Experiences of an Executive M.B.L.-HSG alumnus - Kersten Schmahl

Feb 1 2017

Kersten has a background as a business lawyer and obtained the title Executive M.B.L.-HSG in 2016. He is working as VP 3rd Party Due Diligence & TGO&TAPI Compliance at Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Why did you choose to do the Executive M.B.L.-HSG program?

I felt it was time to get some academic and intellectual stimulation again, broaden my horizon and look into subjects beyond what I have been doing professionally for a few years now. The flying classroom concept with spending some time at some universities on different continents certainly added to the attraction of the program.

What was your motivation in applying for the program having a law degree already?

The EMBL is focusing on the interface between business and legal aspects - an area that has always attracted me.

What did you get out of it – professionally and personally?

Professionally very valuable insights into areas outside of my core expertise and fruitful experiences of working with people from other industries and with different educational and cultural backgrounds. Personally, meeting a bunch of great and fun people; people who have done a lot of different and exciting things. Certainly, making friends.

You being a business lawyer – what was the additional benefit for you?

It is exciting to see how people with different backgrounds approach business law tasks and challenges in different ways. Learning to understand this and to adapt to it, was something I took with me.

You worked 100% during the program. What were the challenges of combing job and studies?

Working internationally with a team spread around the world, I need to manage my time very diligently anyway. Adding this program to it, brought it to an extreme, which I also learned from.

You were one of the first candidates to complete the program within 12 months. In your opinion, what were the benefits/challenges compared to the 18-month option?

Difficult to answer not having done the 18 months, but I guess, an advantage of doing it more concentratedly is, that you never get out of the study mode as modules came in high frequency. I also got to do modules with two different EMBL classes with two different group dynamics, i.e. I got to know even more interesting people.

Would you recommend the program to colleagues/friends? If yes, why?

Yes, for all of the above, excellent academic and professional input, inspiring discussions, and the one or other drink in some bar or club somewhere at the study module places around the globe.

What did you particularly like outside the classroom (e.g. field trips, free time with students, receptions, dinners, cultural events, city tours, course locations)?

The joint dinners and subsequent drinks with my fellow class mates.

How did you benefit from the networking opportunities given (co-students and faculty)?

Definitely a life time benefit of a program such as the EMBL; I expect this to be very valuable for the (hopefully) decades to come.

Which was your favorite module and why?

Brussels – it was legally very demanding, very good presenters, and fun group works.