Frequently Asked Questions

01 When does the Program start?

The Modul Service Design Thinking (SDT) starts once a year (mid September). The international kick-off (SUGAR Network) takes place mid/end October.

02 When does the program end?

The final presentations are end of June (the following year). Until then, there will be teaching-units, regular coachings and team working sessions.

03 What is the amount of work / effort I should calculate?

You should plan with 2 days per week per student (including semester holidays) – depending on the project situation it can be more.

04 What does teamwork mean in the SDT program?

Within the framework of the SDT module, international student teams work on real innovation challenges of renowned partner companies. Each team is composed of 3-4 KIT students and 3-4 students from a foreign partner university (e.g. St. Gallen, USTC, Linkoping University, Aalto Helsinki, Trinity College, …). The teams are working on the challenge of their respective partner company for over 9 months (e.g. September 2018 – June 2019). The teams receive a contact person on the company side, with which they regularly exchange information on the project stand. To cover travel expenses and some purchases, each team gets its own budget. The teams are encouraged to organize themselves.

05 How are the lessons in the SDT program structured and designed?

Methodologically, the program is based on the design thinking approach taught at Stanford University and applied internationally. To learn this approach, we run a boot camp at KIT at the beginning of the program. Afterwards an international kick-off takes place, in which lectures are typically also included. Finally, there are weekly classes (LGMs, see below) at KIT over the duration of the program. The teaching program is supplemented – as required – by guest lectures. Basically, the teaching is extremely interactive and is closer to an exercise than a classical lecture.

06 Who is teaching the SDT program?

The teaching is done by the so-called teaching team (TT) – including Prof. Dr. Gerhard Satzger.

Different employees of the KSRI are involved in the execution of SGMs and LGMs (Niels Feldmann, Anke Holtmann-Plog, Laura Kienzle, Ronny Schüritz). Finally, the teaching team is supplemented by so-called teaching assistants. These are students of the previous years who will assist you with SGMs, preparation for presentations etc.

07 Which attendance dates should I schedule for the program?

Weekly appointments:

  1. We conduct weekly coaching sessions of approx. 60 min length with each student team, so-called Small Group Meetings (SGM). The appointment is selected together with the team.
  2. There is also a weekly course in which all teams participate together, the so-called Large Group Meeting (LGM). LGMs last about 90 minutes, have some lecture character with very strong interactive part or are forum to discuss intermediate results together. The LGM usually take place on Mondays from 18:00 to 19:30.

Note: The attendance dates take place during the entire 9 months, i.e. during the semester holidays.



  1. In mid-September the program starts with a 1.5-day warm-up in Karlsruhe
  2. The official international SUGAR kick-off takes place mid/end of October.
  3. First interim presentation (fall presentation) beginning December.
  4. Second interim presentation (winter presentation) will take place beginning of March.
  5. Two final presentations (SUGAR network and partner companies) will take place end of June.

The presentation dates 3, 4 and 5 are held either in Karlsruhe or at one of our university partners and each have a duration of 1-1.5 days.

08 The program sounds like a lot of effort. Why should I take part?

Indeed, the effort for the program is not to be underestimated. But there are also some attractive advantages for you:

  • You receive 9 ECTS in a separate module.
  • You build up an extensive knowledge in the Design Thinking approach. This approach to innovate services has been a strong demand in industry for many years.
  • You are building a network of international contacts to attractive companies, high-level corporate representatives and leading universities.
  • You learn to work in international teams (including remote work). In doing so, you collect valuable experience in the area of intercultural communication and project management.
  • Working with high-level corporate representatives, you will be trained in communication with senior executives.
  • The program includes international travel. Trips to the start and/or closing event as well as to the milestone presentations in Europe are part of this. In addition, you will occasionally visit your teammates from the partner university.
  • Finally, as a teaching team, we offer occasional personal coaching sessions.

09 How can I apply?

The application is made via the KIT WiWi Portal and can be done until sometime around Mid June. Please check the KSRI Homepage for the exact dates.

10 How does the selection process work?

The selection process consists of three steps:

  1. You apply on the WiWi portal. In this initial application, your letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and transcript of grades is sufficient. The application can be submitted in German or English. Based on the impression of the documents, we invite to personal interviews/discussions.
  2. These personal interviews (usually a single and a group interview) are done by the teaching team. 1:1 with Prof. Dr. Satzger and the group interview with 2 other candidates and the KSRI teaching team. As a rule, the interviews take place in July (provisional). Concrete dates are still to follow. The result of this round is a provisional list of participants as well as a „waiting list“.
  3. Depending on the number of firm commitments made by partner companies, we will finally give you a final confirmation.

11 What are the selection criteria for participants?

There are many criteria for the selection of participants. Of course, your grades plays a role, but it is only one criteria among many. Your letter of motivation, your CV and, above all, your experiences and skills that are evident in these two documents are very important. We not want to include only brilliant students in the program, but also to put together teams that cover a wide range of skills. Finally, our impressions from the interviews are important too. The program includes intensive international teamwork. In this respect, teams need to fit together not only professionally but also personally.

12 What does SUGAR mean?

SUGAR stands for „Stanford Global Alliance for Redesign“ and designates the network of approximately 20 universities from around the world participating in this program. You can find an overview of the network on the SUGAR Website.

13 I’ve got more questions. Who can I contact?

Every summer, we offer an Info-event at the beginning of the application phase. At this time, we will give a brief overview of the method and show examples of what kind of tasks will come to you over the nine months. We have also invited some of the participants of the previous year to be able to answer any questions.