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Individual Highlights

An Executive MBA program is a one-of-a-kind experience full of unforgettable moments. Some of our former participants have reflected on various facets of the program in their testimonials.

Testimonials MANNHEIM & TONGJI Executive MBA

“The academic and administrative teams in China and Germany have tailored this EMBA to not only provide excellent academic knowledge, but also to create an exciting learning atmosphere in the spirit of intercultural exchange.”

Talke Schaffrannek, Director Applied Sustainability, BASF SE, MANNHEIM & TONGJI Executive MBA Class of 2012

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I had been working in my company for over eight years and felt that it would be good to learn something new again – also on the academic level. I wanted to learn from people, from other countries and industries, but at the same time I did not want to quit my job for a whole year.

When I heard about the MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA, I was on a four year delegation in Shanghai. The MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA offered the ideal combination of the Sino-German context together with a modular setup. It is very unique and very flexible: I was pregnant with my son during the first module. This modularity allowed for a stretched program!

Even though I had lived in different countries before, the EMBA provided me with very special intercultural experiences, for example in the group sessions working on case studies and during the whole program. The EMBA program brought me back into a new learning modus, which still carries on after graduating with the great offers in the alumni program.

"There is a certain time in life when you have the feeling that you need a new perspective. I was interested to learn more about China, about people and their ways of doing business. The MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA was a brand-new program offered by the Mannheim Business School that fully fitted my interests. The ROI of the MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA in terms of personal and career development turned out to be beyond my expectations."

Laura Hausmanns, Managing Director, GELITA MEDICAL GmbH, MANNHEIM & TONGJI Executive MBA Class of 2011

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After my engineering studies I spent several years working in different fields: production, product management, sales and branch manager. My network was limited to one industry and located in Europe. My intention was to leverage and expand my international knowledge and to build up a supportive global network. China was and is economically a very exiting country. I was interested to learn more about China, about people and their ways of doing business. MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA was a brand-new program offered by the Mannheim Business School that fully fitted my interests. It was the only business school offering a Sino-German program and therefore the best and only option.

The program certainly contributed to my personal growth. It helped me to get quickly the "big picture", to recognize the complexity of processes and projects and at the same time to find the right way to deal with complexity. After the program I changed the industry and the position. The ROI of the MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA in terms of personal and career development turned out to be beyond my expectations. 

The most valuable takeaway was the change in the own perspective when exposed to a multicultural environment - participants from heterogeneous industries and with comprehensive professional experiences made the outcome of our discussions and group works unpredictable. International high quality professors with excellent teaching style contributed for sure to the enhancement of my leadership and intercultural skills. 

"As one of our EMBA approaches is to identify and expand our own limits, 17 of us, a mix of active students and alumni, decided to explore the southern Chinese region and make new impressions of China. Another approach for us was to prepare our Operations Module in Shanghai. A factory tour to explore intensive labor production and to see deep value integration was a good opportunity to explore the differences between production in Europe and in China. An interesting agenda was defined and we combined history, economy and leisure time."

Björn Altemeier, MANNHEIM & TONGJI Class of 2012

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Participants and alumni from the MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA program paid a 3-day visit to the City of Dongguan with the goal of exploring a different aspect of China.

Why an excursion to Dongguan?

Since economic liberalization was adopted by the former leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979, the delta (also known as the Golden Delta of Guangdong) has become one of China's leading economic regions and a major manufacturing center in China and the world. "Exploring Dongguan" started for us with a big question mark. "How can I get there?", "Where is it located?" and "Is there a transfer from Guangzhou or Hong Kong Airport to Dongguan?" It seemed that this area of China was unknown to most of us and had a reputation as a city to avoid or at least not to talk about when travelling there. The following days gave us a completely different perspective on this fascinating city.

Exploring Dongguan: The first evening

Once all of us had arrived in Dongguan fit and well on Saturday afternoon, we met in the lobby of the Pullman Hotel Dongguan Forum in the evening. The Pullman was our comfortable home for the following days and an ideal location in the heart of Dongcheng, the City Center of Dongguan. On this first evening together, a "welcome dinner" was on the agenda. Our bus took us to the "13 Bowls," to the Guangdong Food restaurant "Dongguan Ren Jia" (Dongguan People's Restaurant). Here we could gather together and enjoy the delicious Cantonese food. After several dishes and beers and with full stomachs, it was time to make a short walk through the city center and gather positive impressions of the high level of development. Just 15 years ago, the DongCheng city center was still being built from scratch. Only two living compounds for the small number of expats were available. But today, squares, apartments and shops with international brands have been built up, making this area more and more pleasant to live in. The evening ended for us in the one and only street in Dongguan were nightlife can be explored. The famous expat bar "Hollywood Baby" with the friendly German owner Tom is one of the locations in Dongguan that have to be visited and to understand expat life in Dongguan.

Exploring Dongguan: Sightseeing in Guancheng & Nancheng

After a more or less short night, some of us had the energy to get up the next day in time to see another face of Dongguan that is still visible between the factories and the modern squares and malls. The first destination was the old city center of Guancheng. The bus brought us to the Ying'en Gate Tower. This is the last bit of the old city wall that was built in the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty. The gate is the starting point to explore the old city center of Dongguan. There is still a quarter that has resisted the modernization and new building development. We took a tour through the narrow alleyways and the vegetable and fruit market. This was a good opportunity to taste the famous Dongguan lychee fruit and to experience life in this oldest part of the city. After walking through different markets for flowers, animals and everyday goods, we all returned to the bus. All of us made the experience, that not only the nightlife is hot in Dongguan, also during the day in summertime, temperatures can reach over 30 degrees with a high humidity. After a good lunch in a Thai Restaurant and with refilled energy tanks, we headed to the Nancheng district. This part of Dongguan is the so-called new Dongguan, with a completely different face, tall buildings and large, representative government squares. We visited the Dongguan Exhibition Hall to get an introduction to the development and history of Dongguan. The museum explained the background of the Opium War and Dongguan's role in history in a practical and descriptive way. Around 3pm we all returned back to the Hotel and had a relaxing free afternoon. In the evening we went to a good Tepan Yaki restaurant. This day full of history and culture was rounded off with a Karaoke-night. The famous Karaoke bars also belong to this multi-faceted city of Dongguan.

Exploring Dongguan: Company visit & Industry Talk

After the more or less relaxing weekend, a busy Monday awaited us. The famous German household appliance manufacturer Miele & Cie. KG was the host for an interesting company visit with a challenging program. Miele have produced vacuum cleaners in Dongguan since 1996 and since November 2012 in its new factory location in QiShi. First, the General Manager, Mr. Soon Seng Teo, gave us a warm welcome and introduced his factory and the history of Miele in Dongguan with a short presentation. After that we had the pleasure to welcome Mr. Peter Helis, the General Manager of the German Chamber of Commerce (GCC) in Guangzhou. He informed us about the important work of the GCC in Guangdong and gave us an interesting explanation of the breathtaking development of this area of South China. After a short discussion, one of the highlights of that day was organized by Ms Linda Scheiding, the Industrial Engineering Manager of Miele in Dongguan. She and her team gave us a very detailed factory tour and explained the whole value chain involved in producing a vacuum cleaner. We learned about the high quality and testing standards Miele has implemented in its factory and about the MWS-principles, the Miele Production System, which ensures stable and efficient production processes. The next program point on our agenda provided us with deep insights about SCM and Innovations. Two experienced experts of the company, Mr. Leo Leung, the Supply Chain Manager and Mr. Maurizio Zanatta, the Series Design Support Manager of Hong Da introduced to us their work and the special challenges they face during operations in China. After this intensive morning all of us deserved a good lunch and returned to the hotel full of new impressions and well prepared for the next Operations Module in Shanghai. To round up our program, we could explore western food in the Hollywood Baby Café. A good German Schnitzel or an Italian Pizza rounded off these intensive days in Dongguan. All of us were impressed about the different faces of this city and as an additional benefit, the visit once again created a special kind of team spirit in our EMBA group. Our plan is to repeat this excursion to South China next year ahead of the Operations Module with another factory visit and city tour.



"Participating in the MANNHEIM & TONGJI EMBA program is definitely one of the most thrilling experiences in life. The modular setup allows a broad range of flexibility which I also used to join the optional 'Advanced Finance Module' at the New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Why? Because New York City still is the center of the global capital market while also bundling state-of-the-art finance know how, expertise and an unmatched atmosphere of really feeling the 'big money' in every corner of the city."

Alexander Rodde, MANNHEIM & TONGJI Class of 2013

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The MANNHEIM & TONGJI program management offered this opportunity of an additional study residency in the US, together with the classmates of the ESSEC & MANNHEIM EMBA program. There was only one precondition to be met: having already passed the Finance Module in May at Mannheim Business School. And everybody who already had the pleasure to learn about financial accounting, corporate finance and valuation models in Mannheim was more than welcome to deepen his or her expertise at NYU Stern in November 2013. Right after finishing the HR-module at Tongji University in Shanghai on November 18th I flew out to New York the following day. Though it's been quite a tough timeline I finally made it to the hotel on November 19th, being onsite for the first day of the module on Monday, November 20th. The program management arranged the hotel, perfectly located at Lafayette Street in Manhattan right between Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown. This was also the time where I had the chance to meet the other classmates.

Studying at NYU - the Module

The classroom was located in the Kaufman Management Center at Washington Square, surrounded by many other NYU colleges. It's been this typical college flair with many students browsing through these buildings and the nearby park.  The class schedule for the upcoming week considered three professors. We started the days with enhancing our knowledge regarding a company's capital structure taught by Prof. Dr. Holger Mueller, followed by Prof. David Yermack plunging us into interesting questions and discussions about the importance, advantages and components of a sound corporate governance system. And we were not in New York if we wouldn't have got a valuation class, too. Prof. Aswath Damodaran, awarded as best MBA Professor 2011 by BusinessWeek, shared his insights of how a valuation should be conducted. But of course, beyond these teaching sessions the program management arranged two exciting social events. A welcome dinner at the Ayza Bar in Manhattan. Another highlight was one of the must haves during a stay in NYC, visiting the roof platform of the Rockefeller Center, called "Top of the Rock".

Company Visits

To broaden the participants experiences and insights how other companies and industries doing business we also got the opportunity for two company visits, (1) Bloomberg and (2) Deutsche Bank@Wallstreet.  Almost every participant heard about Bloomberg before, but getting the chance to really see the company revealed additional insights in which areas and how they are active. Finally, transparency with a focus on capital market information by selling subscription models for the 'Bloomberg Terminals' are their sound and bold core business. But nevertheless, their news division is world known, too, and we also had the chance to see their news room. Once finished with Bloomberg we left towards Wall Street to visit the US headquarter of Deutsche Bank. Honored by listening to a very good speech of the DB's managing director all of us felt that day that New York City is still the center and core of the financial world. Considering the classroom sessions, the social events and the company visits, the whole study residency was quite packed and also enriched by listening to Christian Staral, a fellow Mannheim-Tongji EMBA Alumni, who now serves the role of being the CFO Americas for Springer Science & Business. He shared his experiences with valuation models as part of M&A activities he was involved during his career.

To Sum It up...

Looking back I am glad to say that the NYU Stern module was an exciting, enriching and challenging highlight of the program and I strongly recommend every participant to take this opportunity offered by the program management. It's the perfect mixture of deepening the finance knowledge, paired with a perfect time in NYC and accompanied by the great fellows of Mannheim's ESSEC & MANNHEIM program. Go for it, this city never sleeps!


Located in the heart of the German and European economy, Mannheim Business School (MBS), the umbrella organization for management education at the University of Mannheim, is considered to be one of the leading institutions of its kind in Germany and is continuously ranked as Germany’s #1.