Hi everyone,I hope you are all doing well and you have had a nice time so far! In my second blog entry I would like to tell you more about the time I experienced after the welcome week and provide you with some interesting insights on studying the Master of Science in Management program at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. As already indicated in my first blog entry, I would like to invite you to get in touch with me in case you want to get further information or have questions which I have not answered in my entries so far.
HHL Leipzig Master in Management: The first study term at a glance
My class consists of 50 students of which five are doing a double degree and only stay with HHL for their first year. A number of international students coming from nearly all over the world contribute to the cultural diversity in our group and makes studying and life in Leipzig definitely more enriching. Besides the people, lectures, student initiatives and numerous events on and off campus also made the first study term at HHL a great experience.
Building up a strong foundation in management
During my first study term, I had 12 core courses which provided us with a solid basis of management education and an understanding of a company’s organisation from different view points such as accounting, marketing and strategy. In order to give you a more specific idea of what courses we had, I thought I might be helpful to include them in this entry: Finance, Managerial & International Financial Reporting, Marketing & Customer Relationship Management, Logistics, Business Strategy, Entrepreneurship, International Macroeconomics, Research Methods, Problem Solving & Communication, International Management Competencies, Microeconomics of Competitiveness and Business Ethics.In a couple of courses the group was divided into two parts which allowed for better interaction between the lecturer and us students. Furthermore, guest lecturers were also forming part of many lectures and provided interesting and valuable insights from a practitioner’s point of view. Likewise, professors of HHL held joint lectures when linkages between subjects existed, for example on ethical aspects of Customer Relationship Management as a combination of business ethics and marketing.
Group work, individual assignments and exams
In terms of grading, each course was different regarding the composition of the grade. While there were only a few courses whose assessment was based on a final exam, most of the courses were made up by having a mixture of group presentations and an exam. I only had one course during my first term in which we were also required to complete two individual assignments. In general, group work plays a major role at HHL which I really see as a great chance to get in contact with your fellow students. At least every group consists of one international student and by having a lot of different group works during your term, you gain a lot of valuable experiences by working together with people from different (cultural) backgrounds. Moreover, working together in groups really brought the class closer together and was contributing to the great spirit which we developed in our initial three months at HHL. Except of two courses, all exams were written at the end of our term. This of course has made last December quite tough regarding studying and preparing for exams.
Don’t worry about the workload – it’s high, but definitely manageable!
From what I have read before starting with my postgraduate studies, workload at business schools is very often considered an issue.What about the situation at HHL?Each course normally accounts for two to three ECTS points, leading to a total of 30 ECTS per term. One term typically comprises 15 weeks. From my point of view, during the first three weeks of a term you still feel that you have a lot of time and can easily manage your various activities, which you would hopefully have next to your studies at HHL. After three weeks, you will recognise that it takes more time to prepare for group meetings and assignments. During this time, it is of course still possible to pursue your activities outside university, but it requires you to be more efficient and disciplined in managing your time. When it comes to the final exam period, you probably might already have an impression based on your previous studies. In this phase, the preparation time for each exam is somehow different and clearly depends on what you have done during your term and to what extent you have followed the lectures.What do you get out of it?Initially, this might sound quite tough and challenging for you and to be honest, sometimes it is; but what is certainly more important is that there stands a huge learning behind it. From my own experience, I have become even more organised than I was before and really learned how to prioritise and generally speaking, how to adapt the 80/20 rule in order to become more efficient. This is what I would consider as one of the key learnings from the first term besides of what you have learned in your courses and group works. Additionally, these skills will definitely be beneficial in your everyday life and in your later career as they clearly provide you with a competitive edge. Finally, the cohesiveness of the group really motivates yourself and enables you to go the extra mile of work which is associated with the program.
Get involved! – Student initiatives at HHL
At the beginning of my first term, the heads of each student initiative introduced themselves and the initiative itself to us. In general, the student initiatives can be grouped in three categories which are sport, society and business. The European Ivy League forms part of the first category, HHL Energy Club and Business Students Without Borders are part of the second category and finally Accelerate@HHL is one of the key initiatives in the business category. All four initiatives are well established at HHL and associated conferences as well as events have an excellent reputation among the leading European business schools. A fifth initiative was founded in the end of 2013: the HHL Venture Capital Club. The club offers HHL students deep insights into the financing of start-ups and small businesses.I decided to join Business Students Without Borders as being one of the student initiatives at HHL that rather consists of a number of small activities instead of having a big event such as the HHL Energy Conference. I enjoyed engaging in several projects during my first term and I am already looking forward to next term where I will take over the lead of the initiative with a fellow student. I would absolutely recommend potential students to join one or more of the initiatives, as it is an easy and great way to get in touch with other students from both MBA classes as well as higher M.Sc. classes. Finally, a lot of fun and memorable experiences come along with being involved in one of the student initiatives at HHL!
Build up your own network
The community at HHL is outstanding and unique! This is the true impression I got after having completed my first study term. May it be professors, staff or students, everyone is open-minded and up for a talk or a short discussion on campus on whatever issue or topic arises to your mind. However, it is not only about those people who make HHL a great place to study. Throughout the first three months, a variety of companies visited us at HHL and invited us to join them for workshops, company presentations, interview trainings, dinners and soft skill seminars. Companies include for example McKinsey, Roland Berger, Amazon, Bearing Point, Stern Stewart and Bertelsmann. This is a fantastic chance to get in touch with company employees, HR representatives and often also HHL Alumni in order to network and simply ask them everything you want to know about their career and field of work.Moreover, I have felt the extreme entrepreneurial spirit within the HHL community. Various events are centred on this field of interest; start-up career fairs and talks with founders are only two examples of how to get involved in this scene. Another highlight in each fall term is the HHL Forum which brings together numerous outstanding people from both academic and business background. During this event, there will be also no lectures for students in order to allow them to take part in the conference. Last year’s HHL Forum was on leadership and communication and I really enjoyed taking part in the different panels and also in the discussions around.
Socialising with other universities
In my first term, we also got the chance to participate in a variety of events which took place outside of Leipzig. Teams successfully participated in the WFI Consulting Cup and in the KPMG Case Study Competition to only name two examples. With a group of HHL students, I participated in the sport event WHU Euromasters which was a unique experience as we had the chance to meet so many students from different European universities, while at the same time competing against them in the various sports competitions. An unforgettable weekend that makes me looking forward to the European Ivy League, Accelerate Conference and HHL Energy Conference in spring this year.
From January to March I will do an internship at Dr. Oetker where I would like to deepen my knowledge in the field of marketing and category management. The driving factors for me to choose Dr. Oetker and the respective department are the chance to not only develop strategies, which I already did before and is also typically done in consulting, but also to implement them as well as the fact that Dr. Oetker is a family owned company which still has major growth potentials on international markets.During our first term, I also took part in an application workshop which was organised by the Career Service of HHL. Prior to applying for an internship, I made also use of a CV check and career coaching which were truly beneficial offers! Furthermore, they will assist you if you want to get in touch with HHL Alumni in order to ask them about their experiences at the company they are currently working with.After having completed the first term at HHL, I feel that it was an excellent choice to do my masters here: Outstanding lecturers, a great, unique and international community of students at HHL as well as the various offers around contribute to the fact that HHL is certainly a perfect place for studying. Hence, I am looking forward to the time ahead. In my next blog entry, I will let you know about how my internship went, what to expect from the second study term and finally about life in Leipzig!
Take care and see you soon!
Master in Management Class 2015
HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management