“The Global Online MBA is a program that suits your agenda and not vice versa!”
Born and raised in Germany, I soon realized that the world had more to offer. So far, I have lived in five different countries on two continents and am fluent in four languages. In the future, I plan to travel to the most remote parts of the world and experience other cultures in order to broaden my horizons and break down my mental barriers.
My educational background is in marketing. I have over ten years’ experience working for different German family businesses in a variety of sales and marketing roles. After managing complex projects in a global environment, I have reached a point in my career where I’m looking for my purpose: combining my passion for sustainability and fashion in order to disrupt the fashion industry and make it more sustainable.
The Global Online MBA has given me the tools and the personal connections I need to boost my confidence enough to try and make the world a more sustainable place.
Steffen Baecker, German
PhD student at IE Business School (September 2021 intake)
Define your experience in the program in one word:
What sets this program apart from others?
If you compare this program with a conventional MBA, or even other part-time programs, the decisive factor is flexibility. The learning process is “liquid” in terms of both location and time, and it is aligned within an overall framework. Being able to access the coursework and classes from all over the world means that your travel agenda is not at all interrupted. The ongoing forum discussions let students participate whenever they have the time for it. The only fixed dates are the Virtual Class Sessions and deadlines for assignments. In short: the Global Online MBA is a program that suits your agenda and not vice versa!
Secondly, when compared with other programs, IE Business School’s Global Online MBA draws more international, diverse and innovative students. Discussions are at “eye level” no matter your background or years of experience. This creates a safe environment in which everyone feels free to express themselves, and it makes for broader insight and outcomes that are based on various perspectives.
What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program, and what would you change?
I really enjoyed the impassioned discussions in class. The format included ongoing forum discussions and real-time Virtual Conferences, so there was training in different skills. While the written discussions required research-backed and concise arguments supported by additional visual aids, the live discussions focused on applying rhetorical and public-speaking skills. Both types were equally inspiring.
The open-discussion culture gives students a solid base to analyze complex situations and draw conclusions from a holistic point of view. Moderation by the professor—as opposed to a more classic lecturing style—ensured discussions were never dead-ended but rather a source of substantial insight.
The only thing I would change would be to allow students to choose individual focuses in terms of content. The syllabi of the classes are the same for everyone, but they could offer different “tracks” within a given subject—including tailored case studies and additional research—to better customize the program to a particular student’s needs.
In what ways has the program changed your life, professionally and personally?
I come from a classical business background with a major in marketing and have worked most of my life in positions related to marketing and sales. The program helped me gain a better understanding of other subjects such as finance, organizational behavior, and operations. Before starting the program, I understood the departments as individual units that would cross over to keep the processes going. Now, I see how crucial it is to break down this “pigeon-hole” mentality. All departments should be integrated, and all of them should lead towards the same business objectives in order to make a sustainable impact on the bottom line.
However, the program helped me even more in terms of my personal development. The group work is very dynamic, and you work with different people every term. You are constantly confronted with different opinions and ways of solving problems, and this inevitably leads you to question your own way of thinking. I consider myself very fortunate to have served as a class representative, which gave me the experience I needed to be able to reach a compromise among different expectations and points of view that, on occasion, could be contradictory.
What is networking like in the program?
The online periods are intense but rewarding. If someone had told me before I started the program that I would find true camaraderie and friendship by studying virtually with people from all over the world, I would probably have smiled a bit skeptically. However, I can assure you that the bonds you create are for life.
I had the same doubts and misgivings before embarking on my Global Online MBA journey. Little did I know, however, that the strangers who came from all over the world to Madrid for the residential weeks would become friends as close as family.
The face-to-face weeks are an important part of it all: the first week is about getting to know one another, the second one is about strengthening the bonds, and the last week is about celebrating our successes together. And being together in Madrid allows for a lot of student-initiated extracurricular activities to connect on a more intimate and emotional level.
Regardless, the online periods are equally important for networking. This is when the recent bonds created in the face-to-face weeks are fortified. Live classes are tough, and, although the program does not change this, you gain over 20 new classmates with whom you can share what’s going on in your life and from whom you will receive support. These classmates will become an important part of your life, and the memories you make with them are what you will remember.
Especially in times like these in which our world is becoming more hybrid in terms of physical and digital interactions, the program provides a competitive advantage: it helps us learn how to create meaningful bonds and maintain them both physically and digitally, which is key to maintaining and sustaining them in the future. If you are planning to do the Global Online MBA, be prepared to grow on an emotional and interpersonal level!
What are the residential weeks like? What are the online periods like?
The residential weeks are a pleasant addition to the program’s online periods, which involve the hard-skills classes. During the face-to-face weeks, several workshops are organized to train students in important soft skills such as negotiation and communication. Furthermore, students are encouraged to interact personally and to network with other classes and programs. Additional activities organized by the university, such as dinners, also provide a motivational boost and allow students to unwind and relax. In this sense, Madrid, with its rich culture and vibrant nightlife, is the ideal city to take a much-needed break.
The online periods are tough but equally rewarding. Two different classes are taken at the same time. Each week, on Saturday, students come together for the Virtual Sessions, which resemble a classic lecture-type scenario and are enhanced by interactive discussions. In the following week, the ongoing forum discussion focuses on applying the concepts learned to different case studies. The professors act as moderators who stimulate student participation by asking a series of initial questions. The discussion itself, however, develops and flows through student interaction.
Your favorite quote
“What matters in life is not what happens to you, but what you remember and how you remember it.” – Gabriel García Márquez