Europe Study Tour 2016 – Day 3

Written by: Abhishek Ghosh (MBA Candidate), and Ivy Cheng (MBA Candidate)

May 4, 2016

The day started very early for us. We had to leave our hotel by 7:30am to reach our host for the day – Merck KGAA – in Darmstadt on time. The trip to Darmstadt was uneventful, but quite picturesque and beautiful. We were accompanied by our favourite mascot – Eddie aka Ed Broad aka Education Abroad

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We arrived at Merck premises at 10am, and were given our individual access card to move around the company premises without any hassle. Our day tour was arranged by Merck KGaA’s tour facilitator, and was quite enjoyable.

The program kicked off with a brief introduction to the Merck family tree, and the three pillars of Merck KGAA – life sciences, healthcare and Performance materials. This was followed by a trip to the modular innovation center which is as of today serving as a prototype for a far bigger innovation center which is under construction at the Darmstadt location. The new center will be Merck’s biggest innovation center across the globe.

The trip to the innovation center was followed by some delicious German cuisine, courtesy of our lovely hosts. Post lunch, we were given a presentation by the head of Merck’s Treasury who gave us a detailed account of Merck’s 2016 acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich worth $17.2 billion. A trivia held by speaker was won by Abhishek and he won a collector item as a prize – an original Merck KGaA stock whose current worth was around $400,00 (if not for the hole punched at the left bottom corner to make the paper serve as a souvenir). The speaker was quite detailed and helped us understand the various steps an organization goes through to finance an acquisition. The Q&A session with the speaker also highlighted how different the process was for a family owned business than a publicly owned organization.

Our presentation was followed by a tour around the Merck compound, and we got to see their warehouses and their toxicology center. Next we were given a tour of Merck family’s museum which gave us a glimpse of the corporate history of the Merck family as well as the organization Merck KGaA. The exhibits displayed highlighted the various historical milestones of the organization. The tour concluded with a treat of coffee and cake, and some wonderful gifts from our hosts.

The long and fruitful day ended with an amazing dinner and ice cream in Koblenz, and with preparations for our next day’s travel to Berlin!

Dank und Abschied! Abhi and Ivy