It was the first Thursday morning in October when I took the S-Bahn to Ostendstraße. As soon as I stepped out of the train station, I felt rain in the air. The sky was dusky, signaling the bad weather I could expect that day. However, instead of lamenting, I felt fully engaged and excited, and looked forward to the day. It was the MBA kickoff day! A flashback appeared in my mind during the five-minute walk from the train station to Frankfurt School campus, as I remembered the moment I decided to embark on my business studies 10 months earlier. On one hand, I was eager to meet my colleagues, as well as the professors and MBA staff, while on the other hand, I was nervous as to how I would juggle my time between work, studies and family. In the highly competitive business environment, a healthy work-life balance is difficult to achieve. And now, I had an MBA component added to the equation.
It’s been a few weeks now since the beginning of my much-anticipated MBA journey. Since then, I have solved a set of business cases for Managerial Accounting, worked and closely analyzed a press release statement by the European Central Bank on Macro-economics and, most importantly, I have delivered my first group presentation in Microeconomics. That said, things are hectic this week: I have more assignments and case studies to analyze before this weekend´s lectures. Last week was hectic too, as will be this coming weekend. Quite honestly, it’s been both challenging and exhausting but, so far overall, it comes with lots of fun and learning. If I could use one word to describe my experience, it would be ´captivated`. I have learned that each MBA lecture has a lot to offer, and each can change my perspective. As I have an engineering background, my approach to deciphering a problem is often based on pure technical knowhow. During the past few weeks, I have started thinking in terms of the business value that can be offered by solving the problem.
The Part Time MBA Program at Frankfurt School is aptly designed for working professionals. Each core subject teaches new ways to approach an issue, and provides the tools to reach to an optimal solution. Lectures are held on alternate weekends, including Thursdays and Fridays. This schedule provides an opportunity to apply the material in day-to-day business life during the week. The course materials and business cases are also shared by the professors well in advance of the lectures, which gives students a chance to view them before hand and come prepared to class. As Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”. Indeed, I find that the more one is prepared the more they gain from class.
The model of classroom learning is also quite different than what I experienced in my undergraduate studies. The major focus is participant-based learning, meaning that the professor is not the only speaker in class; instead, fellow classmates also share their thoughts and experiences. The Part Time MBA class is diverse in terms of nationality and professions and the constant exchange of perspectives between students maximizes personal development. It truly is remarkable to see how differently a business consultant and a rocket engineer tackle an issue! Yes, you read that right, we do have a rocket engineer in our class 😉 Such an atmosphere adds a tremendous amount of value to the learning process. The program also uses case study-method learning, which helps encourage broad thinking when processing a new problem, and leads to a better understanding of complex organization. In addition, case studies also encourage class participation and keeps the classroom environment lively.
All that said, the MBA program is not only about attending lectures and being active in the classroom. It is also very important to build networks, particularly with classmates. I’ve already learned that the lecture days are not easy to survive: they are demanding in nature and arduous in expectation. Aside from your classmates sitting beside you, a full coffee mug on the desk the only companion that keeps you active 😉
Happily, however hectic the lecture day ends up being, it does not handicap our evening networking. There is always a meet up parties scheduled well in advance (similarly to our lectures ;)) by a class networking expert. These parties are the stress buster of the day. As I tend not to survive long at parties, I often see all the pictures posted to our WhatsApp group the next morning. Last time, I felt like I missed out sharing time with the group! Next time!