Full-time MBA, 2009
Country of origin: Germany
Employer: Ernst & Young
Before joining the MBA I was a management consultant at Ernst & Young in Germany. Here I worked on international projects and advised clients on transfer pricing issues regarding their cross-border transactions. I saw this as a good opportunity for me to apply my educational and practical knowledge, and it also exposed me to projects that required me to think critically about the client’s business.
When deciding where to study for an MBA, I was looking for a programme that combined academic excellence with practical application to obtain a deeper and broader understanding of strategic, operational and organisational business issues. I chose the Lancaster MBA as I felt that its rigorous academic programme, combined with practical projects, was exactly the combination I was looking for. I also liked the fact that it offered me the opportunity to work in a truly international environment.
In particular Lancaster’s action learning approach has helped me to understand that there is often more than one appropriate way to look at issues, understand and resolve them. Working and studying with a variety of diverse and excellent people, from different backgrounds, also made me become more open-minded and people-oriented. I believe that both of these skills are invaluable for a future management career.
Within the programme I especially enjoyed the three consulting projects, and the opportunity to travel abroad (in my case to South Africa) to find out first-hand about business and community issues.
On the New Venture Challenge I worked with three MBA students to write a business plan for a non-profit organisation in Lancaster, which wanted to establish a youth cafe. We surveyed about 100 young people to identify their preferences and developed a marketing strategy. The highlight of the project was presenting our business plan in front of a committee comprising some of our lecturers, business angels and venture capitalists – and seeing the satisfaction in the eyes of our client.
For my Consultancy Challenge project I and four MBA colleagues prepared a growth strategy for a local consulting company. The highlight for me was to realise that I really enjoy consulting for smaller companies as the impact of the recommendations made can be seen much more quickly than in larger organisations.
During my summer project and dissertation I worked with another MBA student for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Leeds. We conducted a survey on the development of small and medium-sized businesses in the north of the UK, and co-operated on this with the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development at LUMS, which gave us contacts with local entrepreneurs. Speaking to all these fantastic business owners really enhanced my entrepreneurial mindset and my business acumen. To me, the project was a superb finish to my MBA as it combined my fascination for small firms with my background in management consultancy.
In the summer term I chose to take the International Business in Context elective where we went to South Africa for about 10 days and participated in a study programme organised jointly by Lancaster University and the University of Stellenbosch. I think this international study tour gave me brilliant insights into one of the most fascinating countries and the challenges it faces, given its multicultural society and its rapidly growing economy.
Upon completing the MBA, I joined as a senior consultant at Ernst & Young’s business modelling – decision support team in London. Here, I am working with major FTSE clients and large government departments on complex decisions, often involving multiple stakeholders and high degrees of uncertainty. I assist my clients during the decision making process by modelling their strategic options and backing them up through rigorous analysis.
To me, this job provides an ideal opportunity to apply my MBA knowledge as it requires me to analyse strategic issues from different perspectives (i.e. financially, operationally, organisationally, strategically) and consider their impact on various stakeholders. As the job is a nice blend of many of the courses taught during the programme, I firmly believe that pursuing the Lancaster MBA has put me into a better position to manage such complex projects and to handle them with greater confidence.