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Student from Communication and IT acted as consultant for Maersk Line IT – University of Copenhagen

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18 June 2013

Student from Communication and IT acted as consultant for Maersk Line IT

As part of a team of 40 students from the University of Copenhagen, Mathias Nick Andersen, graduate student from Communication and IT, has analysed Maersk Line IT’s internal communications in Copenhagen and Mumbai. The objective was to solve the cultural communication challenges that Maersk, as a global company, faces every day.  

When activities are offshored to India, communication challenges are an unavoidable consequence – because of long distances but also due to cultural differences. These challenges were at the centre of attention of Mathias and his fellow students. 

Mathias Nick Andersen

Mathias Nick Andersen

The students spent six months studying Maersk Line IT’s internal communications. Data was gathered in Denmark as well as in India. Mathias was one of the 18 students going on a field trip to Mumbai with the purpose of collecting data. During ten days of very hard work, they collected data through observations, interviews, focus groups, video footage, video conferences and meetings. 

At the end of the project period, the students held a workshop at Maersk Line IT, where they presented their analyses and made specific suggestions for improvements in communications.   

Communication and IT background came in handy

During the project, Mathias experienced that his Communication and IT background came in very handy, On the one hand, I could draw on my experiences in collaborating with various businesses, which is an integrated part of my studies. On the other hand, the theories and methods I’ve learned turned out to be very useful in a real life context like this one.  

Mathias exemplifies this point by explaining how he was not only able to come up with ideas for technical and organizational solutions to ensure knowledge sharing and collaboration between Copenhagen and Mumbai – he was able to do this with a clear focus on user needs.  

Maersk Line IT benefitted from the project

The project was, however, not only an instructive experience for the students. Maersk Line IT also benefitted from it: improvements of Maersk Lines in-house training programmes were a direct result. The training programmes have been changed, so that they now focus more on cultural differences – an area where the company has faced serious challenges, but also an area where it is possible to reap great rewards. 

Mathias and his fellow students in Mumbai. Photo: University of Copenhagen.

Mathias and his fellow students in Mumbai. Photo: University of Copenhagen.

Peter Skyttegaard, head of IT strategy and workforce governance, Maersk Line, is very satisfied with the project,  

The academic approach taken by the students is quite different from Maersk’s action-oriented culture. We react very quickly to problems and then make adjustments if our solutions do not have an effect. But this project has made it clear to us that it is valuable to spend time on thorough analyses of e.g. communications in our organisation.  

Mathias Nick Andersen hopes that other students will follow in their footsteps and make these types of collaborative projects with industry more common at the Faculty of Humanities. 

All in all, Mathias adds, it has been a very rewarding experience – it was interesting to see the complex workings of a global company, and it was satisfying to put my analytical approach into practice and see how well it complemented the different approaches of the other students.  

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