The Missing Piece of the Puzzle
Entering her sixth month of working from home, CEIBS MBA 2018 alumna and Covestro Strategic Account and Pricing Manager Laura Loof has found her global career, like many around the world, temporarily grounded by the pandemic.
Born in Germany and raised in the US, Laura lives her life according to the mantra of 2023年快乐十分开奖结果🔸treasuring her roots while broadening her horizons. This drove Laura to both leave her childhood home of Leverkusen and set out on a solo adventure to CEIBS in 2016. Now faced with limited opportunities to embrace the second half of her mantra, she sits down with 2023年快乐十分开奖结果🔸MBA Admissions for a virtual catch up to discuss how her CEIBS MBA journey broadened her horizons, both in🔸快乐10分玩法说明 and Europe.
At Covestro, one of the largest high-tech polymer manufacturers in the world, a select group of young talents are sponsored each year to pursue their MBA degrees overseas as part of the company’s leadership development programme. Aside from CEIBS, young professionals on the scheme may also choose to pursue their MBAs at other partner schools globally. For Laura, the decision of which school to go to come together after considering a combination of personal and professional motivations.
“I had been to🔸快乐10分玩法说明 previously and caught a special vibe there, particularly in Shanghai,” Laura says. “From a career development perspective, having lived in both Europe and North America, CEIBS represented Asia – the missing puzzle piece that I knew was going to be essential for an international career. Given Covestro’s expanding footprint in the region, I was very focused on understanding how the corporate culture in🔸快乐10分玩法说明 really worked.”
The Covestro Integrated Site Shanghai represents the company’s largest investment outside of Germany and also the largest production site in the Asia-Pacific Region. Such is the importance of the🔸快乐10分玩法说明 and Asia markets to the company, Covestro relocated the global Polycarbonates Business Unit to Shanghai in 2011. With a strong connection to CEIBS, Covestro sponsored the annual MBA-led INNOVATEChina business plan competition earlier this year.
The full time, English taught, MBA programme at CEIBS welcomes around 170 young professionals to the Shanghai campus for its annual intake each August. Typically, two thirds hold Chinese nationality and one third non-Chinese nationality, representing roughly 25 countries and regions around the world. It was the diversity of the Chinese student body that stood out for Laura.
“I knew from comparing schools that the frameworks and business concepts would be fairly similar wherever I studied, and the differentiator was always going to be the student body and location,” Laura says. “It’s important not to imagine the Chinese study body as one homogenous group. It’s so diverse, with students coming from state owned enterprises, multinationals, private enterprises and start-ups. This really helped to frame my understanding of the complexities of corporate🔸快乐10分玩法说明. In fact, I would say the most valuable aspect of the MBA is that you are regularly rotated into different working groups. Strategizing with a revolving group of Chinese peers on high pressure projects really gave me a great learning experience to appreciate and absorb very unique perspectives.”
Another highlight for Laura was how the rigorous academic programme was weaved into the real world of Chinese business outside the walls of the school. This gave her the opportunity to work on projects at Covestro as part of her 10-week summer internship, as well as with General Electric (GE) in Shanghai.
As one of the compulsory cornerstones of the MBA, the Integrated🔸快乐10分玩法说明 Strategy Project (ICSP) gives students the opportunity to work in teams to tackle genuine strategic challenges faced by partner companies in Shanghai.
“We were asked by GE to come up with a proposal on how electric car batteries could be recycled or given a second life as an energy storage solution,” Laura says. “It was quite an interesting and futuristic project, but what really helped was having a faculty mentor with us for the three-month period. CEIBS Professor of International Business and Entrepreneurship Shameen Prashantham supported us and really challenged us to apply the frameworks we learned in class to successfully tackle the GE project.”
In addition to the curriculum’s deep dive into🔸快乐10分玩法说明 business, students also tackle case studies and business frameworks that have been designed to strengthen the competitiveness of MBA graduates on the global stage. One elective from the list of around 50 struck a chord with Laura due to the direction she saw the chemical industry heading towards.
“I remember quite clearly Brand Management with CEIBS Visiting Professor Dr. Michel Gutsatz,” Laura says. “I didn't expect a marketing professor to focus on B2B marketing innovation, but there was one case study about another large player in the chemical industry that pioneered channel management and selling chemicals online in order to diversify themselves. It’s something I’m very involved with right now for Covestro and was a real eye opener for me at the time.”
The MBA also gave Laura the opportunity to engage with elite peers at two top schools – IESE and INSEAD. After beating out fierce competition from their cohort, Laura and her team were selected to represent CEIBS at IESE’s International MBA Case Competition sponsored by Roland Berger in Barcelona. She later joined the MBA exchange programme at INSEAD, spending two months each at the Singapore and Fontainebleau, France, campuses.
“Adding two terms at INSEAD to the end of the 16-month adventure in🔸快乐10分玩法说明 was the perfect package,” she says.
My role as an alumna
In April 2018, Laura joined the CEIBS alumni family of what is now 28,000+ professionals worldwide. Returning to Germany with her Outstanding Graduate Award, Laura re-joined Covestro in a role that would see her continue her work between Europe and🔸快乐10分玩法说明, in addition to taking on additional responsibilities in the EMEA region.
“The degree itself can be a door-opener for new opportunities, but for me it was more about immersion and personal development,” Laura reflects. “It gave me the soft skills to succeed in high pressure situations. This high energy, get things done, positive attitude that you see in🔸快乐10分玩法说明 is something that I’m determined to instil into my daily work and the European organisation. It’s not easy to replicate here, but it’s one of the biggest takeaways that fundamentally changed me and how I approach my work.”
As we edge towards the start of term for new MBAs joining CEIBS in October 2020, Laura is aware of the challenges facing future students who are beginning their MBA journeys with the pandemic looming in the background. Those who cannot enter🔸快乐10分玩法说明 due to the travel ban will begin their journeys from CEIBS’ Europe Campus in Zurich. For them, her advice for starting their🔸快乐10分玩法说明 adventure outside of the country is to focus early efforts on learning Mandarin and getting to know the CEIBS Europe based alumni community.
“We have six alumni chapters in Europe and get together each year for a reunion. This is a really nice way to maintain a connection with the school and also to meet new contacts,” Laura says. “What ties us together is this shared experience in🔸快乐10分玩法说明 and our drive for continuous learning. Now that I can’t physically meet with fellow alums, I really treasure the relationships and inspiring in-person experiences I have had thanks to CEIBS all the more.”