I hope you guys are doing well and you have had a nice and beautiful summer so far. Right now I am writing you from Cape Town in South Africa where I am currently doing my semester abroad at the University of Cape Town (UCT). In my third blog entry I would like to give you a review of what I have experienced during the last eight months and provide you with more useful information on the Master of Science in Management program at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. In case you have any questions or open points which you want to be clarified, please feel free to contact me. I will be glad to assist you in your choice to find the most suitable Master program for you.
Quality is the best recipe – being an intern at Dr. Oetker
As I have already told you in my last blog entry, I decided to do an internship at the headquarters of Dr. Oetker in Bielefeld. Dr. Oetker itself is a multinational company and ranks among the leading branded goods companies in the German food industry. With a product range of more than 400 different products in Germany, Dr. Oetker is market leader in almost all its product lines. Their international activities in more than 40 countries account for more than half of total turnover.
In my internship, I worked in the department of category management within the frozen food division. It was a nice fortune that there was also a HHL Alumnus working in my team who completed the international trainee program at Dr. Oetker after graduating from HHL. During my internship, I really recognised the advantages of the HHL community outside of Leipzig, as I took the chance to contact a couple of HHL Alumni who are also working at Dr. Oetker and met them for lunch or for a coffee break. This made me actually aware of the close and familiar atmosphere that goes along when studying at HHL
The internship itself was excellent and I am still feeling happy that I made the right decision! My expectations were definitely met and I learned a lot from my colleagues and the business itself. In our team, we developed category management strategies for supermarket corporations and also implemented them at the client, i.e. the retailer. While having worked most of my time in Bielefeld, I also accompanied a field manager in his daily work and gained valuable insights and experiences in sales management. Finally, my fellow interns and team members made the first three months of this year a great experience and I can truly recommend Dr. Oetker as a potential employer.
Back in Leipzig – Reunion and my second study term at HHL
After finishing my internship at Dr. Oetker in Bielefeld, the second study term at HHL was almost due to start. Personally, I had a fantastic time at Dr. Oetker, but I also felt very happy to get back to Leipzig and meeting up with professors, staff and of course, with my fellow students. Prior to the start of the second study term, I moved together with a classmate of mine and from now on we share a flat in the Waldstraßenviertel, one of the magnificent quarters in Leipzig where houses are built in the artful Wilhelminian style. In general, the housing situation in Leipzig is compared to other university cities very good and with a monthly rent ranging from 200 to 350 Euros quite cheap when sharing a flat with others.
Design your own Master in Management curriculum: through electives
In the second study term, I had eleven courses from which only three were core modules. Thus, we were able to select our electives from eight different fields which are finance, accounting, marketing management, logistics & supply chain management, innovation management & entrepreneurship, strategy, advanced economics and advanced general management. The last mentioned category allows you actually to combine single modules from different fields of interest and will be regarded, as you would go for an entire category of one specific field such as finance or strategy. In order to provide you with an idea of which courses I had within my electives (accounting, marketing management, logistics & supply chain management, strategy), I included them in this entry: Consolidated Financial Statements, Corporate Strategy, Financial Analysis, Efficient Marketing Mix Planning, Service & Retail Marketing, Supply Chain Management, Seminar Intelligent Logistics & Supply Chain Management and Strategies for Growth. Moreover, Microeconomics, Financial Economics and the Field Project were the three compulsory modules in this term.
Field Project – what is it about?
At the beginning of the term we were introduced into this module, which is worth five ECTS points. The idea behind is that students in a group of at least four people consult a specific company on a given problem and work as being a consultant. Projects ranged from international companies such as Allianz and Porsche to small and medium sized companies as for example Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ), which is a well-known publishing company in Leipzig. Moreover, there is always a pro bono project each term where students are working for non-profit organisations such as Gewandhausorchester Leipzig or Leipziger Notenspur to only name two recent examples. I worked with three other fellow students on a project for LVZ and really enjoyed the entire project which typically starts with a kick-off meeting at the company’s site and ends with the final presentation in front of the relevant decision makers. In many cases, one of the top management members will be part of the audience which you are presenting your results to.
To sum up those experiences, it has been both a lot of work and fun at the same time. The field project accompanies you during your entire term and you are regularly in touch with your client to agree upon the current status. It gives you the unique chance to put in practice what you have actually learned in your first term at HHL. From my point of view, I enjoyed meeting up with my group and collaborating on how to proceed. It not only provides you with a sense of critical thinking, but lets you also benefit from what each one has learned in their practical experiences from internships so far. Hence, this module was definitely one of my highlights during the second study term as it truly provided me with an idea of what situations and project briefs you might face in your later career.
Being on campus at HHL: Excellent events and conferences
During my second term there were a lot of events and conferences taking place at HHL. Besides the company events of which I already told you in my last blog entries, there were some great events such as the European Ivy League where for one weekend, Leipzig becomes the centre where students from leading European business schools come together for having an unforgettable time. Next to the soccer tournament, amazing guest speakers talk to participants about business and sport; great venues such as one of the exclusive lounges from Red Bull Leipzig serves to be a perfect place for networking.
The HHL Energy Conference as well as the Accelerate conference are fantastic events where students from Germany and all over Europe come to HHL to discuss the most recent topics, exchange ideas & thoughts and finally, create a wonderful setting for having great nights out in the city of Leipzig! This year’s Accelerate conference was on big data and brought together a number of experts and founders who are involved in developing business solutions for enterprises on this topic. Elevator pitches as well as a case competition at the HHL Energy Conference make those events outstanding!
Another conference which took place this June was the CASiM conference which is organised each year by the centre for advanced studies in management at HHL. This year’s conference was on “Boundaryless Hospital – Rethink and Redefine Health Care Management”. Taking part in this conference and listening to talks from well reputed scientists and practitioners clearly broadened my horizon. Since healthcare management is not covered within our program structure, it was enriching to get some insights into other industries which might not directly come to your mind when talking about business, but might be of interest for your later job entry.
Ultimately, regular events such as TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday) where professors, staff and students are invited to meet up in an informal setting to talk to each other, were also taking place during my term. Moreover, I participated in one of the HHL Alumni Talks where alumni come to HHL campus and talk about their work and what experiences they made in their career so far. The last talk included two executive assistants who provided us with interesting facts on what a normal day in their professional life looks like.
A unique experience – Meeting 5 DAX CEOs at one place
Together with two other students from HHL, I took part in the Pathfinder Event 2014 which was organised by the media partner of HHL, the Handelsblatt. “Leading the future” was the claim of this year’s event where professionals and guests, together with the five respective CEOs talked on topics such as teamwork, leadership and down to earth. Besides the different talks, participants got the chance to talk to each of the CEOs and we gained a lot of memorable experiences out from this event. Without being a student at HHL, taking part in this event would have been hardly possible.
To sum up
The end of my second study term already marked the first half of my Master program at HHL. Time flies so fast! However, I am more than happy with my choice of doing my Master at HHL and can truly recommend this program to you without having any serious doubts. HHL offers you a lot! Many offers and possibilities are just there and you only have to pick them and make the most out of it! Getting in touch with so many fantastic national and international students, taking part in a variety of outstanding events and most important, learning a lot from lectures, group works and conversations, really enhances your mindset in a sustainable way!
I feel a little bit sad to leave HHL behind for next months, but I am looking forward to my term abroad studies at UCT and life in Cape Town. In my next blog entry, I will inform you about the organisation process of the term abroad at HHL and their numerous partner universities as well as providing you with some hopefully exciting experiences that I will make in South Africa.
Best wishes from Cape Town!
Master in Management Class 2015
HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management