Written by Marita Ueckert
“As soon as we – the part-time MBA class of 2018 – had finished our Financial Management exam, we left HHL and headed to Porsche Leipzig, and you may wonder why a whole class would go there.
- Was the final task of our financial management exam to calculate the value of an extension of the Porsche plant and we needed to gather insights for the solution?
- Did we speculate on a group discount for the Macan (after all, surveys confirm the significant salary increases of HHL students)?
- Did some of us need new wipers for their Cayenne? (Yet another subtle hint…)
- Did we intend to discuss Corporate Social Responsibility and the relevance of investing in trust?
It may not sound like the obvious choice, but indeed the production site of Porsche Leipzig served to kick off our CSR class. We started with a tour of the factory and later on had a lecture held by Porsche Leipzig CFO Dr. Joachim Lamla and HHL’s Chair of Economic and Business Ethics, Prof. Andreas Suchanek.
As the part-time MBA is focused on combining demanding academics and practical applicability, having this real-life case delivered great value. First we gained insights into Porsche’s strategy investing into a completely new production site and discovered it in a factory tour. We saw Panameras being assembled, stood underneath the bodies of beautiful Macans and were impressed by how Porsche created one success story after the next in the little time since the factory was established.
Porsche took a big risk investing into Eastern Germany and so its success is closely linked with its place of location. Therefore Porsche Leipzig wants to give back to society and is involved in various CSR activities focusing on culture, sports and education. We discussed impact and rationale with the CFO Dr. Lamla and added a theoretical basis. Prof. Suchanek challenged our perspective on CSR, which most of us perceived as a somewhat random roll-out of initiatives as long as they benefited society in one way or the other. Instead, his concept highlights that it’s sufficient to focus on the company’s core business, as long as it’s being conducted in a manner that delivers value to all involved parties.
Being immersed in the world of Porsche was a great opportunity and delivered what HHL demands: it challenged us to think outside the box and apply our theoretical learnings in a practical case.
Thanks to Santiago for having this idea and making it possible, thanks to Prof. Suchanek for his flexibility, thank you to Dr. Lamla for sharing his considerations with us and to Julia, Santiago and Sven for hosting a very interesting tour.”