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Staying ahead of the curve: challenges and learnings of the part-time MBA experience
Part-time MBA / 23 August, 2019
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Part-time MBA Class of 2020
Chris is Group Head for Billing at Havas Media and a part-time MBA class of 2020 candidate.

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The reason I chose to apply for the Frankfurt School part-time MBA programme back in summer 2018 was to look for a new challenge and I can say now that I definitely found it.

My work-study-life balance

The first months of the program were really overwhelming and challenging in terms of time management, but we made it through all the lectures, articles and slides to the well-deserved Christmas holidays. The following year, things started changing and I felt I had more time to devote to the other facets of life. Looking back today, I feel that it was not due to the change in intensity of the programme but an increase in my ability to manage all the commitments more efficiently.

After a stressful week at work, imagine the feeling of sitting through a weekend of lectures. However, when you run into all of your fellow colleagues and you feel their warm welcome and energy – even though they probably were going through a similarly intense phase – it really motivates you to dig in.

After a while, I felt differently about my free-time, especially the value of it as the program required more dedication of time. I needed to rethink my plans and learned to enjoy leisure time more intensely.

Get out of your comfort zone

The class was highly diverse in terms of different languages, nationalities, cultures, industries and professions which transcended into a great group spirit with the common goal to graduate with our MBA. Each individual came with a set of different skills and knowledge. This contributed in increasing the value of group discussions and at times even challenged our professors, resulting in a mutual learning process for everyone in class. The professors and their teaching approaches also differed in every module in terms of structuring lectures, grading systems or willingness to change the schedule spontaneously depending on the feedback of the group. This variation encourages one to adapt to new circumstances quickly.

Beyond the classroom lectures, we also had the chance to meet top managers in C-level positions during our ‘In the Boardroom’ sessions or executive evenings. In their inspiring and motivating speeches, they do not only tell us about their personal lives but also about the challenges they face in daily business, mistakes they made and the opportunities for MBA graduates.

The next level

Pushed and influenced by the lectures, professors and our close-knit group of fellow students, I went through a transformation on several levels. The content of this program gives a deeper professional knowledge in terms of how companies and allows for a better understanding of the world trade – especially how enterprises, governments and cultures work and interact with each other. Also, we learned to differentiate how people behave as customers, employees and managers. Of course this creates professional knowledge, which is very useful in everyday work life if you are given new responsibilities or leadership opportunities.

The MBA experience also creates an interest in topics you have not deeply thought about before – for example, what is a trade war and what are its consequences really about? The takeaways are not only bound to professional or academic knowledge, but also about the way I see the whole world (the module abroad in Shanghai was particularly beneficial for this). I learned a lot about cultures – both foreign ones and my own. Moreover, doing presentations and having  group discussions spurs your self-confidence and rhetorical skills as well.

All these facts lead me to say that I definitely found the challenge I was looking for and it was totally worth it!