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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


Mannheim Alumni Launch Sustainable T-Shirt Label Stork & Fox

2 Dec

I have always had a lot of ideas, but before I started my MBA program  becoming an entrepreneur was only an imaginary scenario. TStorkFox_Gabriel_Felixhat changed during my year at MBS and ESSEC business school, because there I got to know people that were just like me and that had started one or more companies before.

During my time at MBS I began playing around with ideas that circled around T-Shirts. Already as a child I protested against wearing suit and tie for family celebrations. By now this has improved, but T-Shirts are still my favorite outfit. This is why I now work on making the T-Shirt part of business etiquette, by finding the perfect design, fit and fabric.StorkFox_Fabelhaft_01

After graduation I launched the T-Shirt Label Stork & Fox together with my childhood friend Felix Groß, who studied at Mannheim university. The idea behind our brand is to develop limited editions of premium T-Shirts and
Sweatshirts: The newest designs are limited to 99 pieces – once a design issold out, it will not be produced again. Thereby we want to make sure that our customers can differentiate themselves instead of wearing mass-produced mainstream clothing.

StorkFox_Fabelhaft_02Sustainability plays an important role for us: Our T-Shirts are being produced according to the Global Organic Textile Standards and those of the Fair Wear Foundation. Such certifications prevent unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, forced labor, salaries below minimum wage, excessive working hours, child labor, and discrimination. The screen-printing is done by a regional supplier who uses ecological colors.

Currently Stork & Fox products are only available in Germany, but international expansion is planned for 2015.

The Rowing Experience – Blood, Sweat and lots of Tears of Happiness

6 Aug

Early in October 2013, right at the beginning of my MBA, my fellow teammates and I started a challenge at the Amicitia Rowing Club in Mannheim, which should become one of my very best memories of my year in Mannheim.

None of us had ever rowed before and last year’s victory of the MBS batch 2013 set the standards high to make sure the trophy, which has been passed back and forth between WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and Mannheim for eight years already, stays with us in 2014. We started training inside the boat house and out on the Neckar right away. Class started at 9 am so all MaMBA rowers had to become early birds to make it to school in time. This meant that many of my days would start as early as 6 am, sometimes even earlier.

It is hard to describe what kept us going as outside conditions soon turned into the typical German fall weather with 10 °C and even below. Studying late for classes, then waking up early, running to the boat house half asleep, getting the boats ready and going out on the water were definitely challenges I would not have mastered without my teammates. Especially in moments when it seemed that we would never find a synchronized rhythm, the first blisters and bloody scratch marks on my hands and legs appeared, I asked myself if this is all worth it.

Term one came to an end so quickly that it felt like we had just started yesterday. In the second part of our MBA almost half of the final rowing team went abroad on exchange so we could not train together anymore. We tried to use the various rowing machines at gyms across the planet to work on our speed and rhythm before we eventually reunited in Mannheim at the end of March.

Knowing that the regatta, which would consist of a girls, guys and mixed boat race, was only three months away we realized that it was time for the final boat order and team selection. While the girls boat experienced a shortage of rowers the guys boat had to conduct try-outs to find the best team members. Through the recruitment of another girl, who had also never rowed before and on top of that had to take a train from Frankfurt every morning, the girl’s team was finally set by the end of April. Special thanks to you Melissa. I have rarely seen this kind of sports(wo)manship before and I still have no clue how you made it out of bed at 4:30 a.m. in the morning. On the guys side I was happy to see that the non-selected rowers showed real team spirit and became our coxswains for the race. A coxswain, in case you wonder, is not just sitting in the boat, steering a little bit and shouting at the rowers when he or she feels like it. They are responsible for motivation, coaching and soothing of the sometimes very stressed-out MBA student souls. This should prove especially important in the last phase of our preparation.

At the beginning of June all teams were set and rowing practice took place almost every day. But something was missing. Looking back I think we just did not realize how much we had improved since the beginning and being MBA students who are simply ambitious by nature we kept trying to go / row the extra mile. Although every single team member gave their very best, rowing means that only if everybody is completely in synchronized movement the boat will pick up speed. With all of us being newbies to the sport we needed some professional “technical” support. Luckily we were able to recruit an MBA student from the last batch as a coach, who gave us that last bit needed to excel. Thank you Bilal, you not only brought the right technique but also helped us to keep the spirit high when pressure increased as we approached race day.

July 19. The final day of the race had come. And along with that an event that had to be organized for 120 people from the two schools, program management and other friends and family members. All of this planned and executed by the rowing team and our supporters from the class next to the daily MBA life of BMP pitches, final social project presentations, last classes and exams, as well as job applications and of course the mandatory football World Cup games we enjoyed together as a class.

We decided to race in the order girls, guys, mixed and this turned out to be the right strategy. The only thing I remember of the girls’ race is that we had some trouble as one of the oars got stuck in the middle of the race and how we handled this situation. Here is probably the most important thing about a team that I learned through rowing. Making mistakes is not the point that decides about winning or losing but the team’s spirit is what does. We did not give up when we were falling behind but we started to fight even harder and eventually made it over the finish line just centimeters before the other team.

With this head start into the race the guys’ race would already bring the decision in case we won because the rules said that whichever team wins at least two out of three races gets the cup. And the MaMBA boys left no doubt who was the better team. With a comfortable boat length ahead they crossed the finish line accompanied by the applause of the MBS fans.

This meant that the final race of the mixed boat could become the cherry on the cake of our victory. While half of the class already celebrated the mixed team was informed shortly before the race that in case MBS loses the mixed race the girls team would have to race again as the decision had been so close and apparently there had occurred a misunderstanding at the starting line, which confused some of the rowers.

With that in mind the mixed boat members knew that they were facing another final, and not a fun race, as expected just minutes before. Well, long story short, in the third and last deciding race of the day the mixed boat showed that all our hard work, sweat, frustration and commitment had been well worth it. Without a single mistake, and finally completely synchronized, we crossed the finish line more than three boat lengths ahead of the WHU team.

I think it is needless to say that we celebrated our hard work extensively and I would like to thank my entire class for the great support before, during and after the race. You were the 6th man / woman in our boats.

Special thanks also to the rowing club who showed us the basics, let us use their equipment and fixed it patiently afterwards, when we had no clue what we were doing.

And last but not least thank you Melissa, Tracy, Judit, Val, Ace, Berker, Geoff, Ivan, Chris and Henry for being the best teammates. I think there are no sweeter victories than the ones you work for the hardest. Almost one year of preparation that paid off in the end and seeing a group of strangers that had never rowed before become one team is definitely one of the best memories I will keep from this MBA. I will truly miss our early morning training sessions and will always look back with a big smile at all the fun we had during our one-year rowing challenge at Mannheim Business School.


– Sabrina Armgart, Germany –

Mannheim MBA Class of 2014

  Rowing_blog – 2011 in review

22 Feb

I hope the year has been treating you all well so far. I haven”t been updating the blog as much, so if you came by and found nothing new, it will change soon. There are a couple of topics that I am writing on and you will get to read them soon.

Till then, here’s something that I found rather interesting from wordpress – The blog statistics for 2011. I would like to thank each and every one of you who dropped by; accidentally or on purpose :), read my posts, commented on them and spread the word around. Its really been encouraging to see those statistics of visits made, most popular posts, etc. and helped me keep the momentum. So I simply had to share the blog statistics with you too.

Thank you once again!!

Till next time then,


P.S.  We’ve also made it easier for you to connect with us in the social space. We have integrated the MBS Twitter and Facebook-page feeds on the blog, so that you can stay updated with all that’s relevant to you, at all time.

P.P.S. And yes, if you have any feedback or there are specific topics that you’d like to read about, please do leave your suggestions via a comment. Thank you.


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,400 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


17 Feb

‘Time Without Courage and Time Without Fear is Just Wasted, Wasted Time.

This is one of my favorite songs and somehow it feels very pertinent right now. Well, for me, that is. Time seems to be racing past and we are already in the 6th month of our MBA. For those of you who have been following my scribbles regularly, you must be wondering why does she keep writing about time; time and time again, eh! But, yeah, this experience has got to be amongst the top5 speediest ones of my life, and I am having difficulties grasping the whole of it.

Now, I am starting to decipher the ‘ideal post-MBA job’ that I’d like to choose. And I now have Google as my best friend, seriously. I realize that its not going to be easy finding the places that’ll let me do ‘exactly’ what I’d like to be doing in the next decade or so. You know, I have a fair idea of what I’d want but getting there is more work than I imagined it’d be, haha.

So I dedicate this random rambling of mine to one of the greatest bands of all time- Hootie and the Blowfish. The opening line of this post is from one of their best songs, Time. And life, right now, is pretty much a combination of those 3 elements; time, fear and courage.

Till later,


The fastest month and the fastest year ever!

24 Dec

24th December 2011 ==> its Christmas Eve , 1 day before Christmas and 8 days before the New year! Time sure flies; to quote an oft-used cliché.

The posts have been down to a trickle these past weeks due to the Economics and Corporate Finance exams, assignments, German exams and a lot of year-end parties. Term1 came to a close on 21st December with a class-dinner at Heidelberg. We walked around the Christmas market, had dinner at an old brewery, partied until the wee hours; that’s how we kicked off our holiday-season.

I can safely say that now I know enough about the 2008-Global Financial Crisis, the Euro-crisis, the Stuttgart-21 rail-project, Net Present value, WACC, ECB, Market-segmentation, Price differentiation, Decision trees, Variable costing vs. Absorption costing and working in multi-cultural, multi-national groups and multi-tasking efficiently. I also know enough about Christmas traditions in Germany, the best glühweins around, the difference between light snow, snow-rain and a snowstorm and best of all, these past 3. months have only reiterated the fact that ‘It is all about the people; always!’ A big Thank you to the fantastic Program Management and staff at MBS, the wonderful Professors and my dear classmates and friends who have made this 1st step of the journey memorable!

Next term, some of our friends leave for Queen’s in Canada and others for Thunderbird, Arizona. Its going to rather strange not having them around; it somehow feels like we all have known each other for ages. We would  of course, be having several exchange students from Queen’s and other institutes visiting us at MBS for 1 or more modules. We are looking forward to having them over and hope that they have a fantastic time at MBS.

Now that Term1 is over, looking back, we wonder how we did it. It all does seem rather overwhelming. Term2 and Term3 currently look rather overwhelming to us and we are wondering how we will manage. But like all things until now, I’m sure that we’ll sail through and never even realize the passage of time.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Until term2,

Warm regards,


Snowflakes are falling on my head….

27 Nov

Thurs, 25.11.10, 7.30 a.m.: I woke up to snowflakes falling over the heads of Mannheimers. Winter had officially set in. Oh wait, the official term for the phenomenon was ‘light snow mist’, which changed to ‘heavy snow mist’ followed by ‘snow’. Now, there’s a job that I wouldn’t mind doing in my spare-time; changing the weather updates by staring out the window.

In Economics, we learnt about The Balance of Payments and how capital-account and current-account deficits and how economic phenomena in 1 country have a snowball effect on others. Next week, we learn about International Monetary policy; can’t wait. Oh btw, the German presentation went off pretty well, if I may say so myself; haha. The Professor said it was knackig, meaning crisp and well-structured. We like… 🙂

And then, we are real close to finalizing our Social project; our MCT would be working with kids. That would be fun, for sure and also a challenge to talk to kids in German, coz kids have a language all of their own; hopefully we still remember some of it.

Friday was the social event of the month- Karaoke at Frankfurt. We sang some, screamed lots, had tonnes of fun; singing hits like ‘The Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘All that she wants’, German hits by ‘Die Fantastischen Vier’, All the single ladies, classics by The Beatles and The Carpenters and favorites like Waka Waka Satellite by Lena and 99 Luftballons by Nena. Highly recommended, Karaoke in a private lounge, where people aren’t inhibited to scream their lungs out. 🙂 Thanks to everyone who participated and here’s looking forward to the next Karaoke evening!

And finally, the Mannheim Christmas market opened its doors to visitors this week. So, that’s where you’ll find most of us this weekend. There is something exceptional about Christmas in Germany; its simplicity at its best and gives you that special, warm, cozy Christmassy feeling.

So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.



It takes 3 to party!

2 Nov

So, today was the much-awaited Financial Accounting exam. And did it challenge us!  The exam came at the end of a long weekend of 4 days due to All Saints’ Day on Monday. The weekend, in itself, just flew by amidst a flurry of fair-value, amortized cost, intangible assets, IAS 39, the economics and politics of accounting, depreciation, amortization, fair-value, amortized cost, intangible assets; well, you get the point. We kept going around in circles, till such time, someone entered instead of on their web-browser! Yes, we get obsessed with what we do.

Then, tomorrow is our exam on Fundamentals of Marketing and post that, we have German classes in the afternoon. I am SO looking forward to doing something fun tomorrow post-German; read==> Go for drinks/ a movie/ a walk by the Rhein.

And day-after-tomorrow is a brand-new Thursday and the start of our 4th course this term- Managerial Accounting.

This course will be a 1-week course that will end mid-next-week and we have our exams at the end of the course; i.e on day5. This will be the first such experience for most of us and we are looking forward to dive into the world of  cost-information, cost-allocation, performance metrics and management control systems!

But for now, Marketing beckons, so I must answer its call!

Some food for thought till later; What brand are you?



P.S: In case you are wondering about the title, it takes 3 subjects to reach their completion for us to finally get a legitimate reason to party! Else of course, every other day is a reason to. 🙂

A week old at MBS!

19 Sep

Has it been a week already? Time is just whizzing by, but I am SO NOT complaining! 🙂 Here then, is a round-up of all that we did during Kick-off week (13-17th Sept 2010).

The dress-code for Monday was business; so very business-like, I took out my lovely new black skirt from Park Avenue, my green top and my black jacket. The jacket, incidentally was bought from Deutschland itself a few years ago and has it stood the test of time! Some yoga, a glass of milk, a certain amount of hair-adjustments and Catwalk shoes-on-feet later, I was ready to go!
And go I did; the orientation from the day-before helped and I was there at 8.45 a.m. We were all  warmly welcomed into the fold, so to say by our Academic Director Prof. Dr. Sabine Kuester & the Mannheim Full- Time MBA Team. We wore our name-tags and found our places in the ‘MBS Lecture Hall’. Now, The University of Mannheim and  Mannheim  Business School are run out of the ‘Schloss’; i,e. the Castle of Mannheim, which also has the unique distinction of being the 2nd largest baroque castle in the world. As I type this, I realize I don’t quite know what ‘Baroque’ means… So here it is, courtesy our friends Page et Brinn! ‘The term baroque can be applied to an artistic style from the early 18th century. It is usually art or decor that is very ornate or ostentatious with contrasting objects. Sort of an overkill on decorating ideas.’

We are a class of 58, and all 58 of us were in our respective seats a little before 9. I guess, the German efficiency rubbed off on us a little bit 🙂 The day began with an introduction to the program by our Academic Director. Around an hour and a half later, we spread out into the coffee-area; where I couldn’t wait to have my favorite ‘Heisse Schokoloade’ (hot Chocolate). Trust me, hot chocolate, like you find in Europe, cannot be found anywhere else in the world! We also introduced ourselves to one another and started the process of getting to know each other a bit better. Then we were taken around the campus and were shown the various facilities; the administration offices, the library, the MENSA (Cafeteria), etc.
Lunch was on the house, and we dug into open-face sandwiches and coffee. Oh wait, just before lunch, was the all-important ‘honor code signing ceremony’ and the address by our President. It was a nice thing to do; we basically promised to abide by the basic rules of life: courtesy, honesty, integrity and respect. Quite a profound way to start one of the most important journeys of life. We also had other presentations; career services, alumni, the student association, etc. and finally, a joint dinner at a local restaurant:- Tomate. Here, we continued to meet other classmates and get to know one another. The day ended for me at around 10 p.m… time well-spent indeed!
To sum it all up, in the words of Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Christian Homburg and Prof. Dr. Sabine Kuester, ‘The coming year is a window of opportunity, open it wide.’ I sure intend to.