29.11.2021 17:06 Age: 301 Tage
Category: Geographie
By: Kiese

Between Tradition and Future: 14th MOC Class Analyses Solingen’s Cutlery District and Ethiopia’s Emerging Textile Industry Cluster

International and interdisciplinary: 14 th MOC class at RUB with RUB instructors Prof Matthias Kiese and Simon Rohde and guest instructor Prof Dominika Kuberska from Poland. Screenshot by Matthias Kiese, 29 November.

In October 2013, the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) was admitted to the Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) Affiliate Network at Harvard Business School. Eight years later, Prof Matthias Kiese offers the MOC course developed by leading management professor Michael E. Porter for the 14th time this semester, most recently in co-operation with Simon Rohde. Due to the pandemic, the current edition is the fifth consecutive online MOC class at RUB.

Ten students participate in this innovative course offered by RUB's Institute of Geography. Despite its small size, the class once again represents remarkable variety with six different nationalities and study programmes. Two students each represent M.Sc. programmes in Economics, Geography, Management and Economics, as well as Transformation of Urban Landscapes. One student from the PhD programme in International Development Studies and one from TU Dortmund's M.Sc. in Spatial Planning complete the course.

Needless to say, class discussions once again benefit from the international and interdisciplinary mix of participants. "This diversity of backgrounds and experiences enriches our discussions enormously", rejoices Prof Kiese, as the course is built around case studies on the competitiveness of countries, regions and firms, as well as their spatial concentration in so-called clusters. MOC comprises eleven case studies this semester, including classics such as the Japanese fax industry and the Californian wine cluster, but also modern favourites like the Dutch flower cluster, Mayor Bloomberg's economic development strategy for New York City, or Intercorp as an example of a corporate group creating shared value in Peru.

As in previous semesters, some discussions were led by guest instructors, including former RUB MOC instructor Christian Hundt (Estonia in Transition), Tina Haisch (Wine Clusters) and Dominika Kuberska on the Dutch Flower Cluster. Christian Hundt now works at the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, a federal research institute for rural areas, forestry and fisheries, while Dominika Kuberska is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland. She has been an MOC Affiliate Member at Harvard Business School for many years and joined MOC at RUB as a guest instructor for the fourth time today. Tina Haisch is a professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, where she heads the Centre of Excellence for Innovation and Space.

Students complete the course with group projects, each group analysing the competitiveness of a cluster of their own choice. One group decided to revisit the traditional Solingen cutlery district that underwent substantial transition since it had been prominently studied by Alfred Marshall more than a century ago and by Michael E. Porter for his seminal book on the competitive advantage of nations. The other group was attracted by the emerging textile and apparel manufacturing cluster in Ethiopia, and will be among the first to investigate its prospects from a cluster perspective.

Additional motivation comes from a World Cup-style contest. The best case study from Bochum will enter a competition with more than 100 universities worldwide, which are part of the MOC network. The winner will be honoured at the annual MOC affiliate workshop in Boston. In 2016, a RUB student team managed to claim the prestigious trophy with a case study on Frankfurt's financial services cluster.

While the 14th MOC class at RUB is just starting to work on their group projects, preparations for the 15th class in the Summer Term of 2022 are already under way. Is the future of MOC going to be online? Prof Kiese remains sceptical: "We had no choice but to go online once again and students are still highly motivated and engaged, but discussions used to be livelier and more vibrant in a physical classroom." Starting on 04 April 2022, the course will again be offered on a weekly basis via Zoom every Monday afternoon from 14-17 hours - Monday is MOC day! Until 31 March 2022, graduate and PhD-level students from all programmes across the University Alliance Ruhr (UAR) are invited to register with matthias.kiese(at)rub(dot)deOpens window for sending email stating name, programme and matriculation number. Places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. Further information about MOC can be found here:




Bochum, 29 November 2021

Prof Dr Matthias Kiese