Here you can find different reports of former participants, referring to the concepts of learning leadership through experiential learning processes within the weeks of the Summer Academy.
Quotations are part of the papers written with Prof. Dietrich Brandt by former Summer Academy participants.
Manon Fauré, SAC Lisboa 2014 (Prof. Dietrich)
"(...) This experience-based learning is something that I never experienced within a team before. Having the chance to dive deep in that process, while being surrounded by professors and local organisers who were eager to help and assist us made it secure but still really powerful. The quality of the organisation and the beautiful environment that surrounded us all, also made it easier to focus and evolve at our own pace. These combinations allowed me to step out of the student/teacher or dominant/dominated situation that we often reproduce. This process as new or uncomfortable as it can be, is a beautiful gift; it made me feel powerful in the now, and this awareness is especially useful when our generations have so much pressure for the future and feel like they cannot do anything to improve the world. (...)"
Mikhail Malyuta, SAC Vilnius 2013
One day 14 people from different countries come to a small village in Lithuania... Such a surprise for local inhabitants... We do a lot of different things there: working sessions, reflection sessions, sport activities, cooking, sauna and so on.
This is enough to get an external perspective on Summer Academy.
All these things, right, we DO them, but it is nothing compared to what IS HAPPENING INSIDE our minds.
I have never ever learned so much about myself within 2 weeks. I have travelled so far away in my imagination as I never did in real life. Sometimes it seemed like we were just sitting altogether in silence, but in fact we were exploring ourselves, we were observing who we are, we were developing, we were GROWING. The atmosphere of Summer Academy is something unique. It helped us to dive deeper in our thoughts with its’ quietness and to bring something back from this diving. We supported each other by sharing our deepest thoughts and doubts. Together we were moving towards the common goal – we had come there to grow. It went so naturally and there, in the village, far away from all the troubles of everyday life together we discovered freedom.
Two weeks of the Summer Academy had steadily passed, but they brought us something priceless. It is a seed which only starts to grow. And we have promised to ourselves that we will do our best to keep the seed growing through all the lifetime.
Torben Schaefer, SAC Riga 2012
"(...) Here our student-run international organization ESTIEM has taken lead across Europe on behalf of all European Students of Industrial Engineering and Management. For us it does not make sense any more to ask our university teachers to come up with better educational concepts and to prepare us better for our future professional challenges. There seems to be very little willingness within business and engineering education to take into account those tendencies of global business systems to slide into chaos and uncontrollable behaviour. (...)"
"The three person whose names are listed here as the people academically in charge of the ESTIEM Summer Academies (Jim Platts, Toon Ariens, Dietrich Brandt), follow closely the new roles of the teacher as needed today: they are not any more merely the deliverers of new knowledge but a new kind of mentors, facilitators, the organizers of the students’ learning experiences, and the students’ coaches or academic guardians during the learning process. According to the specific international context of the Summer Academies, the teachers have to continuously display their abilities in cross-cultural communication. Furthermore they need a wide spectrum of approaches in group work in order to arrange the student groups again and again in different ways during the two weeks of the Summer Academy. The interactions within and between the groups have to get organized according to the state of development and progress of the students’ experiences as they cooperate and communicate with each other. "
Natalia Kobza, SAC Riga 2012
"In particular the project of the Summer Academy offers us the opportunity to develop such leadership skills in complex settings and under conditions of self-organization. This project – the ESTIEM Summer Academy - focuses specifically on leadership skills. During the Summer Academy we discover that the essence of leadership is how the leader influences the group, how he/she engages people, and creates and transmits values. We as leaders should be able to facilitate collective efforts and to include everyone in the decision-making process to accomplish shared objectives of the team. (...)
How does our Summer Academy help with achieving those aims? The Summer Academy has been designed to teach students of IEM to identify and develop themselves within the group, to show them new ways of behaviour and also possibilities to mirror their behaviour within the group and then through critical, reflective thinking, to challenge and test assumptions that they made before."
Vera Niedergesaess, SAC Serbia 2011
"How may we translate such experiences from these Summer Academes into university teaching to educate all students for coping with chaos and instabilities, in their future professional lives? We may particularly need: developing mutual trust among the students across borders of nations and cultures; giving them freedom to deal in their own ways with complex problems; reflecting jointly with them their specific leadership training experiences toward team stability. Thus we may need such Summer Academies for all engineering and economics courses and we may need a new breed of trainers and teachers for these academies."
Anett Juras, SAC Serbia 2011
"We as students have the feeling that nowadays everybody has to deal with complex problems and chaos, as single person as well as in groups. The world is developing and changing so fast that we increasingly gain knowledge and opportunities. Although we see it as a positive development, a lot of us well-educated students do not know how to decide in challenging situations. We feel under pressure and lost in chaos. When we have to work on complex problems we are mostly working in new and innovative areas and we do not know what could be the result. Sometimes no right answers exist for our questions. All these different situations of chaos and complex problems let us feel over-challenged and we do not know how to cope.
We developed the awareness of this kind of problems and chaos during the Summer Academy 2011 in Serbia and we learnt that it does not matter how or where we start: it is important that we are aware of this situation, we need to have available some methods to solve these problems and we have just to get started. The professor showed us during the two weeks examples when we have to deal with complex problems and situations of chaos in our daily life, and he taught us the process how to deal with these problems and how to start finding answers. We learnt that we have to get used to chaos and complex problems and we should not be afraid of them because in our future and working life, we will have to deal with these situations the whole time. "
"The communication within ESTIEM is customarily done over modern channels. Though the decision makers in ESTIEM meet a few times a year to discuss in person the strategy for the following months or even years, these topics are proposed, debated and sometimes even settled online or over the phone. It is therefore crucial that communication is done effectively, time-efficient and it is as transparent as possible. Stakeholders are often not present in all the debates, so it is important to still understand how the final action plan or decision has come about."
Manuel Loureiro - Porto, Portugal
When I first heard of SAC I never thought it to be the way it was. It was a marvellous experience! I mean that not only had I the chance of learning the topic, I also had one of the best life experiences of my life as we were a team formed from different people from different places from all around Europe. I highly recommend it!
Karolin Vögele - Munich, Germany
During the Summer Academy 2006 in Germany I acquired a broad knowledge about leadership that I can really use in my later business career but also in my every day live. I really can recommend participating in a Summer Academy, because you can acquire so much soft skills and hear the wisdoms of the mentors who try to shape and reflect your personality during these two weeks towards becoming a future leader…
Sebastian Beer - Karlsruhe, German
What I got from SAC 2006 was something I was looking for, without actually knowing it. Summer Academy was something really special to me. The topics we discussed about were not difficult, they "only" raised questions that one gets to forget about during daily life. Questions which are probably much more important, than any knowledge I will get to learn during my future courses. In my opinion the two weeks fill your studies and hence yourself more with life, than at least German kind of lectures with hundreds of other students in it can do…
Gözde Ulubay - Istanbul, Turkey
If you asked me what I could tell about SAC, I can quote that Prof. Dietrich Brandt, our presentations, workshop at Valeo, team development, Lake Balaton & beautiful Budapest, preparing breakfast, ESTIEM soup, delicious Hungarian foods…list is going on. But all the rest is secret.The only negative thing about SAC is that 15 days is not enough. I hope all the ESTIEMers can understand the meaning of SAC deeply and will get a chance to participate in unforgettable SACs. You can not learn summer academy, you have to live it. SAC 2006 will continue living with me as a fabulous memory...
Mladen Radisic - Novi Sad, Serbia
For me Summer Academy was the single event in ESTIEM that has meant the most to me personally. The event is very enriching. No one I have heard after a SAC has regretted going, and I personally wish I could go again this summer, the event is simply unbelievable enriching. You really have an amazing chance, squeeze it and go to SAC!...
Niek Pieters - Eindhoven, Netherlands
We learned a lot about the central topic of the event 'Human Centred Systems Design'. Information was provided through lectures and we were also asked to find things out by ourselves, through books and discussions. In addition, there was a challenging three-day-workshop at the company Valeo. For them, we had to solve many problems and did this as a team. Second, our skills with regard to presentations and discussions were trained. Also, for example during the workshop, we learned how to cooperate as a team. Third, as a participant in SAC you will be living together with about 15 other people from all around Europe for two weeks. This will give you the opportunity to really get to know each other…
Ignacio J. Pérez Prat - Karlsruhe, Germany
The ESTIEM Summer Academy 2006 in Germany represented a very special summer to me. This event was an opportunity for me to get a closer look at which capabilities a leader needs to successfully guide a team in a productive and positive way. Moreover, I could find out more about myself, my strengths and weaknesses. The thoughtful atmosphere provided by the Academic Leader, Jim Platts from the University of Cambridge, was the key factor that made this event so special. It is one of the things you just have to try out in order to understand what it is - if you are willing to make a step further in your self-development, don't hesitate and apply for the next ESTIEM Summer Academy!
Thomas Saupp - Karlsruhe, Germany
Summer Academy was the most valuable academic experience I could gather with 11 very nice ESTIEMers from all over Europe. This event gave me very detailed insights, how even sophisticated work can successfully be accomplished in a multinational team. Not lastly it was a perfect chance to make new friend which share similar interests and ideas concerning a large variety of subjects. I will never forget those 15 days!
Nazli Aktakke - Ankara, Turkey
I have participated in two Summer Academies and I may say that making this double is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. You are asking why? Well because you learn a lot about everything, you meet new people who are smart, sympathique, coming from different cultures; you live in a beautiful place in a big house full of joy, enthusiasm and food :) for two weeks. And meanwhile you have been taught by a smart, experienced and helpful teacher. So apply, wait in excitement if you will be accepted, then if you are; well congratulations that you are about to collect one of the best memories of your life...
Nicola - “Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II”, Italy
Summer Academy represents for me one of the most important experiences I’ve ever done in my life. I achieved are a deeper consciousness of myself, of my emotions and feelings. I also improved my relationships with the others and my ability to work in a group of people. Then, I met a fantastic team of people and it was gorgeous for me to interact and understand their way of thinking and their culture. It could sound strange that in only two weeks you can learn so much, but so it was for me. I think that SAC gave me the incitation, making me start in the right way…
Aleksandar Nedeljkovic - Novi Sad, Serbia
OK most of you (especially people from Western Europe) can ask why SAC? We can apply for internship and also work on serious projects, so why is your example so different from all others? Yes, you are right but this is something you can't get in company. This is something totally different! This is activity where you get advanced academic knowledge combined with practical experience preformed in multicultural environment with a lot of passion and fun. This is life time experience which changed my life forever…
Merve Gumus - Ankara, Turkey
After participating to two SACs, the best thing I can say is: "Do not hesitate to take place in this unique event." After spending two weeks with an academic leader and enthusiastic students, you will certainly be leaving with lots of ideas and new concepts. It is a great opportunity for European-wide friendships, sharing, learning and having fun! This summer it can be you, why not?
Helmuth Elsner - Karlsruhe - VP of Administration and ICT 2005 - SAC 2005 Participant
The term Summer Academy can rarely describe what's behind it. You will learn about leadership, team evaluation but the most important factor is that you will learn about yourself. The SAC gives you the chance to experience more about yourself within two weeks than you might have done in years before.
Daniel Grube - Clausthal - SAC 2005 Participant
Finding out what the old philosophers thought about and that it is still valid today was really amazing. The SAC's atmosphere in which we all could tell our personnel thoughts and
develop them in discussions was very fruitful. To write that down in a thesis helped me to understand the world a little bit better.
Ipek Molvali - Ankara - SAC 2005 Participant
It was a wonderful experience for me. During these two weeks, I did not only improved my leadership skills, it was also a great chance for me to make very good friendships and for my personal development, as well. The atmosphere was so great, that I advise every ESTIEM member to join Summer Academy!
Steffen Franke - Karlsruhe - SAC 2004 Participant
In the summer Academy you learn things and get experiences for your life, which you will never find in any course or lecture at the University. Everybody who has the opportunity to participate, should not even hesitate one second to not miss this amazing event.
Balázs Bitay - Budapest – President of ESTIEM 2003 - SAC 2003 Participant
The Summer Academy is about guidance and mentoring, rather then teaching. A unique place for developing soft skills, growing people. The two weeks of the Summer Academy had a remarkable impact on my leadership style and contributed to my personal development.
Edwin van Rest - Eindhoven - SAC 2003 Participant
The SAC was indeed an exceptional learning experience. We left Sweden with a more developed personality than before. The 2 weeks spent in the Swedish woods learning about Life will always be part of our most cherished memories.
Sebastian Kern - Germany - SAC 2003 Participant
SAC gave me a deeper understanding of how one should lead other people in our modern society”. It was a great experience to be “in the middle of nowhere” for 2 weeks with 15 very interesting people!
Yuen Yoong Leong - Cambridge - SAC 2003 Participant
…the SAC was a highly worthwhile experience and what I have learnt there will continue to be of value as I take on new responsibilities in life.
Nick Palousis - Australia - SAC 2002 Participant
I came all the way from Australia to be challenged…I left the Summer Academy with tears in my eyes, fire in my heart and understanding about what I should be doing with my life.