Using your smartphone or camera to record clips before editing them into a film; designing an attractive sign or poster with pens and paper or your laptop; recording a piece of music; creating an avatar with an animation program; making a podcast, or maybe rehearsing a play – it’s fair to say these are not the tools or forms of expression you would usually expect from business students. Nevertheless, engaging creatively with a socially and/or economically relevant topic is precisely the aim behind MBS Explorer Days: Creativity & Expression, an initiative introduced in 2020 as part of improvements to the bachelor’s program in International Business and implemented for the first time in mid-April.
Academic director Prof. Patricia Kraft explains the concept: “The MBS Explorer Days: Creativity & Expression are designed to give students in their sixth semester the opportunity to engage intensively with MBS values one more time before they graduate by addressing a topic with implications for all of society in a responsible, innovative and creative way and then implementing their ideas directly.”
Combating World Poverty as One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The topic of this year’s Explorer Days was the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. MBA and DBA coordinator Elena Lucchi, who also has extensive experience working with the UN, gave a keynote speech introducing students to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. All UN member states adopted the SDGs in 2015 as a universal call to action with the aim of achieving sustainable economic, social and ecological development around the world by 2030. Lucchi explained that poverty has various socio-economic dimensions and is also the cause of many human rights and labor law violations. Using two examples from Honduras and Germany, she made clear how conflicts, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic compound poverty. Lucchi showed that we do not have to travel far to find examples of poverty: instead, due to the multifaceted nature of poverty – which is not simply an inability to satisfy basic needs – we can find it right on our doorsteps.
Following this introduction to the topic, the floor was handed over to the media experts from the Media Center Munich (MZM) at the JFF – Institute for Media Education, who had been enlisted as collaboration partners for the MBS Explorer Days: Creativity & Expression. Nicole Rauch, Jonas Lutz and Thomas Kupser introduced the concept and scenario for the Government International simulation game, which the students would work on for the next one-and-a-half days. On behalf of a fictional United Nations, the students were tasked with contributing to societal change and writing laws to combat global poverty. The bachelor’s students met in various small groups to tackle this undertaking. Each team slipped into a character from a different country, including: a Chinese woman married off against her will and looking for work; a young father in Chile working restaurant jobs to feed his family, and a retired, affluent globetrotter from Denmark. On the one hand, this meant that the exercise included a variety of different protagonists; on the other hand, it made clear from the outset that the fight against poverty is different for each of us, depending on our circumstances.