By: Sindhuja Kodivalasa, Staff Writer
Photo Credits: Sarunyu Thepbunchonchai
The module abroad is a vital part of the Thunderbird education which helps students to understand the business environment around the world. To support this a number of company visits are incorporated into students’ coursework during their stay in Prague. This intends to provide the students with extensive knowledge European business models. During the first week of stay in Prague, the students got to visit two manufacturing plants – Skoda Auto and Aero Vodochody. As promised, Das Tor brings you the students’ experiences from these visits. A brief newsletter of the company visit to Skoda Auto –
Skoda, an automobile giant and the pride of the Czech people was established in 1895 under the name of Laurin & Klaiment. And later with the acquisition by Skoda Works, a conglomerate, it was transformed to Skoda Auto. At present it is under the huge German automobile giant Volkswagen Group. But it has retained its name and production in the present Czech Republic.
The Thunderbird Module Abroad students got a chance to visit the Skoda plant at its headquarters in Mladá Boleslav, about 30 miles from Prague. We almost spent five hours in the plant; this included a detailed visit and explanation of the production line of the Skoda automobile. Followed by a visit to the Skoda Museum and finally a presentation by one of the top officials in Skoda.
First, the Thunderbird Students arrived at the plant where they were given a tour of the entire facility spread across over ten acres of land. Of the total 36,000 employees working for Skoda in the Czech Republic, nearly 30,000 employees work at this plant. Some of the production units of the plant work 24/7 for continuous production. Several parts of the plant were completely atomized, such as the painting section which took a total of 24 hours to paint an automobile. This was entirely operated by robots in clean rooms. The students were shown the working of this through the monitors. Then the students were taken to the assembly line, which is the final set up of all the car parts. We were given a detailed description of all the operations. A detailed explanation of the functions and responsibilities of operation and supply chain manager along with his contributions to the team was given. It was a very useful experience to students considering a career in supply chain or operations management.
This was followed by the tour of the Skoda Museum which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the life cycle and evaluation of the Skoda vehicles. Along with some rare and antique Skoda models, a brief history of the chronological development of the Skoda products were on display.
This was then followed by the presentation by an experienced mid-level manager, a Thunderbird alumnus who did his Executive MBA and has many years of experience at Skoda, working in several roles such as operations and manufacturing. He had also worked in multiple locations like Pune, India, and Germany, in addition to the Czech Republic. He gave a detailed presentation of the strategy and the future of Skoda products. He works in the division that is involved with the development of future products of Skoda.
Overall this was a very educational and informative company visit.