20 Years of MBA

An MBA degree, which is initiated, renowned and highly recognized in the USA, is globally appreciated today. In 1996, when the first MBA students began their studies at Pforzheim University, we were the first German public university allowed to grant an MBA degree. Twenty years and 336 graduates from 49 different nationalities later, the MBA International Management program is renowned not only in Germany, but also worldwide. 

Nowadays, all students in our MBA International Management have at least two years, an average of 5 years, of professional work experience in different fields after their first degree. The mix of professional backgrounds and the cross-cultural atmosphere in class are appreciated by our MBA students and make their study experience more valuable. Engineers come together with scientists of literature and marketing experts to discuss strategic plans in joint case studies and start changing perspectives. One of the great advantages of this study program is jointly learning management through a practical approach. The profound academic background is secured by highly-qualified faculty members and guest professors from renowned international partner universities. Current business challenges are firmly integrated through guests in classroom, excursions, company projects and alumni events. Today, the program ensures that our students are in contact with up to 30 companies throughout their studies.

For the German article click here.

MBA Classes of 2017 and 2018

Gallery of MBA Directors since 1996

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Janovsky
Prof. Dr. Manfred Manthey
Prof. Dr. Regina Moczadlo
Prof. Dr. Dirk Wentzel
Prof. Dr. Matthias Kropp
Prof. Dr. Harald Strotmann

Interviews with our Alumni

Adriana at 1&1 IONOS SE

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

1&1 IONOS SE, Senior Product Manager

How did the MBA help you, professionally and personally?

The MBA was a life and mind-set changing experience for me. I will never be the same person that took the MBA admission interview. How did this happen? I was already a confident person even before, but the MBA helped me to connect the dots, doubt the given and challenge the status quo. Awareness on sustainability, on the necessity of business innovation and on benefits of change can only happen once in a lifetime and for me it happened during the MBA.

From a professional perspective, having a background in corporate finance in the banking sector, the Pforzheim MBA gave me the leverage to make the switch to product management in the Internet industry. The business acumen acquired during the MBA time allowed me to assess business situations with ease, analyze trends and create business cases, while keeping a keen eye on industry developments.  I do this on a daily basis at work and the MBA helped me expand my financial perspective on business to a more global overview. We do not live in a bubble. We live in a global knowledge economy. Everything is interconnected.  The MBA made me understand that.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

The company project: hard teamwork followed by great success. One can get good work and good results done. However, the work of a loner can rarely equal the stunning results that the synergies of a team are able to create. I was a member of a team of four together with Anand, Lindsey and Minh defining a new incentive scheme for the executives of a global corporation with its headquarters located near to Heidelberg with the purpose of increasing sales. The countless sleepless nights to research and fundament the scheme structure payed off in full on presentation day. Human Resources and the top management of the company were amazed by our solution and included it partially in their strategic planning, as they would later acknowledge. Words like “overwhelming” and “outstanding” used in the letter of recommendation addressed to “The Team” were our reward and recognition. This was achieved because we worked as a team.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

I made some great friends during the MBA. I also found a best friend, Liva. I worked with her in most of my projects and we encountered successes and failures together. Therefore, we ended up creating a very special bond. In addition, during the MBA I found really good friends in the teammates of the management simulation project: Anand, Anup, Bibin, Jürgen and Liva – we call ourselves “Paramount Team”. We care about each other almost as if we were family, and that says it all.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Do not save your time and effort for later. Work, work, work. Study, study, study. Do not count sleepless nights. Because if you decide to do a full time MBA after several years of experience, you just want to make the most out of it. Moreover, do not spare professors. They care. Take advantage of the time they allocate to you. In addition, something very important: allow them to change you, while still doubting and challenging them. I know I did and that rewired my brain. It made it sharper.

 

Avigyan Dutta

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

Ernst and Young, Assistant Director of Business Analysis Operations for EMEIA.

How did the MBA help you, professionally and personally?

Personally, the MBA helped me to broaden my horizon and open up to different cultures inside and outside of the classroom. None of the professors ever taught us what was right or wrong on a subject, but rather helped us to form our own opinions based on observations and investigation. The MBA empowered us in a big way, gave us clarity of thought on extremely important global business issues.

Workwise, it was this MBA in International Management that added a lot of weight to my five years of work experience in Asia. It also helped me to break into the European job market in a middle management position in accordance to my professional and academic credentials. Continuous exposure to small and medium-sized enterprises from the industry, alumni visits and consulting projects in the classroom helped us a lot in understanding the dynamics of the European market.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

It is difficult to highlight one single experience as the most memorable one. The email, which informed me that I was selected as a Student Assistant for the MBA office, staying inside a castle in Nurnberg with the entire MBA class, being appreciated by the Head of Sustainability in SAP for our consulting project, our graduation ceremony with the entire University - the list is endless.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

I am in touch with most people I met in Pforzheim, inside and outside of my class.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

First of all, congratulations on making it to this class. This is the time to take a break from work, learn in the classroom from your professors and from your international batch mates, travel in Europe and reflect. I would urge all MBA students to focus on the quality and not the quantity of application packages during the job seeking process post MBA. It is extremely important to read the job descriptions and write cover letters specific to the role you are applying for instead of making general statements. Do not shy away from aiming high if you believe you are suitable for the job. I also cannot emphasize enough, the need for learning German and speaking it fluently. Good luck and enjoy every day of this MBA for as long as it lasts for you!

Avigyan (middle) and other MBA students
Kwame Ahiabor

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

SAP, Learning Architect for SAP Success Factors.

How did the MBA help you?

It helped me to understand people from diverse backgrounds much better.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

There were many good memories but the trip to Berlin was certainly one of my favorite.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

Yes.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Study German and enjoy the Moment.

Sunil George

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

Toyota Motors Europe, Sr. Buyer.

How did the MBA help you professionally and personally?

The program provided me with an international exposure and insights about life in Germany. Being in a multi-cultural class improves understanding and communication skills. This supports my job function, since I deal with colleagues and suppliers across the globe. 

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

The Alumni Meetings. It is a unique opportunity to interact with former students who are now leaders or managers in their respective industries. In my case, the Alumni Meeting landed me an internship with one of the biggest automotive companies. 

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

Yes, as it is said, some friendships are forever. My colleagues, seniors and juniors became great friends of mine.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Apart from the coursework, take time to learn German, network with peers and industry contacts, but above all, enjoy your time in the program. 

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

I currently work as Shipping Origination Manager for Berenberg Bank, Germany's oldest bank founded in 1590.

How did the MBA help you professionally and personally? 

The MBA helped me in learning how to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds. This is something necessary in today's increasingly complex world, especially for somebody working in an international industry, like shipping in my case.

Additionally, most of the MBA projects are similar to projects within a company, which makes them a good preparation for the real work life.

On a personal level, learning the German language and culture was very useful. The German classes that the MBA program offers without timetable clashes with the other courses, were maybe the most useful classes I had in Pforzheim.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

The best memory I have from the MBA program is the support and help I received from all the professors. Irrespective of how busy they were, the MBA directors, Prof. Strotmann and Prof. Kropp, were always there for me and for all the others.

The many field trips and events organized by the MBA staff and professors are my most memorable experiences from my MBA times. Additionally, the events organized by us, students, especially by Kerstin Januschewski, are great memories.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

Yes, I am in contact with most, if not all, of my classmates. Meeting in person is unfortunately difficult as we are spread around the world. Even those that are in Germany are far away from Hamburg, where I live, as most live in the South of Germany. Every time I am traveling in the south of Germany I contact them and try to meet them.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Make the most of your time during the MBA program:

1.     For non-Germans: Learn the German language and the German culture. This will be a major asset for you both if you decide to stay in Germany or if you go back to your home country.

2.     Connect with people from different backgrounds (other country, other first degree). Having a global network of professionals will be invaluable after graduation.

3.     Take some courses that might be out of your area of interest and/or out of your comfort zone, especially if they have a practical focus. I never regretted having IFRS with Prof. Kropp as an elective, despite the huge work load and tough exam.

Andrei Moroc

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

Imerys, Regional Plant Manager Imerys Perlite USA.

How did the MBA help you professionally and personally? 

The MBA has been a great advantage: being exposed to the European culture - especially Germany- improving my German language skills, and getting a thorough business education. The cross-cultural experience was very enriching, and the opportunity to learn about strategy, economics, finance, and project management has been very rewarding. These are topics that come up frequently during my day-to-day job; first as a new product development manager, then as a global product manager, and now as a regional plant manager.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

The personal connections I made with my fellow classmates and the deep friendships that blossomed. I have met with some MBA classmates in Mexico, Chile, China, Germany, and the U.S. since I left Pforzheim in 2008.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

Absolutely. I am in touch with several of them from the time I was in Pforzheim, at least once a year.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Study and work hard. Take advantage of everything that Germany can offer: the language, the culture, the professors, and all of the resources given by the Hochschule Pforzheim. The experience is invaluable.

Students from MBA Class of 2008
Alberto Oliver Murillo

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

Cold Jet LLC, Managing Director for Latin America.

How did the MBA help you professionally and personally?

It gave me the tools to analyze and seize business opportunities. It also helped me to achieve excellence on every aspect of business.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

A rock concert on campus.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

Absolutely!

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Be proactive. There is a world of opportunities out there.

Iris and Gert Middendorf

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

Muschert + Gierse, HR Management.

How did the MBA help you professionally and personally? 

Workwise, all presentations, teamwork and good case studies helped me to get a practical approach on things, as well as the theoretical basis. Personally, it was a great time. We were 15 students from six different nationalities.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

I met my husband there. We are still working together and have three kids.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

Yes, we have an annual MBA meeting: Frank Sommer, Rüdiger Bäcker, Susan Müller, Gert and Iris Middendorf, and before his death in 2010, Friedrich Fischer. Two MBA Alumni are godfathers of two of our children. Since August 2016, we had a guest student: the daughter of our Colombian MBA friend Liliana Mendez. She stayed with us for 3 months.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Choose a special field and arrange your internships accordingly. Make use of the network with different nationalities and enjoy your studies. It is simply the best of times.

Gregor Sommer

What company do you currently work for and what is your job position?

Friedrich Lütze International GmbH, CFO.

How did the MBA help you professionally and personally?

Working in an international environment helped me to understand different cultures. It also taught me how to adapt to new, unknown situations by using different problem solving approaches.

What is the most memorable experience from your MBA times?

I was the first MBA student from Pforzheim joining the MBA Program in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah. This was a huge learning experience for me since I could not back up on experiences and advices from former students.

In addition, I worked on a project in Bolivia, where many odds were against me. Fortunately, the project became a great success. Both experiences were hard to solve, but finally, I made it.

Are you still in touch with your classmates or other students from Pforzheim?

Yes.

What advice would you like to give to our current MBA students?

Enjoy the experience working outside of Germany and accept challenges as a good experience, because such experiences will help you throughout your career.

And sometimes the MBA can lead to greater things...

This year in April, Katharina Jungblut from Germany married her Indian husband Gaurav Bhati. The couple met during Katharina‘s abroad semester at a renown partner university of Hochschule Pforzheim in Ahmedabad.

"Thanks to my best friend and MBA classmate Rocio Elizondo, I went to India for a study semester abroad and noticed Gaurav.", Katharina says. Several of her MBA friends celebrated the wedding in India with them. Thanks for sharing some impressions!

MBA Classes of past years

MBA Class of 2018
MBA Class of 2017
MBA Class of 2016
MBA Class of 2015
MBA Class of 2014
MBA Class of 2013
MBA Class of 2012
MBA Class of 2009
MBA Class of 2007
MBA Class of 2002