< Informationsveranstaltung (obligatorisches Beratungsgespräch) M. Sc. Geographie
08.06.2020 22:16 Age: 30 Tage
Category: Stadt- und Regionalökonomie, Studinews
By: Kiese

From Silicon Wadi to Dutch Pharmaceuticals:

Tenth MOC Class Defined Research Projects

International and interdisciplinary: Tenth MOC class at RUB with guest instructor Dr Julian Kahl (top left) Screenshot by Matthias Kiese, 18 May 2020

MOC class with guest instructor Dr Dominika Kuberska (top left) Screenshot by Matthias Kiese, 08 June 2020

In October 2013, the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) was admitted to the Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) Affiliate Network at Harvard Business School. Seven years later, Prof Matthias Kiese offers the MOC course developed by leading management professor Michael E. Porter for the tenth time this semester. Owing to the current pandemic, this jubilee edition also constitutes the novelty of being the first online MOC class at RUB.

13 students participate in this innovative course offered by the Institute of Geography at RUB, once again representing a diverse mix of five nationalities and six different programmes. With six out of 13, a narrow majority of students once again represent master programmes in Economics, as well as Management and Economics. Two students are from the host faculty’s M.Sc. programme in Geography, while two other students joined from neighbouring TU Dortmund’s master-level programme in Spatial Planning. Thanks to the new online format, one students from RUB’s master programme European Culture and Economy participates despite being temporarily based in France.

Needless to say that 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 nine 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 or Mayor Bloomberg’s economic development strategy for New York City.

As in previous semesters, some discussions were led by guest instructors, including former RUB MOC instructor Dr Julian Kahl (Estonia in Transition) and Dr Dominika Kuberska on the Dutch Flower Cluster. Julian Kahl is now at the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy (IMW) in Leipzig, 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.

Students complete the course with group projects, each group analysing the competitiveness of a cluster of their own choice. When choosing their case studies, the groups once again showed great creativity. While one group started its research into the Dutch pharmaceutical cluster, another group chose Hamburg’s maritime cluster. The third group picked Israel’s information and communication (ICT) cluster as topic for their research, widely known as Israel’s Silicon Valley, or Silicon Wadi using the Arab word for valley, which is also used in colloquial Hebrew.

Additional motivation comes from a World Cup-style contest. The best case study from Bochum will enter a competition with more than 100 universities world-wide, 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 tenth MOC class at RUB has just started working on their group projects, preparations for the eleventh class in the Winter Term of 2020/2021 are already under way. Is the future of MOC going to be online? Prof Kiese remains sceptical: “We may have another online edition in the winter semester if needed, but discussions used to be more lively and vibrant in a physical classroom.” Online or offline, the course will again be offered on a weekly basis every Monday afternoon from 14-17 hours – Monday is MOC day! Until 30 September 2020[1], students from all Master-level and PhD programmes across the University Alliance Ruhr (UAR) are invited to register with matthias.kiese(at)rub(dot)de stating name, programme and matriculation number. Places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

[1] This deadline will likely be extended once the start of the lecture period is confirmed.



Further information about MOC can be found here:





Bochum, 08 June 2020

Prof Dr Matthias Kiese