory for forage.
  • 2nd of December: FLS – In Heikendorf located Fast Lean Smart is the recognized technology leader in the development and implementation of workforce management, route optimization and mobile solutions in Europe.
  • 9th of December: Eisenschmidt Consulting Crew – Their mission is to guide people and companies out of a crisis, support their development and give meaning to economy and life.
  • 13th of January: Danfoss – Founded in 1933 the business has grown from a solo enterprise into one of the world’s leading suppliers of energy-efficient and innovative solutions.
  • 20th of January: Dräger – Dräger is a leading international company in the fields of medical and safety technology. No matter where Dräger products are used: it’s always about life.


About aims at connecting Kiel’s colleges and universities with businesses and organizations. Students get a chance to apply their knowledge, look into different career options and find their own professional path.

With the entrepreneurship program “job starter”, the wants to guide and inculcate the entrepreneurial thinking in international students who are interested in launching their own ventures or invest in new business projects, with a lifelong commitment to achieve social and economic progress globally.


European Project Semester – Welcome!

Five university students from Portugal, the United States, Spain, Poland and Germany participate in the European Project Semester (EPS) and will be putting the punker product range under the microscope to seek out potential for optimization.

EPS is a programme of­fered by 16 Eu­ro­pean uni­ver­si­ties. Teams of 3–6 stu­dents from all over the world work on interdisciplinary projects and write detailed final project reports which can be acknowledged as their Bachelor’s theses.

Some projects are done in co­op­er­a­tion with com­mer­cial busi­nesses and in­dus­tries, meaning the students are being assigned a real project by a real business – for example by punker.

To succesfully work on these projects and be able to advise the businesses, the students need a certain set of skills, of course. These are being taught during an introduction phase with a series of seminars and tutorials ranging from project management to marketing and market research.

EPS is all about team work – and in order to make that happen, the team made up of students with an international and interdisciplinary background, is coached in intercultural and conflict management as well as in language skills.

In Germany, EPS is being offered by the faculties of mechanical engineering and business at the University of Applied Sciences Kiel. This year, punker is contributing a project: the students will examine the punker product range for possible standardization potentials and answer questions like

  • How many different fan wheel designs would be needed to efficiently serve our customer base?
  • Which existing designs would offer a good basis for standardization?
  • Which existing designs would cover the widest possible range of customer requirements?
  • How can the desing department and manufacturing at punker profit from standardization?

“Our” EPS-students Ali, Aleksandra, Abel, Ana and Erin study International Sales and Purchase Engineering, Business and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Design Engineering, and Engineering Management, respectively – possibly making them the perfect team for our project. We’re very excited to hear their take on our product range and are looking forward to the months ahead. We will keep you informed about their progresses on this blog, of course.