WHY I CHOSE TO STUDY IN EUROPE: INTERVIEW WITH ESMT MBA ALUM BERNARD WANG

Posted by TheMBATour on 17 January 2013 / 1 Comment

Bernard Wang, MBA 2010
ESMT European School of Management and Technology
Manager, Strategy Development at Infineon Technologies AG, Münich Germany

Why did you decide to do an MBA in Europe?

For me, it was quite natural. I had not lived in the states for many years. Before getting my MBA, I had lived in Asia and Europe for 5 years. After being abroad, I realized that I wanted to have a career abroad and it made natural sense for me to pursue my MBA abroad. If you want to broaden your horizons, meet new people, challenge your comfort zones and engage in new types of thinking, then I recommend that you consider studying abroad.

What made you decide to get an MBA?

Being an American, the MBA is quite well known. A lot of people aspire to it even before they know what it means. Once I finished my undergraduate degree, I figured that I would work a few years, get an MBA and then “the sky’s the limit!” That was my attitude. As I worked more, I realized the importance of the MBA for career advancement. Having worked as an engineer in the technology field, I realized that I had a lot of “gaps and holes” in my knowledge since my previous educational experience did not teach me the specifics of what I needed to know. I realized that getting an MBA in combination with the work experience that I had would allow me to develop my career in the way that I wanted to develop it.

What was it like to study in Berlin, Germany?

Berlin is a wonderful city. It is a decent sized metropolis at 3.5 million people and it has everything you would want in a world-class city. It is full of culture and it breathes history. Of course it has pieces of the Berlin Wall with the old communist architecture on one side and the very new, modern, sleek and capitalistic environment on the other side. As a business school student, you see the dichotomy of economics and how the city was separated by this wall for so long and then it came back together again, once the wall fell, and the city has developed a new identity. It is very exciting, hip and trendy. It is a great place to spend time and get your MBA!

What is your advice on financing the MBA?

When you are going to Business School, you have to think of yourself as a business and as an investment. As an investment, you put something in (i.e. time, money, energy, resources) and you should get more out of it than you put in. I went into the MBA process with that mindset.

I know a lot of people that pursued post-graduate degrees and they put a lot into getting these degrees (time, money, energy), but they did not get a lot out because they did not consider the return on the investment. In my own case, I wanted to do my MBA where I would be happy. But ultimately, I knew that what would get me the job I wanted was not just the MBA itself, but everything that I put into it also. Money is only part of the factor. For me, studying at ESMT was financially very good. Berlin is a great city and quite affordable, which helps the finances! I came out of the MBA program meeting the salary and career expectations that I had set for myself.

How did you balance family and getting an MBA?

My wife also joined me in Berlin when I was getting my MBA. We were based in Korea previously and she was not working as we had our first child while studying in Berlin. So, family life started for me in Berlin. Maybe I had some worries, what about the hospital? The healthcare system? Etc. But, everything turned out fine. The healthcare system was great and the costs were very reasonable. My classmates were extremely supportive and overall, we had a very good experience starting our family life while studying for the MBA!

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