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Es ist eine eindrucksvolle Erfolgsgeschichte: Mehr als 800 Fach- und Führungskräfte haben in den zurückliegenden zehn Jahren eines der drei Executive-MBA-Programme an der Mannheim Business School absolviert. Ihre Karrierewege sind beeindruckend. Und sie alle eint eine einmalige Erfahrung, die für ihre Persönlichkeit ebenso prägend war wie für ihren Führungsstil und ihre Fachkompetenz. Daher sind die Executive-MBA-Programme der Mannheim Business School inzwischen für viele namhafte Unternehmen ein wertvolles Entwicklungsinstrument für ihre Leistungsträger geworden.
Executive-MBA-Programme genießen ein hohes Ansehen, gelten als ideales Sprungbrett für eine Karriere im Top-Management. Doch an wen richten sich diese Programme? Und was macht sie so besonders? Nilgün Vatansever, Admissions Managerin für die Executive-MBA-Programme an der Mannheim Business School, gibt Antwort.
Frau Vatansever, für wen eignet sich ein Executive-MBA-Programm?
Seriöse Executive-MBA-Programme richten sich erfahrene Fach- und Führungskräfte mit beträchtlicher Berufserfahrung nach ihrem akademischen Erstabschluss. An der Mannheim Business School fordern wir mindestens acht Jahre, der tatsächliche Durchschnitt in den Klassen liegt aber wesentlich höher. Damit sind diese Programme gleichermaßen für Fachkräfte geeignet, die sich in Richtung einer generalistischen Managementposition verändern wollen oder sollen, wie auch für Führungskräfte, die bereits über umfassende Personal- und/oder Budgetverantwortung verfügen und sich fachlich wie auch persönlich weiterentwickeln wollen.
Warum diese klare Abgrenzung zu normalen MBA-Programmen? Kann es nicht gerade inspirierend sein, wenn sich erfahrene Führungskräfte und Jung-Manager austauschen?
Natürlich! Und die Gelegenheit zu diesem Austausch bieten gute Business Schools auch, aber auf Veranstaltungen außerhalb der eigentlichen Curricula. Denn so ähnlich die grundlegenden Inhalte von MBA und Executive MBA (EMBA) auch sein mögen, so unterschiedlich sind die Formen der Wissensvermittlung. In EMBA-Programmen findet das mit- und vor allem voneinander Lernen in einer vollkommen anderen Qualität und Intensität statt, als dies in Programmen, die sich an eine jüngere Zielgruppe richten, der Fall sein kann. So ist ausdrücklich erwünscht, dass die Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer eigenes Wissen und eigene Erfahrungen in die Lehrveranstaltungen einbringen. Daher kommt es nicht selten vor, dass beispielsweise ein südamerikanischer Ingenieur, der internationale Großprojekte verantwortet hat, eine deutsche Geisteswissenschaftlerin, die im Journalismus tätig ist, und ein nordamerikanischer Geologe, der in der Ölindustrie arbeitet, gemeinsam eine Lösung für eine Problemstellung finden müssen und dabei mit vollkommen neuen Denk- und Arbeitsweisen konfrontiert werden.
Das stellt bestimmt auch besondere Anforderungen an den Lehrkörper, oder?
Auf jeden Fall! Reiner Frontalunterricht macht in EMBA-Programmen keinen Sinn, denn grundlegende Begriffe und Konzepte sind in der Regel bereits durch die jahrelange Berufspraxis bekannt oder im Selbststudium erworben worden. Viel mehr übernehmen Lehrende häufig eine moderierende Rolle, indem sie Fachdiskussionen leiten und lenken, ihre eigene Expertise punktgenau einbringen und letztlich dafür sorgen, dass die Lernziele erreicht werden.
Was raten Sie Interessenten? Schließlich trifft man die Entscheidung für ein Executive-MBA-Programm wohl kaum über Nacht…
Man sollte sich sehr genau und umfassend informieren, denn längst nicht alle MBA- und EMBA-Programme, die in Deutschland angeboten werden, entsprechen den internationalen Standards. Ebenso wenig ist jedes Programm, das „Executive“ im Namen trägt, auch tatsächlich ein EMBA. Daher sollte man den Dialog mit dem Anbieter seines Wunschprogramms suchen und sich am besten vor Ort oder im Gespräch mit aktuellen Teilnehmern und Alumni, die möglicherweise sogar einen ähnlichen beruflichen Werdegang hatten informieren. Eine ideale Plattform sind Open Days, wie wir sie an der Mannheim Business School zwei Mal pro Jahr anbieten. Nicht zuletzt sollte man auch die Bewerbungsfristen beachten und sich frühzeitig bewerben, um in den Genuss von Early-Bird-Rabatten oder Stipendien zu kommen.
Flexible, auf die Bedürfnisse von Führungskräften abgestimmte Curricula
Ein Abschluss der führenden deutschen Universität in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Vermittlung von Wissen, Instrumenten und Methoden in allen Management-Kernbereichen
Eine Fakultät, die für praxisorientierte Lehre und Forschung auf Weltklasse-Niveau steht
Systematische Entwicklung der eigenen Persönlichkeit und Führungskompetenzen
Ein erstklassiges Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis
Ein hoch internationales Umfeld
Nachhaltiges Lernen durch Möglichkeit zur Teilnahme an Personal Development Days und Wahlkursen bis zu drei Jahre nach Abschluss
Ein hochkarätiges, internationales und branchenübergreifendes Netzwerk
Sie sind eine erfahrene, international orientierte Führungskraft? Sie wollen Ihr Management-Wissen weiter ausbauen, neue Instrumente und Methoden kennen lernen und sich als Persönlichkeit und Führungskraft weiter entwickeln? Dann ist ein Executive-MBA-Programm für sie die richtige Wahl. Unsere Anforderungen im Überblick:
Mehr als 60% unserer Executive-MBA-Absolventen wechselten während des Programms ihren Job (innerhalb oder außerhalb ihres Unternehmens)
Unter den Top 20 (ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA) weltweit in der Kategorie "Karrierefortschritt" im Financial Times EMBA Ranking
Mannheimer EMBA-Absolventen erzielen laut Financial Times EMBA Ranking drei Jahre nach Abschluss des Programms im Durchschnitt Gehaltssteigerungen von mehr als 45%
Jens Grüneklee, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA Class of 2019
“I had gained a lot of professional experience and knowledge throughout my career by my mid-40s. However, this was purely practical experience—sometimes also due to an element of intuition, but only marginally due to specialist knowledge. I lacked the basics, the theory, which is critical when you’re up against younger, well-trained people. I will complete my studies in early summer this year. In the longer term, I would continue focusing on a leadership position in strategic development. I feel I am well enough prepared for this now. Although it’s been a very intensive period, I’m hugely satisfied.”
Jens Grüneklee, 47, Director Investment Management at a financial services provider in Luxembourg, is currently completing the ESSEC & MANNHEIM Executive MBA program at Mannheim Business School.
“2017 was my breaking point. My contract as director of a Munich-based financial services provider had come to an end. I knew I didn’t want to extend it. I had gained a lot of professional experience and knowledge throughout my career by my mid-40s. However, this was purely practical experience—sometimes also due to an element of intuition, but only marginally due to specialist knowledge. I had last studied 15 years earlier. I lacked the basics, the theory, which is critical when you’re up against younger, well-trained people.
My choice of business school wasn’t primarily based on the rankings, but rather on what suited me and my interests. The networking opportunities were also one of my priorities. Since I’ve always been a committed Francophile, I looked for a program that somehow involved France. My wife is French, and we live and work in Luxembourg. So I booked an international program at Mannheim Business School, which is delivered entirely in English, with half the courses in Mannheim and the other half in Paris. Eighteen intensive months and 46 participants, each with their own specific choices, from whom I could benefit.
Although I’m one of the older ones at 47, the age difference in the group is not so big. The majority of the us are approaching 40, which I find very congenial. I would have certainly benefited less from a younger group. As it is, we all have more life and work experience.
I find learning easy. This is partly due to the fact that the knowledge transfer is different from that at universities: less bookishness and more discussion, teamwork and case studies. Since this is a sheltered space, I never have the feeling that anyone here needs to assert their alpha status. Nobody has the attitude: ‘I’m the top dog here. I know how things work.’ We all want to learn and are consequently open to new experiences.
I will complete my studies in early summer this year. In the longer term, I would continue focusing on a leadership position in strategic development. I feel I am well enough prepared for this now. Although it’s been a very intensive period, I’m hugely satisfied.”
Excerpt from the article „Später, aber dafür bewusster“, Christiane Bertelsmann, Süddeutsche Zeitung, February 15, 2019
Dejan Miletic, Mannheim Executive MBA Class of 2017
“Thanks to the tools and methods I learned during the program, I can recognize opportunities and estimate risks much better. I feel much more confident and a better leader. With the Mannheim Executive MBA, I got so much more than I expected – an amazing network of peers, tangible and applicable knowledge, a powerful career boost – and all with a ROI of just two years.”
My goal was to develop myself further. I wanted to close gaps in my professional knowledge, extend my network, and thus speed up my career. Before deciding in favor of Mannheim, I had a look at London Business School (LBS) and Eli Broad College of Business at MSU – Michigan State University, USA. It was the atmosphere at MBS, the timetable, the clear and structured program, and the possibility to talk to alumni and attend a class free of charge before admission that made up my mind. Other arguments that sweetened the deal were the price of the Executive MBA at MBS and the German tax system.
Thanks to the tools and methods I learned during the program, I can recognize opportunities and estimate risks much better. I feel much more confident and a better leader. Recognizing my development as an executive, my company increased their trust in me and gave me more responsibility. One year after graduation I got promoted and am now leading sales units on three continents.
It is hard to single out just a few experiences as there were so many valuable lessons and encounters. But the first things that come to mind are the outdoor leadership training and the strategic project: The former because of the simple and yet so powerful takeaways, and the latter because of the lessons learned.
My personal highlights were definitely my classmates and professors. I was privileged to learn and work with amazing people.
With the Mannheim Executive MBA, I got so much more than I expected – an amazing network, tangible and applicable knowledge, a powerful career boost – and all with a ROI of just two years.
Christian Gossmann, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA Class of 2018
“All the course assignments were done in a multi-competence team with five to six people. This means: Failure was not an option; somehow, these groups had to get up to speed with one another. Due to the need to be effective and to face so many different personalities in such a short time, you inevitably learn a lot about yourself and others, and how to ensure the right leadership is in place to get things done. I was impressed with the open-minded, self-reflecting, professional, and friendly attitude of all these different people throughout this process. The program has made me curious about the world, about opportunities, and especially about people. I am ready to be impressed, are you?”
Graduation – some reflections
I’ve graduated with Executive MBA degrees from two renowned business schools: What a great feeling!
Eighteen months ago, a group of 49 people from 24 countries and different industries and businesses started this EMBA program. We all had different expectations and various reasons for starting. The program’s management told us upfront: “It will be a transformational experience – you will not be the same person that started this program. It will be tough, as business life goes on, and most of you have families with (up to 4!!) kids. So, the key to success is optimization and effectiveness, including support from work and especially from your families.” I didn’t realize what they meant. Now I know!
At least once a month, our studies brought us together in Paris or Mannheim for four to six days, to attend the required, mandatory courses. On top of this, we had a couple of electives and international study trips to Washington and Asia, including Singapore, Seoul, and Shanghai. Since this EMBA is a high-level program, more than one pre- and post-assignment per course frequently had to be delivered. We also had to work on multiple projects such as the social class project and the strategy project. We learned a lot: from economics, accounting, and finance, to entrepreneurship and geopolitics. As this program is in general management, we did not become experts in a particular field, unless we already were before. However, we are now able to connect the dots and get the big picture.
The entire class with our fellow students on the presidential stairs at Georgetown University, Washington.
At the core of the program is leadership. What a big and much-discussed word. For me, this is where the transformation started. I remember the first day with Prof. Kakabadse, who welcomed us with, “Most of you don’t want to be CEOs!” and the subsequent St. Cyr military leadership camp, when it became clear: These 18 months with these people will be interesting. It was an 18-month training camp, or perhaps a sandbox in which to get groups not only to work, but to deliver high-quality materials under time pressure. Almost all assignments and projects involved group work.
All the course assignments were done in a multi-competence team with five to six people. This means: Failure was not an option; somehow, these groups had to get up to speed with one another, otherwise it would have been torture. It is good we had some guidance, including creating a team charter and several coaching sessions. At the same time, the team pitched for the strategic project and kicked off the social class project. Within this setup, there is nowhere to hide. Due to the need to be effective and to face so many different personalities in such a short time, you inevitably learn a lot about yourself and others, and how to ensure the right leadership is in place to get things done. I was impressed with the open-minded, self-reflecting, professional, and friendly attitude of all these different people throughout this process. This transformation process was like a wave: Sometimes you ride it, and sometimes it rides you…
MCT #1: It feels like a family.
Now it’s done and dusted: We’ve delivered all assignments, the strategic projects have been judged, and our playgrounds for the world social class project have been funded. Welcome to Mannheim Palace to receive our degrees and throw our mortarboards, as tradition dictates. This feels so good!
However, it is sad that I won’t meet all these very familiar people on a regular basis anymore, and that I won’t have any more courses to prepare me for the unexpected. “It is not an end, it is a beginning,” said Prof. Wüstemann in his graduation speech. He may be right. Now, it is about putting all we have learned in context and reality.
The program has made me curious about the world, about opportunities, and especially about people. I am ready to be impressed, are you?
The ESSEC & MANNHEIM Executive MBA Class of 2018
Carolina Astorga, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA Class of 2018
“I saw the ESSEC & MANNHEIM program as an eye-opening learning experience essential for my mid-career recalibration. I believed that being part of a world-class program at a number one business school in Germany and also one of the most international programs would surely enable me to pursue my goals. Therefore, stepping outside of my comfort zone seemed to be the way forward. Indeed, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA program was the right thing to do!”
Capitalize on your uniqueness and challenge yourself to become a better YOU
Carolina has a background in engineering and has worked in the mining industry for more than 13 years. She has traveled the world and lived in the Indonesian jungle. She moved to Germany with her young family and after working freelance for a while, she decided to pursue an EMBA simultaneously with her husband. They have four children. Carolina is now fully back on track pursuing a senior management position in a conglomerate in Germany.
Under my particular circumstances, there are two questions people often ask me: “Why to pursue an EMBA?” and “How do I strive to achieve my goals?”
As for my reasons to pursue an Executive MBA, I always give the same answer: It was the right thing to do and the right time for me. Let me elaborate now a little bit further. I found myself in the most pivotal years of my career after taking a career break to raise my children abroad. I looked to boost my capabilities and to enrich, broaden, and deepen my perspectives and skills in the realm of leadership and management.
An MBA was also part of my long-term plan. I saw the ESSEC & MANNHEIM program as an eye-opening learning experience essential for my mid-career recalibration. I believed that being part of a world-class program at a number one business school in Germany and also one of the most international programs would surely enable me to pursue my goals. Therefore, stepping outside of my comfort zone seemed to be the way forward. Indeed, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA program was the right thing to do!
On the other hand, it was just the right time. Together with my professional needs, after preparing myself and my loved ones for the new challenges, I was willing and in a strategic position that enabled me to balance work and personal life while investing a large amount of my time into an MBA program to make this project succeed.
However, developing three main activities simultaneously – working mother and student– was not easy. Inevitably, at some point in time problems arise. At times when the mess shows up I allocate my priorities and energy very consciously. Both perspective and balance are key. I am true to my values and I know my goes and no-goes very well. In this regard, my power sources play a role because I believe that we deserve to enjoy as much as possible.
This mindset doesn’t only allow me to focus when challenges arise, but I would say that it is the basis when striving to achieve my goals. To start with, I believe that setting the right goals is a must. They must be both realistic and worthy. I invest significant time to look carefully at the initiatives I commit with: They must be part of my bigger picture, my long-term plan. Apart from that, I don’t have any secrets or shortcuts. I face my targets with a resolute mind, hard-working hands, and a hopeful heart.
At the end of my ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA journey, I can tell that this experience enabled me to grow and develop skills above and beyond my original academic motives. Additionally, its international set-up also exposed me to significant diversity, which contributed to me getting the most from the experience. Coping with the workload and studying in parallel with both a professional and a family life was both challenging and enriching. However, the human factor is by far the biggest takeaway for me. During the program, an entire complex learning process, both as individuals and as a group, took place.
Life itself is a journey; let’s try to make the best of it. Capitalize on your uniqueness and challenge yourself to become a better YOU.
Attila Huttera, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA Class of 2018
“Our recent Advanced Immersion Module on Risk Management marked the final stage of our 18-month EMBA journey. Corporate Social Responsibility works hand in hand with Risk Management to combat the causes and effects of unforeseen events. We gained a comprehensive overview of how relational stakeholder governance, involving NGOs, government, communities, media, and industry associations, in addition to supplier and customer relations help reduce risks arising from uncertainty and insufficient contract coverage.”
A new start in the last EMBA module
Our recent Advanced Immersion Module on Risk Management marked the final stage of our 18-month EMBA journey. This last get-together of our class before graduation was in the brand-new Conference Center of Mannheim Business School beneath the chambers of the splendid Mannheim Palace.
A lesson on the impact of a vision: I remember Prof. Wüstemann, president of Mannheim Business School, envisioning and presenting an innovative study center that was about to be built. This was two years ago, during an EMBA Open Day event I attended. The site has now been completed, replacing the previous concepts and layouts with a ready-to-enter realm.
The course week was complemented with two networking events for participants from several MBS courses. On the first day, a joint lunch with our successors, the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA class of 2019, gave us the opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss the next steps to take during and after the study program. The event was augmented with presentations by the Honorary Consul of France in Mannheim and the Head of Cultural Urban Development encompassing projects for start-up centers, co-working spaces, and intercultural meeting points in Mannheim. During one of the evenings we were invited to Drinks & Drums, a networking event organized at Mannheim Palace for participants of the EMBA, MBA, and Taxation programs. While enjoying finger food, drinks, and conversation, a professional drumming team prompted us to swing our hips and show our own interpretation of rhythm.
But of course, the main purpose of the study week was to attend and benefit from the Risk Management lecture, which has been newly integrated into the EMBA program. In the first part, Prof. Ebert from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management introduced contemporary concepts of financial risk assessment and corresponding hedging strategies. Since even experts and executives are prone to behavioral biases in financial decision-making, Prof. Ebert’s audiences typically comprise business schools alongside executive boards of big corporates like Deutsche Bank.
In the second part of the course, we elaborated with Prof. Bode how process and product complexity elicit supply chain risks, which impact operational fulfillment and reputation. Corporate Social Responsibility works hand in hand with Risk Management to combat the causes and effects of unforeseen events. We gained a comprehensive overview of how relational stakeholder governance, involving NGOs, government, communities, media, and industry associations, in addition to supplier and customer relations help reduce risks arising from uncertainty and insufficient contract coverage.
As our EMBA comes to an end, we have also taken the opportunity to draw conclusions on our joint effort, the Social Class project. Our “all hands on deck” philosophy engaged all members and leveraged our diversity. Our various academic, cultural, and personal backgrounds helped generate a huge range of ideas and initiatives for charitable events and fund raising, which we can be proud of in retrospect.
All said and done, we are now approaching the final countdown to the jury presentation of our entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial strategic projects, before being entitled to throw our hats in the air at the graduation ceremony.
(Group photo by Andrew Auseichyk)
Marina Safont Sempere, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA Class of 2018
“Go ahead! It is fun; it is enriching; it takes you out of your comfort zone. You get to know great people and experience a very intense team spirit that is otherwise difficult to find. You will come out better prepared for your working life – and everything else too. In the program, with my classmates, there is no discrimination of any type: we are people who manage to have fun whatever our cultural background, religion or gender may be. We live and experience diversity at its best!”
What is your main motivation for an EMBA program?
I am a scientist and I have been working in science for a very long time (six years on the job and four years on my Ph.D.). When I started working after my Ph.D., I realized that my ability to make decisions in a corporate environment was limited due to my lack of business know-how. The question that repeatedly comes up whenever there is a new invention is: Is it economically viable? I realized that great technology without a good business plan, good marketing, the right customer orientation, and the right contacts cannot be successful.
For me as a scientist, the MBA program was a great opportunity to broaden my skillset and get a broad overview of all the important aspects of business and the most relevant issues in leadership management. I wanted to achieve a better understanding of all that is required to make a company work, and to differentiate myself from the many people around me by enhancing my profile in this direction.
Has it met your expectations so far? Has it already had an impact on your daily work and career?
So far, I have found the program to be very enriching. I am really quickly getting an overview of many important aspects of business and leadership that I can directly apply in my working environment. I wanted to prepare myself for the next step in my career: to move into a more business-oriented position. In fact, during my MBA I had the opportunity to change from R & D to product management and new business development in the inorganics division within BASF, and the MBA was a clear enabler for me to be able to take this step and take advantage of this exciting opportunity.
Now I really enjoy my new job, getting to experience what I learn in class and being able to add some value to my unit by applying what I am learning. My new job is fun and I feel really fulfilled being able to contribute with my new skills. It is also exciting to learn and live what daily business means, the contact with customers, and marketing in the various regions. Without the MBA, I probably would not have got this position so fast. It has so far already proven to be worth it.
How do you manage to juggle your job, the study workload, and private life?
I have no kids, so one of things that motivate me is to see my colleagues with kids and high-responsibility jobs, and realize how well they manage. They are an inspiration to me. I guess everyone getting into such a program is ready to sacrifice their free time and put in a lot of effort to progress. It is hard to spend weekends and evenings after work reading, preparing assignments, and making calls to coordinate the different tasks with your team. But it is also gratifying to see how things progress and that we deliver good work in our teams.
The most difficult part for me is being able to disconnect: I ALWAYS have something to do – work, class, social life! So my stress level sometimes goes through the roof. But this is also part of learning, being able to multitask, deliver and be efficient, and being able to have fun between one thing and another.
What advice would you give other women thinking of doing an EMBA?
Go ahead! It is fun; it is enriching; it takes you out of your comfort zone. You get to know great people and experience a very intense team spirit that is otherwise difficult to find. You will come out better prepared for your working life – and everything else too. I guess I would say the same to a guy if he were to ask me. In the program, with my classmates, there is no discrimination of any type: we are people who manage to have fun whatever our cultural background, religion or gender may be. We live and experience diversity at its best!
Shuang Han, MANNHEIM & TONGJI Executive MBA, Class of 2016
“Just like the final miles of a marathon, my final thesis will be the greatest challenge. However, all the training - the accumulated knowledge and skills - throughout the program, will now produce results. I look forward to celebrating my graduation in summer 2018!”
The journey is coming to an end
The operations module is my last module of the MANNHEIM & TONGJI Executive MBA program and the final study trip to Shanghai, China.
Before this module, I had already completed the marketing, strategy and finance modules, among others. All these business areas are dependent on and involved in daily operations. Therefore, the MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA program establishes this unique operations module as a basis and critical element of the program for executives to understand how to run and improve the execution of their daily business. The operations module includes: corporate governance by Prof. Kenneth Kim, a leading subject expert worldwide; strategic performance management by Prof. Chris Chan, Ivey Business School, with more than 19 years’ consulting and executive education experience; operations and supply chain management by Prof. Manpreet Hora, US, with diverse industrial operations experiences; and information systems by Prof. Carol Hsu, Tongji University.
Information systems class, operations and supply chain class
Corporate governance class
Again, this is a quite intensive module with a large volume of assigned reading, group work and pre- and post-assignments. However, I found it is very helpful to get an overview of the key principles, concepts, best practices, etc. in various aspects of daily operations. All professors are experts in their research areas, with very diverse industrial backgrounds and educational experiences. For instance, Prof. Kim is one of the top researchers in corporate governance, now the leading expert worldwide and co-author of a best-selling book on corporate governance. His lectures cover the broad perspectives of corporate governance including that of accountants, auditors, executive incentives, boards, investors, shareholders, etc. with many real industrial cases. Due to the unique Sino-German business focus of the MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA program, Prof. Kim also spent half a day discussing the details of corporate governance in China and sharing his experience of it over the last 10 years.
Group work preparation
Prof. Hsu introduced an innovative app called “POP – Prototyping on Pager”, used for developing new digital prototype designs, in her information systems class. This app simply and quickly transfers a business idea from paper into a working demo with an interactive user interface. Program participants used this app in the group assignment and developed their ideas into an application within a few clicks. After presenting core business ideas in a working demo application, each group could collect feedback immediately. The app allows each group to quickly modify their applications based on this feedback. After several iterations, the business idea and related features were dramatically improved to be closer to customer and market requirements.
An example presented in POP
The company visits are always my favorite part of each study module. This time we visited the SAIC Volkswagen production plant, the Shanghai Motor Vehicle Inspection Center and the Intelligent Connected Vehicle Innovation Center in Anting, Shanghai. Company representatives presented the history of SAIC Volkswagen, a site plan, its current status, future challenges, etc. We then also visited the production line of several car models produced by SAIC Volkswagen. Finally, we sat together with program alumni, well-known industrial scholars and Anting government officials in an open forum and were inspired by speeches about alumni start-ups and entrepreneurship, Anting’s current position and long-term innovation plan, and automotive industry trends.
SAIC Volkswagen visit
An EMBA is definitely not only about hard work, but also a lot of fun. Shanghai is the most developed economic center of China. It has a huge variety of restaurants, bars and cafes. After a day of lectures, group work and assignments, it is very important to be able to relax in the city.
Shanghai, China, after class
Between September 2016 and September 2017, a total of six modules, more than 60 days’ study leave, more than 70 presentations, assignments and group-work activities, meetings with more than 60 executives with diverse industry backgrounds, etc. were split between Mannheim, Germany, and Shanghai, China. During the same period, a few classmates encouraged me to start running. In total, over more than 330 hours I ran close to 3,500 km and lost 20 kg. All of these were great experiences I had in the last 12 months that I could never have imagined before. All stem from my initial decision to start the MBS MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA program. I enjoyed this journey immensely!
Just like the final miles of a marathon, my final thesis will be the greatest challenge. However, all the training - the accumulated knowledge and skills - throughout the program, will now produce results. I look forward to celebrating my graduation in summer 2018!
Daniela Krämer-Keck, Mannheim EMBA Class of 2017
"Do not hesitate. Trust in your capabilities and go for this unique opportunity in your career. The EMBA can help you boost your management skills and bring you to the next level of leadership capabilities. It lasts only 18 months but is an experience that will change your life."
With her job as European Project Director at a global player and mother of a small child, Daniela is a role-model for women in our EMBA programs. We have asked her about her experiences and what advice she would give to other women thinking of doing an EMBA.
What is your main motivation to do an EMBA program?
My motivation to participate in the Mannheim EMBA comes from the wish to broaden my horizons to a more global management and leadership perspective. Being someone who enjoys speaking foreign languages and has lived and worked in several countries, there is nothing more inspiring than extending my international network with management peers from other continents and companies that work with the same ambition and passion in their field of activities as I do.
The high percentage of international participants and the three global study trips to France, the USA and China clearly differentiate the Mannheim EMBA from other programs. Furthermore, the special combination of this EMBA program with international best-in-class teaching accompanied by high-level managerial discussions in groups, individual coaching and pragmatic “down-to-earth” cases from all industry sectors is perfect for me to question my established problem-solving methods and ways of thinking up till now.
Does it meet your expectations so far?
I feel like I’m having one of the best times of my life. It is stressful, yes, but in a very positive sense. Every EMBA week brings with it new food for thought. I will mention but a few of the program highlights for me. Firstly, the international study trips to Georgetown University in the US and Tongji University in China were unforgettable in many different ways – both trips were truly enriching intercultural experiences and opportunities for great academic knowledge transfer in the fields of international economics and politics, and international institutions.
Secondly, I am really happy to have met all these very different management peers in my class – we were a truly exotic and very mixed group in our “multi-competence team”. Looking back, I will probably never in my whole career have such a diverse and international team again, so the group work with all the opportunities and challenges was a great group management experiment for me.
Thirdly, I have learned a lot about myself. Having all the different workshops and leadership sessions (including the military leadership class at St. Cyr) to reflect on my own behavior and observe and influence other student’s behavior was very helpful to me, and I can definitely say that I have learned more about my “unknown unknowns” in terms of my personality, which will subsequently make me a better leader.
How do you manage to juggle your job, study workload, and private life?
Doing the EMBA studies now, at the age of 36, while being a mother of a small child and working at a global player as European Project Director with full responsibility for international pricing and organizational development projects, I am in a very intense, exciting and special situation. A lot of people around me asked me if I was sure I could combine all these things, and some of them did not understand the choices I made. And consequently I too was not even sure whether I could master the triple workload before the EMBA started. But now, it feels like I’m having one of the best times of my life and I have no regrets.
I clearly need to say that I am very happy to have had enough faith in my capabilities and ambitions to go for the program – despite others’ doubts. Yes, the triple workload is sometimes stressful, but most of the time it gives me back much more energy than it takes: the unique opportunity to constantly learn new things, adapt myself to new environments, and experience new projects, people and ideas turned out to be a precious source of energy.
I will not hide the fact that the EMBA requires a huge amount of self-discipline and also excellent self-organization. Doing the EMBA on top of my current workload taught me to stay as concentrated and focused as possible in my previously set time limits, regardless of whether this involved reading the preparation material, writing an individual assignment, or preparing the group work. Indeed, my time management has developed even more throughout the EMBA program, as I was forced to set myself clear “frames” within which I had to work for all the activities during the week. Since the results both of my studies and at work are very positive, I am happy with this personal improvement in setting priorities.
In addition, there are two important aspects that I could luckily rely on during the studies: first, the full commitment and support of my husband – he took care of our daughter while I studied and took over even more tasks in our daily “family jobs”; and secondly, my boss and work environment also fully supported my studies and acknowledged my bigger workload and requirement for more days out of the office in my project schedule. Both gave me the possibility to make the most of the EMBA program and to fully concentrate on my studies.
What advice would you give other women thinking of doing an EMBA?
Do not hesitate. Trust in your capabilities and go for this unique opportunity in your career. The EMBA can help you boost your management skills and bring you to the next level of leadership capabilities. It lasts only 18 months but is an experience that will change your life – showing your true ambition and motivation in your business environment is one of the strongest signals that you can send out (especially as a business woman).
Once the application decision has been made and you have been admitted to the program, do everything you can to organize and manage your support beforehand, and to make sure that your “inner circle” (friends, spouse, parents, work colleagues, and boss) helps you to integrate the program schedule with your other duties at work and at home.
Carolin Kutzera, ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA Class of 2018
“Now that almost half the program is over, I can say that I will leave with more than just a toolbox for my business. The professors are excellent at giving insights that are applicable to real life. Every time a module ends I am energetic rather than exhausted, as I am super keen to apply what I have just learnt to my job.”
With her job as creative director of a medium-sized business, Carolin is a role-model for women in our EMBA programs. She joined the ESSEC & MANNHEIM Executive MBA program last October. We have asked her if the program has met her expectations so far and how she manages to balance the workload of the program, the demands of her job and her private life.
1. What is your main motivation for an EMBA program?
As creative director, my background is rather artistic. Currently, since I am moving to a higher position in my company, I want to boost my business-oriented competences along with my leadership skills.
2. Does it meet your expectations so far?
It absolutely does. Now that almost half the program is over, I can say that I will leave with more than just a toolbox for my business. The professors are excellent at giving insights that are applicable to real life. Many assignments actually involve your own company. My study peers from the various industries help me consider things from a different perspective. There is a lot of mutual respect and exchange, and real team spirit!
3. How do you manage to juggle your job, the study workload, and private life?
Well, it is tough but possible. Some decisions at work need to happen much faster. The study part is actually a very positive additional workload. Every time a module ends I am energetic rather than exhausted, as I am super keen to apply what I have just learnt to my job. To charge my batteries, I give myself short but clear breaks where I literally go offline. This helps me free my mind and get back on track very fast.
4. What advice would you give other women thinking of doing an EMBA?
Do not find excuses to postpone your dream. Just go for it and challenge yourself. It is a great, intense journey together with a truly diverse and inspiring group of people willing to grow with you. You will not regret it!
If you want to join one of our EMBA classes, we strongly encourage you to get in contact with us. MBS also offers special scholarships for women in business. Find out more about them here.
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