Exams in local businesses – with excellent job opportunities

Graduates with an MSc in engineering from Aarhus University in Herning complete their studies by solving a task for a local company – and many students go on to work for the same company.

Mirko Presser
Since 2018, Associate Professor Mirko Presser has led the TBMI Challenge, and the number of companies participating in the exam challenge has grown year after year. Photo: JS Danmark

The link between education and business is an important building block for the future welfare society.

At the Department of Business Development and Technology, this connection is more developed than in many other places, as students finish their course in Technological Business Model Innovation (TBMI) by solving specific tasks for companies in Central and Western Jutland.

The exam task is called TBMI Challenge, and it is the third pillar of a course of study in which the first two modules deal with theoretical and technological business development, respectively.

“The TBMI Challenge is based on companies defining a challenge or a desire for development. The students are assigned a task and must then analyse the company and its needs, as well as devise a plan for implementing the solution,” associate professor Mirko Presser explains.

The task concludes with the student presenting his or her analysis and proposed solutions to the company as well as the teacher or co-examiner.

"We’ve taken part in TBMI several times and always look forward to it. The students approach our business areas in completely new ways, and the results are exciting. At the same time, we only have committed students who are enthusiastic about the company,” says Eva M. Jaffke, Marketing and Communication Manager at Conpleks, a manufacturer of self-driving robot solutions which has benefitted from the students' ideas more than once.

Fresh perspectives on old problems

The Department of Business Development and Technology is located at Aarhus University in Herning. The companies, which include both established companies, startups, and other types, are typically located in Herning, Holstebro, Ringkøbing-Skjern, Skive, Lemvig, Struer and Ikast-Brande.

“The companies are overjoyed that their problems are being evaluated by outside experts who are up to date on the latest technology. They get new perspectives on old problems, and our reputation in the area is growing. Since we began five years ago, more than 100 companies have participated,” says Mirko Presser.

Some of the students who participated in the TBMI Challenge are later hired by the companies where they worked.

“Our students can provide a unique perspective on a wide range of challenges, and their contribution can be extremely valuable in the evaluation of business ideas in companies,”says Mirko Presser.

The TBMI Challenge typically addresses issues such as automation, green efficiency, digitisation, and the targeting of new products or the analysis of new markets.

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