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Varun Poonekar: “Dual continuing education has helped me to considerably broaden my horizon”

Name: Varun Poonekar
Lives in: Pune, Maharashtra, India
Country of origin: India
Period in Germany: end of September to mid-October 2013
Educational institution: Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW)
Occupation: Supply chain management

University education in India has a very good reputation, but often practical aspects are neglected. In cooperation with the German economic sector, therefore, the Indo-German Training Centre (IGTC) offers a continuing education programme for university graduates in India. For Varun Poonekar, attending this programme was definitely worthwhile.

“A lot has changed professionally for me over the last two years. For instance, I start work punctually at eight o’clock in the morning now”, says Varun Poonekar and laughs. He works in Pune, the metropolis in the West of India, as an employee of the Indian subsidiary of the German BPW Group. “But seriously: Of course there are many other things that have changed. I have a lot more responsibility, I considerably broadened my horizon – and I speak German.”

Practical experience through dual continuing education

Varun Poonekar enrolled in the continued education programme “Post-Graduate Programme of Business Administration (PGBA)” of the Indo-German Training Centre (IGTC) – the training centre of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce. Based on the dual system of studies in Germany, participants initially pass through a one-year training programme in a commercial focus subject. Afterwards, they complete a six-month internship in a – most often – German business. “I was able to do my internship with Bosch in India”, Varun Poonekar tells us. “This was extremely interesting, because I worked in a great variety of departments all over India. This means that I didn’t only benefit professionally, but met many different people and learned about cultural specifics from all parts of the country. How often does such an opportunity come your way?”

Video: Life at IGTC for PGPBA Batch 2014-2016

German companies profit from the dual programme

He learned about the programme from an article in the “Times of India”, India’s largest newspaper. At this time, Varun Poonekar had already completed his engineering studies and was working for an Indian business. “I was specifically looking for a programme of continued education”, he says. “And I wanted it to have a connection with Germany.” Two months later, he was ready to start.

All those interested in the dual continuing education have to undergo a selection process first. This consists of a written exam, a group discussion and finally an interview with representatives of the company which the applicant has chosen for his or her internship. Each participant has to pay around 3,500 Euro for the programme. “But paying fees for one’s own education is quite usual in India”, says Judith Evers of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai. The companies providing the internship places cover the remaining costs for the programme.

The investment is worthwhile for both parties involved: “It has been a real success story”, says Radhieka R. Mehta, the director of IGTC. “Since the programme’s launch in 1991, we have trained around 1,500 graduates. This makes us the number one platform for German businesses searching for qualified employees in India.” The programme’s alumni score points for the practical experience they have gathered during the continued education. “The quality of Indian university education is very high”, says Judith Evers. “But the practical aspect is often missing”, Varun Poonekar adds. “It was only during the practical part of the continued education programme that I learned how a business works and what the requirements of the industrial sector are.”

My university programme in my home country ...

Fluent German in only three years

One additional part of the programme is a two-week stay in Germany, which is organised in cooperation with the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW). Varun Poonekar stayed in Karlsruhe in the autumn of 2013. “This really motivated me to learn German. In India, I attended German courses at the Goethe-Institut”, he tells us. With great success: Today he speaks German fluently and is his company’s specialist for the communication between Germany and India. “I write and speak almost exclusively in German to my German colleagues. That makes the whole communication much more effective”, he says.

It was the combination of his German language skills and his dual continued education programme which contributed to being hired by BPW. “I would encourage everyone to take opportunities for practical training and to learn a foreign language”, Varun Poonekar says. “It will increase your employment prospects tremendously.” And what are his goals? “I would like to travel to Germany again, for more than just a few days. Maybe there will be an opportunity to work for my employers for a few weeks in Germany at some point.”

Varun Poonekar's profile in the Community

Interview: Verena Striebinger

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  • What advantages do you see in a dual training programme or a dual study programme?
  • How could you or did you gather practical experience during your studies in your home country?
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July 2016

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