ALUMNI MEET CURRENT STUDENTS
We can’t believe it was already time for another Alumni Meet Current Students event. Time surely flies. Sadly, this time as well, it had to be conducted online due to the continued COVID-19 restrictions. We all surely missed the pizza and refreshments!
This time we had the honor of hosting 7 alumni with some of them being one of our program’s earliest graduates. The students got to meet Lei Hua, Business Analytics Manager at Hyundai MOBIS Europe; Swetha Vasudevan, Product Owner at Francotyp Postalia; Al Ghaffar, Data Engineering Analyst at Mercedes-Benz-Bank; Hui Zhang, Vice President Europe at NIO; Kailash Bidalur, Technology Consultant at Deloitte; Dr. Reha Tözün, Business Manager and Lead Expert New Mobility at Bridging IT and Tim Ortmann, Managing Partner at Novilio Consulting
Hui Zhang, Vice President Europe at NIO, Munich, MBA Class 2002, China
One of the first alumni to graduate from our program, Hui Zhang, began his talk by fondly remembering the admission interview he had with our Business School’s International Department Head Jochen Ebert 20 years ago. Having moved to Pforzheim from Beijing, a city of 24 million-odd residents, Hui initially had a cultural shock since the two cities were culturally and demographically poles apart. But with time, he realised the ideal location of Pforzheim in the state of Baden-Württemberg and the exposure to the industry the students and professors were able to get because of this. According to Hui, the MBA program comprises a perfect combination of theory, application and access to the industry. He highlighted an exciting marketing project of the first-generation Porsche Cayenne that some of his friends were working on at that time. Today, Hui serves as the Group VP responsible for all European operations at NIO, a China-based Global Start-Up with over 7000 Employee and worldwide food-prints in China, Europe, Silicon Valley- US, designing, engineering, manufacturing premium electric vehicles. “Designed in Germany, Made in China” as all 4 vehicles launched are designed by the international talented team in Munich. NIO is gearing up for a market launch in the tough European market in the second half of 2021 and Hui is one of the key persons responsible to make the project a success.
Lei Hua, Business Analytics Manager at Hyundai MOBIS Europe, Frankfurt, MBA-Class 2019, China
Reflecting back on the program, Lei called the MBA program remarkable and said that it fulfilled all her expectations. Her former experience also lies in the automotive field and her search for similar prospects in Germany landed her in the Stuttgart area and at the Hochschule. She currently works in the Pan-EU Aftersales Strategic Planning team, covering the service parts business plan for Hyundai and KIA brands over 20 markets. Her daily roles include but are not limited to KPI management and business planning. She shared that the sustainable development course particularly was eye-opening for her in showing how big an impact organizations have on society and the environment.
Dr. Reha Tözün, Business Manager and Lead Expert New Mobility at bridgingIT, Stuttgart, MBA Class 2004, Germany
When asked what he remembers most about the MBA programme, internationality of the batches and strong friendships were Reha’s first two responses. He continued that the programme allows for exploration in different fields and that it helps students to learn new topics in order to maximize their experience in the MBA. Reha manages two teams at the consulting company bridgingIT on respective topics of digital products and digital lean processes. His personal focus is on mobility and smart city. He also is involved in an exciting newly launched project in Stuttgart Region that is all about autonomously driving busses. Upon his conclusion, Reha did not miss the chance to remind our students about the opportunities the programme offers along with the importance of the German language classes.
Al Ghaffar, Data Engineering Analyst at Mercedes-Benz-Bank, MBA Class 2018, Bahrein
Al Ghaffar, our third speaker for the evening, moved to Germany from Dubai because of personal reasons and without an elaborate plan. Having come to the country without any language skills, he is thankful to the university for providing him with the opportunity to learn the language from scratch through the free weekly classes on campus. According to him, the “great life” that he lives today in Germany, was kickstarted by the MBA course and the personal growth that he was able to achieve in these 2 years. Leveraging the networking opportunities with the MBA alumni, Al landed up with an internship at Mercedes Benz Bank. It was through his hard work and dedication that he converted this internship, first, into a master´s thesis and then, into a full-time contract. Al believes that the takeaways from the MBA course purely depend on the interest and efforts an individual student puts in.
Swetha Vasudevan, Product Owner at Francotyp Postalia, Berlin, MBA-Class 2017, India
Swetha is one of the students who successfully converted their company project into a thesis opportunity and then into a full time at Francotyp. She joined as a project manager and has now moved to the Product Owner role. She gave the students a glimpse into her daily tasks such as talking to customers to understand their needs, then going into development. She emphasized how she still applies the learnings from her innovation management and consulting courses. “Each course is so hands-on, with so many projects to work on”, she asserted.
Kailash Bidalur, Technology Consultant, Deloitte, Munich, MBA Class 2018, India
Upon his reflection on his time during the MBA, Kailash Bidalur shared that the electives Strategic Management, Innovation Management along with Consulting I and II largely prepared him for his current role as a technology consultant at Deloitte. Kailash elaborated that these courses provided the real world scenarios which continue to make an impact on his career today. Interning with KPMG in Stuttgart during his studies, but wanting to gain experience in another sector, Kailash wrote his master’s thesis while at UniCredit in order to get a flavour of the banking sector. However, wanting to shift back to consulting, he assumed his current role with Deloitte after his studies. Kailash’s message to current students is, apart from the MBA, working on the German language is vital.
Tim Ortmann, Managing Partner at Novilio Consulting, Greater Munich Area, MBA-Class 2004, Germany
Our final alumnus described the growing Start-Up that is Novilio Consulting. Focused on sustainable optimization of business processes for largely blue chip companies, Tim Ortmann shared how the MBA programme led to the successes of Novilio today. He appreciates the large entrepreneurial spirit of the MBA along with informative lectures and passionate lecturers, who usually come from an industry background. Finally, a common theme amongst our alumni, Tim shared the internationality of the students prepares you for the multicultural teamwork in industry.
After introductions were done, the floor was open for Q&A. Students particularly seemed interested in extracting insights about the consulting industry. Some other topics discussed were talent management and product development. Post an elaborate Q&A, the students had the opportunity to approach and network with the alumni in person in different chat rooms.
We would love to thank our alumni for being our guests in this Alumni Meet Current Students event with such enthusiasm and for their untethered support throughout the years. We look forward to seeing you again and again!
Text: Gabrielle Boimann, Class of 2022 | Surel Surve, Class of 2021 | Shvetang Pai Angle, Class of 2021