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What a special evening for everyone in the MBA program at Pforzheim Business School! Eight distinguished alumni joined the current MBA students for a meet and greet event, giving the current students an opportunity not just to do networking but also to get a chance to interact with the alumni individually and seek to learn from their personal and professional experience.

After a short introduction, Harald Strotmann, Director of the MBA Program, handed over the word to the alumni. Each of the alumni got a chance to introduce themselves and share their valuable experience. Let’s see what our alumni had to say about their experience of the Pforzheim MBA program, their career paths, current job roles and useful tips for the current students to make the most of the MBA in order to get a job of their passion.

Bettina Wikarski, MBA Class of 2003

Independent Marketing Professional / Adjunct Faculty at Pforzheim University

“Doing the MBA at Pforzheim was one of the best decisions of my life”

According to Bettina, the decision to study her MBA at Pforzheim 16 years back, was one that she has never regretted. She is now working as a successful independent marketing professional along with being an adjunct faculty at Pforzheim University where she teaches International Marketing to Bachelor students.

According to her, one of the most important topics that she learnt in the MBA program was Innovation Management, a topic which has proved to be critical to professional success post the program’s completion. She inspired the current MBA students to widen their horizons to be open to new experiences and challenges in life.

Ceyla Oezdemir, MBA Class of 2016

Ceyla Oezdemir

Consultant, SHAPEIN Consulting GmbH

“The hardest thing to do, is to find your passion. But, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it”

For Ceyla, one of the most important reasons for her to join Pforzheim’s MBA program was the excellent teaching faculty that have a plethora of professional experience of working in leading roles in their respective industries. Therefore, they are in an ideal position to pass on highly relevant and updated knowledge. They can apply the theoretical ideas learnt in the MBA program to real-life business scenarios.

She thoroughly enjoyed the multi-cultural study environment offered in the classrooms at Pforzheim and also got the opportunity to do a semester abroad in Utah, USA. Ceyla motivated the current MBA students to identify their strengths and passion and focus on them, rather than trying to convert their weaknesses into strengths. She advised everyone to give emphasis to networking with the right people and to building meaningful connections.

Ashish Chandavarkar, MBA Class of 2015

Ashish Chandavarkar

International Sales / Product Management, Dürr Technik GmbH u. Co. KG

“Keep an open mind, don’t follow the herd, and question everything you know”

Ashish’s work involves travelling to Iran, Middle East and Asia for international sales, himself being the Area Manager. He passionately explained his company’s culture and his job profile that poses new and exciting challenges every day. He had always wanted to work at a medium sized German company. It offers him the opportunity to play multiple roles at work and he has to keep reinventing himself, switching from one profile to another.

Ashish talked about the topics that he learnt during the MBA program, especially Sustainability and how it helped him to broaden his horizons. Coming to Pforzheim changed his perspective completely. He stressed on the importance of learning German language to integrate well into the German culture and advised students to also find the time to travel besides putting their best foot forward in the MBA program.

Maria Horalikova, MBA Class of 2005

Maria Horalikova

Head of Russian Treaty Business, AON Benfield

“Take responsibility of all that you do. Don’t deny your mistakes; acknowledge them, learn from them”

Maria is originally from Russia and is now working in Prague at AON Benfield, an insurance giant. With Pforzheim MBA, her international experience started, while she was the youngest one in her batch. She was never afraid of challenges and always strived to push herself to her full potential. Maria stressed on the importance of making efforts to overcome one’s weaknesses, at least to the point where they no longer hinder your work.

The MBA program at Pforzheim taught her how to interact with people from different cultures. It helped her to open up the doors to global business. At the end, she advised all the students to make the most of the program and the opportunity to learn and grow.

Kerstin Keteci, MBA Class of 2011

Kerstin Keteci

Project Manager Corporate Marketing, Robert Bosch

“Never stay too long at the same position. Being an MBA graduate, keep proceeding from one challenge to the next to grow professionally”

Kerstin did an internship at Bosch in the final semester of the MBA program and stayed with the company until today, while switching positions and departments. The Pforzheim MBA allowed her the opportunity to do a semester abroad at The University of Carolina, USA. After coming back, she discovered a new-found respect for the small batch-size at Pforzheim’s MBA as compared to her experience in USA. She described doing an MBA at Pforzheim as one of the best decisions of her life.

Through the multi-cultural study environment of the MBA class, she learnt how to deal with cultural differences, a quality which still helps her to work in teams of diverse backgrounds. She especially emphasized on the importance of the soft skills courses offered in the program such as decision-making, presentation skills, negotiation skills etc. She advised the students to reflect on themselves using these courses which will truly help them to find the best version of themselves.

Engin Kerem Keteci, MBA Class of 2012

Engin Kerem Keteci

Pricing Analyst, MAHLE Aftermarket GmbH

“Set a target, be persistent. Add value to yourself through this MBA program”

Kerem is originally from Turkey and had started his career in the field of Supply Chain Management. He worked at SAP as a consultant. He has always been highly passionate about mathematics and using Excel to perform complicated analytics. Kerem wanted to gain international experience and switch to the field of Marketing, which became his inspiration to join Pforzheim’s MBA program.

During the program, he did an internship at Porsche and did his thesis at Bosch. He advised the current students to always strive to find a way to reach their goal efficiently and by being patient. From personal experience, he recommended that it pays off to be passionate about one topic, setting a choice for oneself and then being prepared to toil hard to achieve excellence.

Nabeel Tahir Sheikh, MBA Class of 2015

Nabeel Tahir Sheikh

Delivery Experience Analyst, Amazon

“Never be discouraged by rejections. Learn from the valuable experience of your peers in your MBA class”

Nabeel completed his Bachelor degree in electrical engineering in Lahore, Pakistan. After gaining three years of professional experience, he realized that it was time to switch to the business side of engineering. He found Pforzheim’s MBA program to be the perfect fit for him, especially considering its AACSB accreditation, which is considered to be a hallmark of excellence in business studies throughout the world.

Regarding his experience of studying in Pforzheim, he told the current students that Pforzheim provides an ideal platform to learn German language and also to explore Germany and the rest of Europe. He strongly encouraged the students to learn from each other as much as possible, besides learning from the program’s experienced faculty. Especially the opportunity to study with students from diverse cultural backgrounds representing countries such as Peru, Mexico, India, Latvia, China, Romania and Germany made it exciting for him.

Madhwendu Shekhar, MBA Class of 2003

Madhwendu Shekhar

Vice-President, Regional Head – D/A/CH, Larsen & Toubro Infotech

“Focus on what you want to do, make the most of your time in the MBA”

Madhwendu was the first Indian student to be enrolled at Pforzheim University back in 2000. He has witnessed the evolution of the MBA program during the past 17 years, as he occasionally teaches at HS PF. Over time, the students have directly contributed to making the program better over the years through their feedback. Amongst the 21 students in his batch, there were candidates from 18 different nationalities. He expressed how this diversity enriched his cultural experience. He did his thesis at Daimler and continued to work there for three years.

Madhwendu advised the students to not only learn from the excellent teaching faculty in the MBA program, but also to make the most of the time spent with their classmates. The group projects that were a part of the curriculum helped him learn team-management skills as he was the project manager in their biggest project.

Informal Interaction

Post the introduction session and a Q&A session, it was time for the informal individual interactions over pizza and beer.  The current MBA students could be seen huddled up in different groups with the alumni and enthusiastically enquiring about application tips, career opportunities and experience. The current MBA students were elated to get the opportunity to have first-hand interaction with the alumni of the program, and it was heartening to see the alumni also having a good time addressing the passionate curiosity and eagerness to learn of the students.

We are grateful to the eight alumni who took out their valuable time to attend this event and for enlightening our current MBA students with their personal and professional experience.