From Budapest to Frankfurt: My Part-Time MBA Experience Abroad
Part-time MBA / 3 June 2024
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Part-time MBA, class of 2024
David is a "Treasury / ALM Expert" at OTP Mortgage Bank in Hungary, a member of the OTP Group, which is one of the largest banking groups in the CEE region. Previously he worked at the Budapest Stock Exchange and at Erste Bank Hungary. He has an MSc in Finance from the Corvinus University of Budapest.

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I’m still finding it hard to digest that my Part-time MBA journey has essentially come to a close. As I’m writing this article, I’m waiting for my last exam result, having already successfully defended my thesis last month.

Pursuing an MBA abroad

I’ve been contemplating an MBA for years and at the start of 2022, I finally made up my mind to apply for a programme. I had two important factors in mind: I wanted to keep working and pursue a part-time programme, but I was also looking for an international learning experience outside of Hungary, my home country. This meant looking at schools easily accessible from Budapest. Frankfurt was a strong candidate from the beginning. The programme’s triple accreditation spoke volumes about its prestige, the airport’s status as a major hub guaranteed convenient flights, and my family’s roots in the city added a sentimental touch. As a banker, Frankfurt also offered exciting professional opportunities.

These weren’t the only factors influencing me, as I had several destinations meeting my criteria. What truly impressed me about Frankfurt School was the recruitment process. Everyone was incredibly open to answering my questions. The staff’s helpfulness extended even to navigating independent funding options. However, the biggest draw of Frankfurt School’s Part-time MBA programme was the options for customisation. While the core curriculum is set, I could choose from a vast array of electives in management, finance, technology, and more.

Can you make it work remotely?

I had one major concern before accepting my offer: doing the program while living so far away, I wasn’t sure I could complete my courses effectively. So, I contacted several students from previous years, who reassured me that distance shouldn’t be a hurdle (no matter what question you have before deciding, I highly recommend reaching out to current students or alumni).

My experience confirms their advice. From an educational perspective, the MBA is very similar to other master’s programs: attending classes and completing assignments. With the part-time MBA, classes are taught in blocks, meaning each course is completed within a 3-day weekend – in-person attendance is required. Electives can be attended online, but I highly recommend attending in person for a richer experience.  Thankfully, for assignments, physical presence mostly isn’t necessary. Exams can be written online since the pandemic , and group presentations are also online unless required during class time. We had individual term papers and group reports as well, which were also done online since most students are geographically dispersed anyway.

I need to highlight that while generally employer support is beneficial, if not necessary, to successfully take part the program, it becomes even more crucial when completing it abroad.

The personal side of a Part-Time MBA abroad

Living so far away did have some drawbacks, albeit not many. I was fortunate to be part of a close-knit cohort. We organised many programs together – naturally, I had to miss some events that weren’t held during weekends when we already had classes. Frankfurt School also offers extracurricular events, including their popular executive talks, where industry leaders lecture and network with MBA students. During my first year, these events mostly coincided with my class weekends, so I was able to attend them, however later I had to miss quite a few exciting talks.

Having to fly to Frankfurt also had its perks. After the first few months, I switched from hotels to staying with a friend, which fostered a strong friendship by the program’s end. Saving on accommodation allowed me to extend my stays and explore the city and surrounding areas. I developed a particular fondness for the Main River bank.

Another highlight was our module abroad, with the whole group deciding to complete it in Singapore.  Before and after the week there, most of us opted to travel around Asia, something I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do without the MBA programme. The nine days in Bali following our courses were truly unforgettable.

Takeaways: a look back & ahead

Overall, while not living in Germany during the programme had its minor drawbacks, I feel that participating in this journey has enriched me both professionally and personally and I truly hope to maintain the friendships I gained during my two years at Frankfurt School. This programme has helped expand my perspectives on many topics and working in groups with people from all over the world has also taught me a lot. It may sound cliché, but I honestly believe we learned the most from each other.

I know this programme will be a valuable asset. On the one hand, it will enhance my career development and on the other hand, the knowledge gained will help me contribute more to my company’s successes. Additionally, if I ever decide to make a career change and explore moving abroad in the long term, obtaining my MBA from Frankfurt School has provided me with a strong foundation to do so.