Day 11: Presentation Day

Today was almost entirely consumed by the preparation for and presentations later in the day. We had no mandated wake-up time so we all took full advantage of the extra sleep time. I very nearly missed the hotel breakfast, but I managed to get down in time to try a new breakfast food: chocolate filled croissant. It did not live up to the hype. My H&K group was planning on meeting our German students to work at 15:30 so we had time to go to the Uni and eat at mensa one last time on the trip. After all our travelling by streetcar, I finally am feeling very comfortable about riding them. At mensa, I got my customary three rolls. I’m not sure if I have waxed poetic about European bread before but it is very special no matter where you get it. It somehow manages to be the perfect amount of crunchy on the outside but also doughy and chewy on the inside. I also was happily surprised to find that mensa was still serving the Boston crème-tasting dessert that I passed on the other day, so I nabbed one today.

Over lunch, we discussed the business situation that H&K seemed to be in after the tour yesterday. On one part of the tour, we walked into a room and there were seven or so elderly woman making air dampers, but the room looked exactly like a sweat shop. We called them the “sweatshop grandmas” and had a good laugh. Also, we seemed to get the impression from the tour guide yesterday that H&K was accepting of its’ status quo and probable inevitable destruction and not doing anything to prolong or avoid it which made it difficult for us to complete certain required parts of our presentation like “future innovation” and R&D.

We went back to the hotel to change and grab laptops, then we returned to the University to meet with our German students. The entire presentation was prepared so we went through it multiple times to practice and to get the timing down. Eventually, 17:30 rolled around and the presentations began. BMW went first and made a very dramatic introduction. All of the presentations were great, but the most surprising thing was how well each group had prepared to answer questions.

Our H&K group went second (which is the ideal time to go in my opinion) and everyone did very well on their section. When I was talking, I tried to imagine that the audience was one of my friends and I was just having a conversation with them. That seems to help me not sound so monotonous when public speaking. Every time we had practiced before the real thing, we were far under the time limit, but when showtime came around, we ended up cutting it pretty close timewise. It was a massive weight off my shoulders when my group had finished presenting. Now, I won’t have anything to worry about for the rest of the trip. It’s a good feeling.

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