Alumna Interview: Hidden treasures of the Online MBA in Hospitality
Name: Susanne Goepfert Schuhmacher
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Current Role and Company: CEO and owner, choco loco GmbH
Graduation Year & Program: 2014, MBA in International Hospitality and Service Industries Management (Online), specialization in Brand Management and Integrated Marketing Communications.
If you look at the LinkedIn profile of Susanne Goepfert Schuhmacher, you might ask yourself: Why would a successful entrepreneur who has been running her own business for nearly ten years want an MBA? In this case, the answer is two-fold: First, Susanne chose the Online MBA because of its focus on the service industries and its flexible online classroom which allowed her to balance work, family and studies. Secondly, she was preparing for a big move to Dubai this summer, and Glion’s Online MBA developed her soft skills and gave her an international network of colleagues to get her through this transition to a new life and career.
Susanne has experience in many different places and roles. She’s been a project manager for youth projects and campaigns, base leader and diving instructor, and done concept and acquisition work for an event agency. From 2005 until just recently, she ran her own small business, “choco loco”, a luxury chocolate shop in Basel with a online store. Susanne graduated in the 2014 from the Online MBA in International Hospitality and Service Industries Management with a specialization in Brand Management and Integrated Marketing Communications. During her Online MBA, she conducted an Applied Business Project on the subject: Do Inter-Firm Network Structures Improve Service Quality? A qualitative research study.
Choosing Glion’s Online MBA
When asked why she chose to pursue the Glion MBA, Susanne gave three reasons: “I was looking for a program that focuses on the services industries to deepen my business experience gained during the last few years; to gain new views and insights from other professionals; and to gain a theoretical background,” while the choice of an online MBA was due to the flexibility, “with the online MBA I was be able to keep my business and my family life going.”
Improved soft-skills through MBA?
Interestingly, the program gave Susanne something she wasn’t looking for: an improved set of soft skills.
“I learned to better manage my time, to work efficiently, to analyze problems and find solutions. And now I recognize that I automatically apply the skills and knowledge from the MBA in my business environment.”
These skills are valuable assets. According to a recent telephone survey of 500 top executives, ninety-two percent of them said there’s a job skills gap among recent graduates. And nearly half said the gap was in “soft skills”.
The proof is in the impact: “After the Online MBA, I work in a more structured and efficient way. I formulate myself clearly and distinctly when writing business related texts,” said Susanne.
Online MBA makes an immediate difference
Susanne also appreciated the Online MBA structure because she could apply the concepts straight away in her current business role: “During the MBA, I analyzed my own business related problems and trends such as: trends in retail and luxury markets, omni-channel retailing, networking and cooperation between SME.”
And these insights changed her: “Not who I am, but how I work. The online MBA showed me where my strengths and weaknesses are. And it took me beyond my limits. It gave me more self-confidence and the will to achieve more in the future.
Lasting connections and resources
Most importantly, Susanne is leaving the Glion Online MBA with solid career connections that will help her during the next step in her career. “I feel I am a part of the Glion community. Connecting in the virtual environment was not always easy, but I was able to build relationships that are still strong. I feel that the Glion Alumni community is a worldwide, connected group. Glion has a good name internationally within the services industries and I’m looking forward to benefit from these connections.”
Indeed, “The MBA program prepared me for the change I will face with our move to Dubai, where I will be looking for a new job opportunity.”
Her final comment and advice for future candidates of Glion’s Online MBA is this:
“The online MBA is not the easy way to do an MBA. You need to be strongly committed to it. To combine work life, private life and an Online MBA can be challenging, but it is worth it. Doing an MBA while working gives you the possibility to apply the things you learn right away. And you benefit a lot from your classmates who bring their extensive work experience into the discussions.”
Susanne will soon be on her way to Dubai. We wish her a “bonne continuation” and great success in this new life adventure!