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Navigating Growth: Charting My Course Through the Frankfurt School Executive MBA
Executive MBA / 10 May 2024
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Business Partner – Data, Digital & IT Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Nischita Prasad EMBA class of 2025 Nischita Prasad works for Merck Group as a recently promoted IT Business Partner. She is combining her great passion for AI and IT with her current studies in the Executive MBA programme to find new ways and prepare for the constant changes in the new AI era.

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“Change is the end result of all true learning.” – Leo Buscaglia

Looking back at the first half-year of my Executive MBA, I’ve been deeply inspired by the folks I’m learning alongside. My journey, though not a voyage in the literal sense, shares the spirit of navigation—mapping out a path for continuous learning, growth and steering towards the goal of empowerment.

The Guiding Purpose

Before embarking on my EMBA, transparent discussions with my manager about development plan set a solid foundation. This was a strategic step to pinpoint my skill gaps and how I could develop myself to meet business needs and achieve my professional goals. My manager’s clear support and the push to empower me didn’t just give me the green light; it fueled my purpose to grow and lead in the future.

But as I’ve progressed, this plan has evolved into something deeper, strongly rooted in purpose. I’ve set a goal for myself that shines clear as a North Star: by 2027, I hope to uplift someone’s career just as my mentors have done for mine. This newfound purpose serves as my guiding light, shining on my decision to commit to this challenging journey of academic and personal growth.

The Power of People

The highlight of this experience has been the diverse cohort of classmates. With varied backgrounds, we all bring unique perspectives that enrich every class session. The camaraderie and support within our group have been extraordinary. Together, we’ve built a community of learners, eager to support each other’s growth. As a chronic expat, I’ve been able to learn about different cultures, their rituals, and, most importantly, the role of cross-cultural communication in the business world. Peer learning and feedback have been invaluable in a psychologically safe environment—thanks to the trust we’ve built among ourselves.

Back in the office, my colleagues have been a source of support, effortlessly blending into the role of informal advisors and cheerleaders. At home, my journey has been anchored by the unwavering support of my husband and the joyous companionship of our dog—both of whom remind me that life, despite its busy schedule, is also meant to be lived and cherished.

Additionally, the unwavering commitment from Frankfurt School to develop future leaders has been pivotal. The director’s approach to feedback exemplifies the ethos of the school — treating it as a gift and responding with agility to make real-time improvements. This practice not only enhanced my learning experience but also models the kind of responsive leadership that inspires to be adaptable and forward-thinking as we evolve into leaders of the future.

Perseverance Through Challenges

Indeed, the journey has not been easy. It’s been a blend of late-night study sessions, moments of self-doubt, and the occasional struggle to find equilibrium. Balancing a demanding job, family commitments, and the rigors of an EMBA program has tested my limits. But there’s an undeniable beauty in this mess—the beauty of real life in motion, much like the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. This is where growth happens, amid the chaos and the overcoming of it.

Whatsapp chats, study groups & cohort dinners have been like little rescue boats, enhancing our teamwork to crack difficult issues. Within these circles, we’ve tackled intricate case studies, asked challenging questions, and uplifted each other over both personal and academic walls. Having a group of strong female leaders has created a safe space for us to lean in and serve as sounding boards for each other as we rise together on this journey. Overcoming these challenges together has not only deepened our knowledge but forged bonds of friendship and mutual respect that I am confident will endure long after the program concludes.

It is these moments, more than the accolades or the completion of a program, that shape us. They are the instances that are sharpening my abilities & enriching my experience. This journey has been about “embracing the mess,” learning to ride these waves of challenge with grace and composure.

Lastly, I owe a heartfelt thank you to my mentors & leaders like Shelley Burns & Fred Sattler for empowering me to dream big and aspire for greatness. To my family and friends spread across different time zones, thank you for your patience and understanding when I am slow to respond. And finally, a special thanks to my husband, who has been my pillar through this journey and my biggest cheerleader. I’m forever grateful for your invaluable support.

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