I am pleased to offer an interview with Rick Doyle, Global Marketing Manager at ESMT, the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, Germany. ESMT is a well-established business school with graduates in over 40 countries.
Life in the MBA
Your program has only 53 students this year (2013). Why such a small class?
The ESMT MBA remains small by design. In order to maintain a very close working relationship with the students we will restrict our intake to the January 2014 class to no more than 60 students and maintain the near 90% international mix of the class. This intake will be slightly a bit larger than our current class, but we will still be able to maintain a student/ faculty ratio of less than 2:1. The ESMT MBA is a general MBA program with specializations in Innovation and Technology Management and Global Sustainable Business. The smaller classes size allows students to easily work on consulting projects directly with companies during the MBA.
I saw that at ESMT students each have a dedicated career counselor. What percentage of students are career changers, and can you provide some more information about how ESMT supports students as they find their next position?
In the last graduating class over 80% of the students changed either their field, sector or working-language in their career and over 20% changed all three. Many ESMT graduates tend to move into technology-driven companies which o are growing internationally. These could an be global players such as those represented among in the schools 25 founders (e.g. Siemens, MAN, Daimler, etc.) or emerging high-tech companies that are flocking to the area around Berlin, among others. Next in terms of popularity is consultingConsulting is quite a popular option for graduates, which and is a sector which is also present among the school’s founders - with McKinsey, BCG, and KPMG, and McKinsey. Relatively few ESMT graduates go into banking, although we have had several hires in recent years in the risk management sector in Germany. ESMT students have individual sessions with a Career Coach during the program. Career services are part of the curriculum and regular seminars focusing on career preparation and progress, including soft skills (public speaking, negotiation, leadership, etc.), are built in. Companies visit campus for career days, but most students find their jobs as a result of networking directly in their field. Every year some are offered a few students also jobs as a result of their consulting projects during the program.
Life During the Program
What are some of the benefits of doing an MBA in Germany?
Germany has avoided the recession felt my many other European countries, thus the job prospects are still strong for ESMT graduates. About 60% of graduates each year end up working in Germany and overall about 75% find work in Europe. With this in mind, Germany has some of the most liberal work permit options for graduates. They are able to stay in Germany for 18 months following graduation as a job seeker, if necessary. Upon finding a job, the work permit is granted in all but very exceptional cases. During the MBA program at ESMT students have the opportunity to work directly with companies, many of them based in Germany. This first-hand knowledge with the companies helps them understand what working for a German company is like before they enter the work force. This is also a key step in building their network for their job search. Studying in Berlin also presents the opportunity for students to immerse themselves into the ever-growing start-up culture here in Berlin. Many graduates find themselves taking on challenges and starting up new ventures that they never thought possible.
What's it like for ESMT MBA students living in Berlin?
Berlin is one of the most dynamic cities in Europe at the moment. Because of the rich start-up culture here there are always new ideas and companies popping up. There are literally thousands of cultural activities going on all around the city throughout the year. English is widely spoken in Berlin so communicating upon arrival is not a problem. Students will study German during the program so they will have the opportunity to practice during their time in Berlin. Residents of Berlin are also fortunate to have one of the lowest costs of living of any major European capital city. We advise students to budget about 1000-1500 Euros per month for living expenses, including food and housing.
Is your TOEFL minimum (100) strict? Should someone with a 97 or 99 not bother applying?
The language of instruction of all of the degree programs at ESMT (MIM, MBA and EMBA) is English. The MBA in particular is an intense program of only 12 months so speaking English well is essential. We do try as much as possible to consider applicants who may have a TOEFL a few points below the 100 score. The GMAT and the application interview are also additional ways that we are able to assess an applicant’s English ability.
How important is it that applicants have some global exposure prior to enrolling?
99% of our students have international experience prior to starting the program so it is an aspect of an applicant’s profile which we look for. Applicants should, however, keep in mind that there are other ways to gain international experience and exposure than physically working outside of your home country. Working on international teams, or on projects in which you work with a global network of people is one way, for example. Be sure to elaborate on these aspects of your professional experience where appropriate in the application and interview.
I've heard there will be a new MA program at ESMT shortly. Could you tell us a bit about it?
A few weeks ago we did launch our new Master’s in Management (MIM) program. It is a two year program which will target applicants with less than 1 year of work experience following their bachelor’s degree. An ideal candidate will have a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics or a strong quantitative focus. The coursework includes a business management core followed by specializations in areas such as: market analysis, supply chain management and innovation consulting. There is also a required social impact project and a six month internship in a company as part of the program in addition to the master’s thesis internship. The current list of companies which have agreed to host MIM interns during the program includes: Allianz, Axel Springer, Bosch, Deutsche Post DHL, E.on, Gazprom, McKinsey & Company, Siemens and Thyssenkrupp. We expect the list to grow as we near the program start date of September 2014.
Thanks Rick for your time!