Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 3pm

Carving a New Career Path with the HEC MBA

Using an MBA as the next step in your career path

After graduating from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in communication management, I couldn’t wait to apply my newly-gained knowledge of new and emerging media in the 'real world'. My chance to do so came at cosnova, a mass-market cosmetics company from Germany, whose focus on innovation also included finding novel ways to communicate with consumers. Shortly after starting at cosnova, I was given charge of the field of blogger relations for the company's (then) two brands. It was one of the first companies in Germany to work closely with bloggers, social media influencers and YouTubers, and it was up to me to firmly establish the field within the company and to continuously adapt it to developments in the digital media scene.

Christine WeitbrechtA great start

I did this for three and a half years and it was an incredible experience. I had free rein to shape and cultivate the field according to my knowledge and abilities, given that there were few others to turn to for best practices or industry standards. Needless to say, this also meant a lot of trial and error, uncertainty, and relying on my gut feeling. But, ultimately, I had set up a well-functioning new area within the company that produced exceptional results and that was running smoothly, both nationally and internationally. At this point, however, I grew restless, and I found myself faced with an increasingly crucial question: Where should I go from here?

Where to go…

While my work as a blogger relations manager had fulfilled me greatly, I knew that it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At the same time, however, I also couldn’t see myself in any of the career paths that would have been a logical next step within the field I was in, of communications and marketing. Instead, I found myself drawn to other departments of the company – operations, finance/accounting, logistics, purchase, etc. – and, most importantly, to the ways in which they worked together to make sure products were designed, produced, and then brought to the right time and place to be sold. I started to wonder how a company as a whole develops, how to put together a vision and a plan to help it grow and expand. I knew I wanted a new career path, but I didn’t know which one to change to. I was stuck.

… and how to get there

Fortunately, not long after this realization, I came across the idea of completing an MBA. The more I thought about an MBA as a next step in my career path, the more excited and passionate I became. An MBA program would offer me the opportunity to acquire the very practical knowledge I was missing from my previous education – such as economics, accounting, finance, etc. – and to figure out, in terms of next career steps, where my interests, skills, and strengths would fit best. It was a chance for a clean slate, and I happily took it.

On the road

At the time of writing, I’m into the seventh week of my MBA at HEC Paris and I couldn’t be happier. While my life is insanely busy and I’m faced with a lot of subject matter to cover in far too little time, I am exactly where I feel that I need to be. In the short time that I’ve been here, I have almost completely figured out where I want to go after the program at HEC Paris - a rotational leadership program at a multinational corporation, the industry of which is still being decided. I have also become part of an amazing community made up of 140 people from 39 different countries. I learn something new about myself every single day, and I am rapidly growing as a person, as a leader and, simply, as myself.

Main tag

Christine Weitbrecht is an MBA student at HEC Paris. She also holds a master's degree in communication management from the University of Southern California.

Tags used in this blog post