Mannheim Part – Time MBA – 10 things you need to know

31 May

My first day at MBS, 29.09.14

You are thinking about applying for the next Part-Time MBA intake? Or you’ve already signed up, tackled the minimum of 600 points on the GMAT, paid your first fees and now can’t wait for your first day at Mannheim Business School?

My name is Alissa, student of the Part-Time MBA class of 2016 and I would like to share with you the following 10 road signs which will guide you through your first days and will give you a good start into your Part-Time MBA program.

1) Application Procedure – Finally accepted!

GMAT, TOEFL, years of working experience, the right mindset and nationality PLUS having the necessary coins – phew! Germany’s leading Business School certainly puts some obstacles in your way.

There are many ways how you can prepare for the tests; I can highly recommend the official literature and the official websites for GMAT and TOEFL. Moreover there are some nice tutorials online on YouTube (I especially liked the “Dominate the GMAT”-channel) and also one-to-one sessions are available.

2) Got your school cone? – Getting ready for your first day

Back to school – you suddenly realize that a familiar feeling comes over you when preparing and getting ready for your first day at Mannheim Business School. It’s a mix of excitement, pride (that you have come that far) and uncertainty what will come. From my experience I can tell that the first days have been packed with a lot of fun and new things – like doing the Gangnam Style in suits for example, which was part of the “warming up”-workshop on the second day. Program management did an awesome job in organizing everything so we could completely concentrate on getting to know each other.

welcome week

Part-Time MBA Class of 2016, during the Welcome-Week, 29.09. – 5.10.2014

3) Learning about different cultures and etiquettes – PLEASE no handshake in Saudi Arabia!

When meeting and greeting in Saudi Arabia handshakes between members of the same sex is ok. But according to the teachings of Islam shaking hands (and touching) members of the opposite sex when not related, is not permissible. So as your MBA cohort will be very international it could be helpful to have a look at some business etiquettes of the respective countries if you’re not quite familiar with it.

4) Your MBA cohort – More than socializing and networking

Networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships. So much for the theory. Within your cohort it’s more than this. It’s not only about building relationships but also friendships that may last your lifetime. It’s about helping each other, being there for each other and spending a lot of time together. The more open-minded you are and the more interest you show in your fellow students, the more it will pay off during and after your MBA-time. Especially in group exercises it’s always helpful to already know what makes somebody tick.

My hint: Try to socialise as much as you can, even if you’re very tired after a long day at Uni. Join your group for a nice dinner and some drinks! (A little party never killed nobody ;-))     

P.S.: A “Whats-App” group can be very useful for communication within your cohort and for the coordination of dates and times.

5) Work-life balance? (What was that again?!)

According to its definition (found on Wikipedia) it must be: “a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation)”.

And how to include a Part-Time MBA in your balance?

When you think about the things which are important to you they can roughly be clustered in 4 fields:

  1. Health, relaxation, fitness
  2. Job, success, career
  3. Family, Partner, Social Relationships
  4. Visions, Values, Cultures / Religion

Unfortunately one day has only 24 hours and a week has only 7 days so you need to decide which areas you want to dedicate the most of your time. Many people choosing a Part-Time MBA program especially focus on point 2. and soon realize that another area is suffering. But all sacrifices will definitely pay off!

"night shift"

IMG_3317 “Night shift” during the Marketing Module with Dr. Monika C. Schuhmacher ;-), Nov. 2014

6) Accommodation – How to make a good deal in Mannheim

Unless you agreed upon a special arrangement with your company to pay for a hotel room, which is at least 70 € per night in Mannheim, I can recommend using the website “air b’n’b”. People offer their apartment or a room through the online platform and you can rent it for the time needed. There are some great deals in close surrounding of the University. Unfortunately Part-Time MBA students cannot rent a room in the student housing, which is reserved for students of the Mannheim University or MBA Full-Time cohorts.

7) Abbreviations – What on earth means…

ECD: Education Center Dalbergplatz, located right in the middle of the “Mannheimer Quadrate” (N2, 10): Lectures of the Part-Time MBA take place either in the ECD or in the Mannheim Palace.

PM: Program Management, helps you with all questions and ensures the organisation & quality of the program.

BB: Blackboard: Online-based platform for course materials, grades, calendar, announcements of PM.

SSP: Social Sustainability Project: It is included in every Part-Time MBA program at the Mannheim Business School to start a meaningful social project in the Mannheim area. The class makes a real contribution to the community – so the MBA in Mannheim is more than managerial hard and soft skill  courses!

BMP: Business Master Project: The ultimate challenge in the Part-Time program is the BMP. Within a MCT (Multi-Competence Team, 4-5 people) you can decide between a “Consulting Project” in cooperation with your current employer or a different company, or the creation of an innovative “Business Plan”. The BMP finishes with a Master Thesis and a final oral presentation.

8) The role of constructive feedback

One of the first things you learn at MBS is the importance of feedback. MBS puts a lot of effort in the evaluation of the program management, the lectures, the facilities and peer feedback. This feedback aims to further improve the program as well as improve oneself. By giving and receiving feedback from others you find out more about your weaknesses and can work on them. Therefore it’s important to know how to give constructive feedback.

Constructive feedback can be described as: useful, meaningful, impactful and easy to understand. It is helpful to give specific examples and keep it short and concise. Try to make the feedback objective and focus on the issue and not on the person. Furthermore always include a positive message. Constructive feedback is never accusatory or vague.

Atlanta 2015

Part-Time MBA Class of 2016, during the Leadership & Organizational Change- Module at the Emory Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, 27.4. – 1.5.2015.

9) The best restaurants for student groups

You will soon realise that finding a restaurant for your whole cohort can be really challenging. My first tip: Wherever you want to go make a reservation as soon as possible. Some places even don’t have enough tables for such a big group. Therefore I can give the following recommendations (sure there are way more than these in Mannheim):

Die Küche: Hafenstraße 49, 68159 Mannheim, 0621 39747733

Palms: P6, 25 Plankenhofpassage, 68161 Mannheim, 0621 7189890

Barrios: Q5 4, 68161 Mannheim, 0621 1781356

10) Celebrate success!

Celebrating Success at the Christmas Market Mannheim, Nov. 2014

Celebrating Success at the Christmas Market Mannheim, Nov. 2014

Every course and assignment comes to an end. Before the Part-Timers pack their suitcases and travel back home to return to their full-time job, there is one thing that needs to be done: CELEBRATE SUCCESS! This very important aspect of the program was recommended to us right at the beginning and ever since we stick to it and close the module with a nice get-together. I think I can speak for the entire MBA Part-Time cohort of 2016 by saying that we’re always looking forward to meet each other in the next module. Even if it’s sometimes challenging to combine job and study timetables – when returning to Mannheim I know that the Part-Time MBA was one of my best decisions.

See you soon in Mannheim!

Alissa Gehrig

Mannheim Part-Time MBA, Class of 2016


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