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In Focus: Barcelona

Life in Barcelona is very different than life in Oestrich. It is a much larger city with many more people, more possibilities of shopping and going out, and a beach close to campus. The public transport system is actually connecting the place you are at with the location you want to go to. ;-) There are also a lot more attractions such as museums and places that are interesting to visit. For instance, the Sagrada Familia is a very impressive building, and the parks and houses of Dalí are lovely as well. There are numerous museums displaying arts, history or even the development of chocolate! Older buildings in the historic part of the city such as the Plaza Cataluña and the “magic fountain” (a light show with music at a fountain at night) are spectacular.

Though life in Oestrich can be small, the village life has its positive aspects as well. For instance, in Oestrich I live close to everything. The campus is nearly next door, and several of my friends live within walking distance. In Barcelona it takes a lot more planning to get a group of people to a certain place at the agreed time.

In Barcelona there are a few other things one has to learn the first days after arriving; Most important is the fact that pedestrian’s traffic lights start blinking 3 times before they turn red-- which is an important sign meaning, “Start running!”-- because the second the lights turn red, the cars start driving again. Second most important is to, “Watch your bag,” because people who don’t might get their belongings stolen several times just within the first two months. Last but not least, “Don’t ever leave the house without sunglasses!” It does not matter how cloudy the sky looks in the morning, it is likely that the sun is going to come out only a few hours later.


Work-life Balance

You always hear about work-life balance and while there is a lot of work to do at the European Business School, there is also something outside of work. I have decided to take a nice day off to relax and just hang out with friends. I’ll probably start the day off with a nice work out session to balance the body and mind. In my opinion this is one of the best ways to relieve stress and just recharge for a bit. Next I will probably head out to the town to meet up with some friends for a cup of coffee or four. Coffee has definitely become a close friend during my time here. After some deep rooted discussion over what happened at the last party I’ll probably just relax a bit and get ready for our legendary Schnitzel Abend at Elsje’s, as it is Wednesday. Last Wednesday was pretty well attended and turned into a great night, so I have high hopes for tonight as well.

Sometime you really have to just take a quick step back and recharge the batteries. Performance and hard work are great, but if you’re trying to drive a Porsche on an empty tank, it’s my guess that you will not get very far. I’m just glad that we are a good group of people who are able to find that balance between performance and self. In the spirit of work-life balance I will keep this one short, so see you later.



My Favorite Class in Spain

My most interesting subject so far was Social Entrepreneurship. I really enjoyed the subject because it was not one of the normal business or economics classes in which mathematics plays a mayor roll, but it was more thought provoking. We did learn some theoretical background in order to understand the subjects we were talking about, but the main aim of the course was to make us aware of our own actions and to make us question our decisions and ourselves.

We discussed several important social issues-- from rather big ones, such as world health, down to smaller and more local ones, such as the vicious cycle the poor farmers in Africa experience. We were discussing most problems in a rather unconventional way and started challenging existing ‘do-gooder’ organizations such as Fair Trade. The major point of the course was not just to discuss the obvious, but to dig deeper and see the immense complexity of the issues and the enormous consequences small actions can have. We were also encouraged to use our business skills to try and find answers.

We focused on finding efficient and sustainable solutions and on coming up with entrepreneurial ways of targeting the issues in order to really help people and the environment rather than accepting the current situation of the world. Common thought says that a single person cannot change the world. It is true concerning say water scarcity, but a single person can change the life of thousands. For instance, take the case of Muhammad Yunus with the microcredit system, where we observe that this solution can help and improve the world in the long run.


Company Contact

In this week’s blog I am going to tell you about my impression of the company presentations and the contact that EBS’s students have with companies on campus.

A mere glance down the list of companies that visit the EBS campus to hold either a company presentation or workshop is alone impressive. But then when you look even closer and see who these companies send to EBS, one is even more impressed. Top managers and on many occasions executives from leading companies, both German and international, visit the EBS campus.

The true value in my opinion, which I have found from attending numerous company presentations, is the relaxed and familiar atmosphere in which they are presented. In other words the company representatives are extremely approachable and open to questions of all sorts. In addition this atmosphere fosters the chance of obtaining extremely rich insights into the ethos, culture and operations of the respective company. This in-turn allows students to get a really good feel for what it would be like working for the respective company.

This exposure should never be underestimated, as the rich opportunity to raise one’s career awareness has never been simpler. To gain insights such as these on your own would consume a considerably larger portion of time, and as most EBS students will tell you, time pressure is something we are constantly exposed and subjected to during our studies here.

Knowing one’s options is an extremely powerful position to be in when entering the world of work. Therefore, I would suggest attending as many company presentations, workshops and talks given by top managers and executives on campus as possible, and in so doing raise your career awareness. Having direction is an optimal manner of starting a successful and prosperous career.


Global Consulting Project

Global Consulting Project is a five credit module offered to the EBS full-time MBA students. This is a compulsory MBA module. It consists of two parts: one is the Project Management course and the other is the consulting project itself, with a company. The whole idea of the course is to give us a first-hand experience of handling and doing a project from its start to the end with European companies.

The first course, Project Management, is conducted in the first semester to teach various project management tools and methodologies which students can use while doing project work. Organizational details of the project happen toward the end of the first semester. During this time we have multiple companies coming to campus to introduce their projects to the students. Students then have to form a team and choose their most interesting project. They then start working on the project from the start of the second semester.

In the very first week of the second semester students are to come up with the project plan and are expected to have made the first contact with the company to agree on the timeline and responsibilities, among many other aspects of the project. From January – April, students have four months to work on and complete their project. There are several milestones in between and multiple meetings with the project steering board (EBS) and/or the company to review progress. At the end of April, students are to give a final presentation to the company present the final solution of the project. Students also write a report on the project work based on their results and what they have learned.

The good thing about this course is that this is, for most of the students, the first time working in Germany and Europe. The experience is really wonderful and helps students in getting internships and fulltime jobs, when the time arises.

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