EESC-USP integrates international undergraduate and graduate students through an online course

(versão em português)

The year 2020 was turbulent and challenging, and required a lot of fast and disruptive changes so that we could be able to continue with our daily activities. In this scenario, the Change Management course, offered by the Production Engineering Department (EESC/USP), occurred during the second semester. For the first time offered completely online, in English and counting with the participation of international students. Students were able to learn about how organizations manage changes initiatives (such as digital transformation, Industry 4.0 and so on) and how to establish strategies to overcome possible resistance.The course used the Team Based Learning (TBL) as its pedagogical approach, in which students, in addition to learning theories related to change management, also delivered individual weekly assignments before each class and developed practical group project activities, with the support of tutoring companies. Thirty five (35) students finished the whole course.

The course has as its main goals the development of leadership skills related to the Change Management Process in order to contribute to the future technological and social performance of undergraduate and graduate students in their professional environments. According to Professor Gerolamo, “most of the students have already strong technical backgrounds, so in the course they are encouraged to also consider the social aspects that impact the effectiveness of their projects”.

The course promoted the interaction of people with different know-how and experiences, and at this time, it had the addition of  multicultural teams. The teams were formed by undergraduate and graduate students, coming from four different countries (Brazil, Colombia, Germany and Spain). The 17 foreign students are from four universities: Bochum University of Applied Sciences and Hannover University (Germany), Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain), and Saint Thomas University (Colombia).

The teams had the challenge to implement all the concepts and approaches learned during the course in their project with the partner companies. Five  projects were developed and presented solutions to two real cases of Brazilian companies. The 2020 edition counted with the collaborations of three partner companies: Ernst & Young (EY) Brasil, Braile Biomédica and Itera. Braile Biomédica and Itera supplied the course with the challenges and problems that should be solved by the students using the learned concepts. EY provided three lives that gave to the students the access to different tools used in change projects. Additionally, there was a Workshop about Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation provided by experts from Bochum University of Applied Sciences – BHO (Dr. Sebastian Finke) and Technical University of Berlin – TUB (Bernd Muschard and Wolf Schliepack).

The figure summarizes the Change Management course in numbers.

While the whole world struggled with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, it was also possible to perceive opportunities in such a context. “While any crisis has its negative side, it also opens the doors for innovation and breakthroughs. Our department viewed 2020 not only as a challenging and difficult year, but also as a year of possibilities. With this mindset, we decided to offer the normal every-year Change Management elective course in a “post-normal mode”, i.e., we offered it 100% online and in English. The result: students from four countries with different cultures, languages, backgrounds, time zones, expectations, etc. worked together to accomplish the course learning outcomes. It was a successful experience and we hope that Brazilian legislation as well USP norms become more flexible to promote this kind of educational initiative more times in a new normal, post-pandemic world”, concludes professor Mateus Gerolamo, who also highlighted the importance of the teaching assistants (graduate students PAE program), and the administrative support offered by the undergraduate and graduate secretaries and the International Office at EESC-USP.

                            Part of the class 2020 in the last class of the course.

You can see below some testimonials from the participants:

“What I think was also very interesting is the fact that we are all from different countries, we have different perspectives and also different ways to work and different resources to work or to get our input from.” 
Anouk Chibuzo Egole
Master student, International Management, Ruhr-University in Bochum, Bochum University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Hear the testimony in this link


“The strongest point of the discipline that I believe to be, is the methodology that is not really a traditional methodology. We as students were able to choose where to focus, which made the most sense for us, and that was very interesting because throughout the course we produced essays that, in my view, ended up becoming an arsenal of tools for our professional future.”
Eduarda Juliana Cunha da Rosa
Undergraduate student, Biology, Unicamp, Brazil
See the testimony in this link


“I am really sure that I have made real progress in my knowledge and in my English… … I think I have learned very much about change management, and as I am studying sustainable development, in that context I think or I know that change management is going to be a big topic for me.”
Kabilan Thavachelvan
Undergraduate student, Sustainable Development, Bochum University of Applied Sciences, Germany
See the testimony in this link


“The thing I liked most about the course was the organization, also the team based method is really a smart method and allows you to learn a lot in a compact time period…”
Laila Timoumi
Graduate student, Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany
See the testimony in this link


“The integration between the graduate and the undergraduate students from different countries highlighted the value of complementary points of view.”
Marina F. Aguiar
Master student, Production Engineering, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil
See the testimony in this link


“We had people coming from Brazil, some from Colombia, some from Spain, and others from Germany, just like myself. I will just quickly review what this course meant for me personally and professionally… … What helped me a lot is having worked internationally, in international teams because that way you have to coordinate better and you have different cultures who are maybe clashing even… … it is helping me a lot for that, and I really recommend you to participate in the next semester.”
Michelle S.
Master student, Applied Sustainability, Bochum University of Applied Sciences, Germany
See the testimony in this link


“It was not only Change Management, about intercultural management somehow, and additionally what I have learned is to work with academic papers or scientific papers.”
Miguel Colbert
Master student,  Environmental Engineering, Bochum University of Applied Sciences, Germany
See the testimony in this link


See all the videos with the students feedbacks in the playlist:

If you want to see some of the material produced by the students, please go to our Facebook group:

Professor Mateus C. Gerolamo
Phone: +55 16 3373-8643
Production Engineering Department
São Carlos School of Engineering (EESC)
University of São Paulo (USP)