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26.03.2010
15:00

Thoughts on my Future Career Plans

Career planning has become a buzz term in industry and is currently one that is occupying a fair bit of my sub-conscious thought processes. For example, does the first company you start working for really impact your entire career? Well, if you think about it—yes-- and so does every decision, meeting, chance meeting, the way you walk around university, the people you decide to or not to talk to. These things impact your career in lost and found opportunities!

I am currently looking for sustainable opportunities and am in “search mode”. My own personal definition of “search mode” means actively looking for and informing myself about companies and possibilities out there in the working world. When a possibility looks like it could be viable, I read up and look into it in more detail; if it gets through that screening, then I have identified an optional opportunity. Currently I am trying to build up a number of suitable companies that I would like to work for (and that I think would hire me) and am putting them into my optional opportunities folder.

In the next couple of months I am going to have to decide where I would like to apply, and hopefully someone will want to speak to me. I am of the opinion that you should apply to work at companies that you want to work for and not ones that you in your field of specialization are expected to apply to. So I will be applying to companies that I am satisfied will offer me a complete package of career advancement opportunities, work-life balance, fair pay, enjoyable and interesting working environment and a company that will bring out the passion in me.

Geographically I have restricted myself to Europe for the beginning of my career (i.e. the first 5 years) so if an offer in Ireland, Spain, Britain, Scotland or Germany comes up that I think fits me and my family best, then I will take it and jump on a train or plane.

Once I have got started in the working world, I hope to pursue an entrepreneurial venture-- be it within a company or outside of a company, on my own or with a number or associates and partners. But nonetheless I will be ambitiously striving to achieve a high level of autonomy in my future career.

You may note I have not mentioned an industry and that is due to the fact that I have a broad generalist degree and think that I am not restricted by industry. As I see it, after all this studying, I should have learnt how to think, and hence should be able to continue to learn and adapt wherever I choose to go!

25.03.2010
15:00

Practical Experience at EBS: Smile

Leadership, Management, Organisation and Planning are words that frequently appear during the lectures at the EBS; however, theory and practice are usually two different things.

At EBS, we actually have the opportunity to acquire knowledge about how organisations work and how tasks can be solved. We can do this by participating in one of the different student initiatives, called Ressorts. Ressorts are centrally delegated and organised in our ?Studentenschaft?. Basically every student participates in at least one out of the 19 Ressorts, which differ a lot. The biggest and probably best known is called Symposium (www.ebs-symposium.de), but beside s that there are also groups organising the student parties or MAD (Make A Difference), which is engaged in several social issues.

One of the initiatives I took part in was SMILE (Students Marketing Initiative Linking Europe). We organised the 11th SMILE Marketing Forum in October of last year with the topic ?Marketing and its limits ? gewagt wie nie zuvor?. It was an interesting experience during which I saw how much work needs to be done in order to set up a larger scale event such as a congress.

Our work started about a year in advance. We had to choose a topic, find a date, start talking to companies in order to find speakers that had interesting and maybe even controversial views on our topic. Additionally we had to acquire sponsors, design our posters and flyers and think the whole day through in order to not forget any important detail.

Over the months our planning became more precise; we had our first speakers and sponsors, the first participants sent their applications, and our planning went into the final stages. Because our organisational group was made up of only seven persons, we needed some extra help for the actual day. Some of the greatest problems that we faced were: short-notice cancellation of speakers, helpers that could not make it, and rooms that were double booked. These challenges required last-minute creativity from our part.

Despite minor problems, the day turned out great. We had brilliant speakers such as Mr.Bräunl, the Marketing Director of BMW, and a lot of sponsors including Vodafone, Tchibo and Lindt. Attendees had many opportunities to communicate with other participants and speakers. Some of the talks were even interactive. Overall, I feel that the day turned out to be a great success, and I can only thank the others in the team and in particular our group leaders, sponsors and speakers again for this great opportunity.

12.03.2010
16:00

International Experience: Growing Up German-American

Lately I have been taking the time to sit back and reflect a little bit about some of the things that I have experienced in my life. One of the things that I have been thinking about is how international experience has benefitted me. My father’s occupation was one that required him to relocate about once every three years. Normally we would live in either Germany or the U.S.A. As a child growing up under these circumstances I was able to see and live in a lot of different places. This provided me with a wide variety of first hand international experience.

I have been contemplating and evaluating how this has helped me develop as a person. Yes, I thought, I have seen a lot but what is it good for? I think I have come up with at least somewhat of an explanation to this question. From the discipline game theory I recently learned of the concept of ‘bounded reality’. This says that the rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make decisions. As an academic I naturally strive to make rational decisions and I try to equip myself with all the tools necessary to make those decisions. I have come to the conclusion that at least one of the three limitations to rationality is at least to some degree under my control. Knowing this makes me appreciate international experience much more.

International experience is not just going to visit another country or interacting with individuals from different cultures. Hopefully it is the broadening of one’s own perspective. The wonderful thing about different cultures is that they contain varying viewpoints which from an outsider’s point of view is like looking into and experiencing a completely different world. An outsider’s world after this is forever changed as this experience has added new elements to his or her own perspective.

I accept the fact that I will never know everything and I will never be 100% rational. Even so, I do have the ability to attempt to maximize my rationality with regard to the world that I am in and that world is an international one. So in conclusion international experience has enabled me to broaden my perspective and hopefully allowed me to be a more rational individual, especially in the context of our globalizing world today.

10.03.2010
15:51

Thoughts on Leadership: Leo

Who is a leader?

Be a leader’ or ‘hone your leadership skills’ are common jargons we hear in our day to day lives. It might not be a surprising fact for most of us that it is one of the hot selling topics in today’s world. It is the central theme of most of the self-help books and courses out there in the market. Again, I won’t be wrong to assume that all of us at some point or the other in our lives have made use of one of those books or courses. But have you ever asked yourself the question - ‘Who is a leader?’

Today I decided to ask myself the question. After musing over this for a long time, I came up with the following:

A true leader should be someone who is capable of leading his team differently, as per the situation warrants. The first situation is when everything is going fine and the team is inching towards victory without major troubles. The true leader should then be ready to play the second fiddle to his teammates. He should let his teammates’ march ahead and let them collect the credits for their hard work.

The second situation is when things are not happening as per the plan and the team is facing hardships and is finding it difficult to advance towards its goal. The true leader should then lead the team from the front, guiding the teammates with expertise and skills, making use of his or her rich experience.

How many of the so-called-leaders-of-today fit this description? Does today’s management education help bring to life the true-leader lying dormant within us? Is there room for improvement? Let us contemplate this thought and aim at becoming the true leaders of tomorrow…

08.03.2010
15:33

Thoughts on Leadership: Trevor

In this week’s blog entry I will be sharing my thoughts on Leadership, a hot topic around the EBS campus.

What is a leader? This question has occupied many hours in the lives of academic researchers, who have tried to discover the characteristics and traits that a leader possesses in an attempt to identify future leaders. As I am not one of these researchers, I can only offer you my opinion of what leadership is by describing who I would be happy to follow.

I would like my leader to possess skill in the area that they are leading me in, in other words I would like them to be excellent at what they do so that I can actually learn something from them. On the other hand I would like them to be honest and have integrity as there are many situations in business and life where a portion of the truth is merely swept under the carpet and only half truths with the positive information are communicated. This is where I believe a leader should stand out from the rest and should be able to tell the truth and at the same time be brave enough to take responsibility for both their good and bad decisions. A strong, fair and admirable leader is one that can stand up in front of everyone and admit having been wrong or incorrect, but still thereafter hold their head high and be tough and driven enough to learn from the failure and continue to lead in a confident and firm manner. At the end of the day, not everyone in our society can or wants to take on the responsibility and the associated accountability of being a leader.

The ideal that a leader should maintain an unblemished image to preserve their position of power has proven to frequently to result in cover-up strategies, which then become scandals if they ever becomes public. Hence, I think future leaders will be smart enough to recognize the benefit of admitting small mistakes and avoiding building huge complex problems through elaborate cover-up strategies. As a true leader is not afraid of losing power and this self -confidence and -trust in themselves will set them apart from the rest.

You may be saying to yourself that my idea of a leader is one that could only exist in a dream world, but there I say, no, not true! We at EBS should all be aspiring to be leaders of top quality and pure excellence. On the flip side, while we may have to be followers at one time or another, we should still hold our leaders to the same high expectations, so that my idea of a leader is not merely one in a dream world but rather the leader of the future.

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