The Road to Business School: MBA Experiences |

The Road to Business School: MBA Experiences

By QS Contributor

Updated August 12, 2016 Updated August 12, 2016

The benefits of an MBA degree are well-known, with career advancement, high salaries and long-lasting business contacts proving the qualification’s worth.

But with the vast amount of options available to MBA applicants, from choosing the right business school, to selecting a mode of study, MBA specialization, or even the right location, how should a future business leader go about making the right choices for them? asks a selection of MBA students and alumni how they successfully travelled the road to business school.

“After my first degree, a BA in economics at Duke University in the USA, I had the feeling that I wanted to continue my education, specifically in business and management because that was what most interested me during my time there,” explains Rebecca Smith, a New Zealand national who chose to study her MBA at GISMA Business School, based in Hannover, Germany.

However, as with many MBA applicants, Smith had to take her life outside of business school into consideration when choosing where she wanted to study.

Soccer World Cup versus an MBA

“It was just a matter of when and how I would study for my MBA degree because directly after my time at Duke, I moved to Europe to start my professional soccer career. Captaining the New Zealand national team in preparation for the Women's World Cup 2007 in China, as well as playing full-time for a professional club, first in Germany and then in Sweden, didn’t leave much time for anything else.

“After the Beijing Olympics in 2008, there was a gap in the major world tournaments for women's soccer, so I started the GISMA full-time MBA in 2009-2010 when the New Zealand national team didn't have as many international matches.”

Luckily for Smith, due to the close proximity of GISMA and her soccer club, her sporting commitments could be juggled alongside her MBA program.

“One of the main reasons I chose GISMA was because it was in Hannover, only 50 minutes drive from Wolfsburg, where I was playing professional soccer for VFL Wolfsburg.

“Having said that, I decided to stay at VFL Wolfsburg because I was able to study at GISMA for my MBA, one of the criterions for any club that I was going to play with for the 2009/2010 season. I was able to combine my soccer career with my MBA studies.”

International exposure through an MBA

Yatin Mulky also chose to study his MBA in Germany, at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. He chose HHL, in part based on the international exposure that studying an MBA in Germany would give him.

“In selecting business schools, I looked at a set of different criteria. I looked at the country/city of location, the value for money and the quality of the program. Through careful research of business schools globally, (I looked at the US and Europe while selecting a school as I wished to gain international exposure, having lived in India before) I realized that business schools in Germany would offer me several advantages.

“Primarily, they gave me access to a strong German economy, secondly they allowed me to leverage my knowledge of the German language, and thirdly, they were considerably more affordable as opposed to business schools in other countries.

“My decision to come to HHL was based upon the fact that it offered me all three of the above considerations, in addition to a lively environment in Leipzig, Germany. The city is young and international thanks to a strong university. The quality of life while pursuing the MBA was also a factor I considered before selecting a school.”

Unlike Smith and Mulky, who both chose to study in Germany from international locations, Michael Hamer, a German national, chose to pursue his MBA in the UK, at Aston Business School in Birmingham.

“It was clear for me to study at a business school in an English speaking country in order to develop my language skills and to get used to internationally used management terms. An additional criterion was the program type itself – a one year full-time program, which is even more important when you are an older student since your opportunity costs are lower and you are only out of the business for a reasonable time span.

“Almost all British business schools offer this combination, so I studied the different courses available in Britain and decided upon the MBA program at Aston Business School in Birmingham. Fortunately, I met some customers who studied at the Aston University, who advised me of the good reputation of the business school in the UK. Aston also made points because it is a quite young and small university, which made it more personal.

“Furthermore, the program offered a balanced value for price and the possibility to win one of the dedicated MBA scholarships that made the program even more interesting to me.”

For those interested in finding out more about the career advancing benefits of enrolling on an MBA program, QS hosts a series of events around the world designed for future applicants to meet face-to-face with both local and international business schools. For information about QS’ events, visit’s MBA events homepage.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in August 2016

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.


Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year