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It is always a very inspiring experience when MBA Alumni visit the campus and share their journey with the current students of the MBA International Management program. This time 8 Alumni visited the Hochschule Pforzheim campus for the “Alumni Meet Current Students” event: Alfonso Manuel Izquierdo Lopez – Business Analyst, Webasto Roof & Components SE; Amit Tejpaul – Solutions Consultant, Instinctools; Dong Chen – Head of German Office, Zongmu Technology; Gopikrishna Badhrinarayanan – Senior Manager CIO Digital Strategy, KPMG; Kevin van den Boom – Project Lead Business Intelligence/Big Data, Daimler; Lydia Köhle – Online Business Development Manager – South America, Festo; Shravan Jayaraman – Product Owner Logistics Cloud Platform / Artificial Intelligence, Bosch, and Yuling Jing – Project Controller, AVL.

Alfonso Manuel Izquierdo Lopez, Class of 2015, Peru

Business Analyst, Webasto Roof & Components SE

Alfonso, who in his previous job was implementing SAP in different South American countries for almost ten years, shared his story about why he decided to leave Peru and do a MBA in Germany. After spending one year in Spain it was clear for him that he wanted to come back to Europe to experience different cultures. Alfonso considered the MBA International Management at Pforzheim University to be the right fit for him in order to get realistic views on the field of management. Working as a Business Analyst at Webasto Roof & Components in Munich his main advice for the current students was to learn German when planning to stay in Germany after the graduation.

Dong Chen, Class of 2016, China

Head of German Office, Zongmu Technology

Dong told the MBA students about how he got bored from his job in China after working for nine years as a BU Manager in the automotive industry. When asked about why he chose to do an MBA, he said that “I wanted to explore more about myself and build a better foundation for my future career goals”. Remembering the times as a MBA student in Pforzheim he said that with the professors and his batch mates he always felt like “part of a big family in classroom.”   After graduating from the MBA he worked for Valeo to learn more about the European automotive industry. Today Dong is working as Head of German Office for Zongmu Technology, a Chinese start up. Although his job is very demanding and challenging at times he loves the responsibility and the speed of development that this job has to offer.

Shravan Jayaraman, Class of 2017, India

Product Owner Logistics Cloud Platform / Artificial Intelligence, Bosch

Shravan shared a similar story of how his unchallenging coding job in India made him take the decision to move forward and do a MBA. Being an IT Engineer he initially planned to change his career towards the field of operations management. It was only during his MBA studies then that he realized that his analytical thinking and the fact that he could manage a big work load were his strengths. He explained how students with experience in the IT industry can leverage the skills and insights to form a strong base for a managerial position after doing an MBA. Shravan who now is working as a Product Owner Logistics Cloud Platform and AI at Bosch explained in detail the steps students can take in order to follow the path and succeed. 

Yuling Jing, Class of 2018, China

Project Controller, AVL Zöllner

Yuling who graduated from the MBA in 2018 is working as a Project Controller at AVL Zöllner, the world's largest independent company for the development, simulation and testing of powertrain systems. After working for Volkswagen in Shanghai for four years Yuling wanted to do her MBA in Pforzheim in order to change her career from engineering to business. After her graduation she applied with AVL in the field of controlling since it has always been her dream to live and work in Germany. For the current MBA students she had a couple of practical tips such as “take every class seriously. Your record is your image to the company you apply to”.



Amit Tejpaul, Class of 2007

Solutions Consultant, Instinctools

Amit who is since his graduation in 2007 working as a Solutions Consultant at instinctools, started his career in the field of marketing as a manager and later Marketing Director for an Indian company. He shared his experience with the MBA with the current students when stating that “what I learned here did help me to know what can be done in the business world”. He recommended that the students must always be inquisitive and ask questions.    

Kevin van den Boom, Class of 17, Germany

Project Lead Business Intelligence/Big Data, Daimler

Kevin who is working as Project Lead Business Intelligence and Big Data at Daimler told the students about how he, during one of the “Alumni Meet Current Students” events, got in contact with Dr. Patrick Planing, a MBA alumnus and former guest lecturer in the MBA, who was working for Daimler at the time. Through this contact Kevin got the chance to write his thesis with Daimler and land a job there after his graduation. For Kevin the networking opportunities with alumni, guest lecturers, guests in classroom and company visits are the greatest asset of the MBA in Pforzheim. “You have to build and maintain your network actively” was the main advice that he had for the current students.           


Lydia Köhle, Class of 2017, Germany

Online Business Development Manager – South America, Festo

Lydia graduated from the MBA in 2017 and is working for Festo, a well-known consortium in the field of control engineering and automation technology, as an Online Development Manager for South America. She recommended that students take the chance to do internships or take on working student jobs which might be exhausting at times but gives them a good idea of the right work field they want to be in after graduating.   


Gopikrishna Badhrinarayanan, Class of 2012, India

Senior Manager CIO Digital Strategy, KPMG

Gopikrishna, a Senior Manager for Digital Strategy at KPMG today, did his MBA after realizing that in his previous job in the information technology in India he was lacking profound knowledge especially I the business area. During his studies in Pforzheim he elaborated on networking during company visits and with guest lecturers so that he could land a thesis topic with a company and several internships that led to his job at KPMG today. “You need to work a lot for your own good at the beginning. Opportunities - there are plenty, but you always have to be true to yourself” he shared his experience with the students.

After a Q&A round Prof. Strotmann wrapped up the meeting with a big thank you to all the Alumni that still after all those years make the effort to stay connected with the MBA and come back for meetings like the “Alumni Meet Current Students” events and sometimes open doors for the MBA students.

The evening closed with good talks over pizza and drinks.  

Text: Siddharth Uppal, MBA class of 2020

photos: MBA