Thierry Biwer is a man with a plan. Not content with merely studying logistics, the KLU masters student wants to bring people together to help advance the field in his native Luxembourg, a country better known for its financal dealings than the business of logistics.
“The government is investing a lot in the logistics sector in Luxembourg at the moment, in order to switch from a purely financial system to a more operative one in the future,” he explains. To achieve this, he says, the country needs more than just capital investment, it needs people with the right skills. “At the moment just a very small amount of students study logistics or supply chain management. I think it is a shame and I want encourage new students to chose this field of studies since it differs greatly from always studying general management studies or law, which are very popular in Luxembourg. We want to create an association which brings these logistics students together so that they can network and exchange different experiences.”
Having studied economics and management as well as completing a number of internships in the finance industry in Luxembourg he says that “even though I only saw a small part of that industry I knew that there was something else, which could give me an extra boost. Economics and management were always great interests for me but I wished to be involved in a more operational part.”
That led him to seek internships in logistics with two companies specializing in airfreight. “It was a great experience and I felt very comfortable with the working environment,” he says. “It felt like the right choice so I applied for a M.Sc. program in global logistics at the KLU in Hamburg. I actually had the choice between the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the KLU. I finally made up my decision based on the organizational characteristics of the university and the city of Hamburg, a global player in maritime transportation.”
Biwer says that life at the KLU, with its small student population is like “a second family.”
“Both the closeness to the professor and the facilities are outstanding,” he adds. “Furthermore, the professors have very strong knowledge of logistics and supply chain since most of them worked in the corporate world at some point.”
Currently on an exchange semester in Ningbo, China, Biwer hopes to have the student network up and running in 2016.
To this end he is working with the Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg. “The cluster is an entity of the Luxembourg chamber of commerce which focuses on Luxembourgish and foreign companies in this sector,” he explains. “Their purpose is to promote local companies to do business abroad as well as to encourage foreign logistics operators to start activities in Luxembourg. And if Luxembourg is to evolve towards an important and strategic location for logistics companies, more and more specialists are needed to keep up with the fierce global competition.”
A logistics student association, he says, could help fill this deficit by acting not only as a place where students can network and share their experiences and ideas but as a channel into the industy.
“This way, we hope to encourage more students to choose logistics as it plays an interesting and crucial role in all commercial companies,” he says.