Interview with Margarita Setska - Student Recruitment, HHL International Full-time MBA

HHL Margarita Setska Full-time MBAF1GMAT: HHL MBA has put emphasis on balancing theory with practical experience in its curriculum. Tell us how the curriculum is designed to help MBA Students.

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA): At HHL we try to structure our program in the way that would best prepare our MBA students to the real world practices. Because our class is very diverse and not all students have the same background and practical experience, our practice-oriented courses and projects allow them to apply their knowledge to real business scenarios even before they leave HHL and thus prepare them for their professional career after the studies. This includes company visits as part of some course programs where students get a chance to analyze real cases using the skills and knowledge acquired during the course.

Another special feature of the MBA curriculum is a practical project offered as one of the electives and run together with one of the chosen partners in the industry. During the course, students are engaged in the development and implementation of a company project having to solve the real problems the company faces.

It is also worth mentioning that HHL is deeply intertwined with the private sector and invites business leaders from various industries to seminars, workshops and other events that give our students the opportunity to discuss their ideas and receive feedback from successful managers with large and diverse experience. These seminars and events lay the foundation of the students’ future business network as an integral part of their professional life.  

How successful is such combination of theoretical knowledge and practical application in our curriculum? Let the numbers speak for themselves. Over the past 10 years, HHL students and alumni founded over 120 companies and won over 35 awards and recognitions both in Germany and abroad making us one of the leading institutions for future entrepreneurs. In addition to the strong entrepreneurial focus, our graduates find employment in many prominent companies with the rate of over 90% of the students getting employed within the first 3 months upon graduation.

F1GMAT: What is the biggest misconception about HHL Full-time MBA program?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA): I think some may hesitate applying to HHL’s MBA program because of our small size. Annually, we recruit about 35 full-time MBA students which is a lower number compared to bigger schools but this is actually a great advantage for our students! This makes their education truly exclusive. Our experience shows that employers recognize the quality of HHL’s education and are eager to offer positions to our graduates. Also, our small classes give the students more opportunity for discussions allowing them to learn from the experiences of their fellow students.

We are certain that our class size makes our program more competitive as it allows us to offer each student the attention he or she needs. Individual approach and close contacts to faculty members are not only popular tag words but the core of our educational concept. Thanks to our small community, we are happy to have continuous support of our alumni who often act as advisors to the potential students and return to HHL to share their experience as lecturers.
F1GMAT:  What are some of the networking opportunities provided by HHL?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA): HHL is proud to have an extensive network of partners in various business sectors. Aside from bringing their experience to the classroom, HHL organizes various out-of-class networking events for the students. Among them are campus recruitment events, Career Fairs, regular meeting of our full-time and part-time classes, our annual Golf Trophy and Ivy League Soccer tournaments attended by sponsors, companies, alumni and students. In addition to this, HHL organizes events specific to a particular industry sector as, for example, the HHL Energy conference organized by the HHL’s Energy Club. Another great networking opportunity our students have is the Negotiation Case challenge, the first negotiation competition in Europe and one of the few in the world. Organized by the HHL students, the Negotiation Challenge competition attracts students from business schools around the world.

An interesting fact to add about our MBA curriculum is that HHL was the first school to introduce a course “Social Networking” to the program. This course, taught by an American professor, provides theoretical and practical knowledge aimed to prepare the students for the complex business negotiations they will face in the future.

F1GMAT:  How is the student life in Leipzig Graduate School of Management?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA): Thanks to our close community bonds, the student life at HHL is vibrant and very diverse. The range of the student initiatives includes sports, society, business and cultural activities, many of which integrate professors and staff members as well.  Some of the student initiatives grew to become one the HHL trademarks, such as our Ivy League soccer tournament or the Negotiation Challenge competition attracting students from many business schools in Germany and abroad. HHL students also started Accelerate@HHL - the initiative founded in 2000 and aimed to foster entrepreneurial thinking at HHL. Activities of this group included hosting of a yearly conference with start-ups and venture capital companies, guest lectures, company visits etc.

HHL’ location in Leipzig makes the studies even more pleasant. With numerous theatres, concert halls, jazz clubs, discos, restaurants, bars, parks and other attractions, there is always something to do in this beautiful and lively city.

F1GMAT:  Every school promotes its MBA program based on its Accreditations, ROI, Job prospects and Unique learning methodologies. What makes HHL MBA stand out from the competition?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA): Put in one concept, I would say our individual approach and our aspiration to make the time at HHL as valuable to our students as possible makes us so different. As in other schools, we view accreditations, innovative curriculum and development as highly important and wouldn’t be able to move forward without these fundamental principles of a Business School. But one thing that gives us the best reputation is the satisfaction of our students. Recently, according to the Universum Student Survey conducted in Germany, the HHL students were named the most satisfied students in Germany for the third time in a row.

Among the factors such as the positive image of the school and the high quality of education, students name our excellent contact to companies and a high level of school support as highly effective. They report with satisfaction that the possibility to contact a great number of employers directly, through the database of our Career Services or the alumni, makes a great difference when applying for jobs. Also, the availability and dedication of the professors were mentioned by the students as a distinctive feature of our MBA program. All in all, whether a professor, a member of HHL administration or a graduate – the HHL community is there for the students from the beginning of the program until the time they become supporters of the new members themselves.

F1GMAT:  Can you give our readers a demographic snapshot of the HHL Full-time MBA program (latest class) ?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA): The charts below will provide an idea about different backgrounds of our MBA students

HHL Full-time MBA Academic Background

HHL Full-time MBA Nationalities

What are the entry criteria in terms of the number of years of experience/GMAT/GPA for HHL Full-time MBA program?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA):  Every application to the MBA program is evaluated individually and in combination with the supporting documents. We want to make sure that all admitted students are prepared for the program and create a positive and stimulating learning environment for their classmates as well. Candidates who have a working experience of 3 and more years and demonstrate a good GMAT score have a high chance to be accepted into the program. In terms of the scores, we suggest that it is not lower than 550. The average GMAT at HHL is about 620.

F1GMAT: What are the post-MBA opportunities available for HHL MBA Grads?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA):  MBA students at HHL have very different backgrounds and professional qualifications; therefore there is no one standard career path for the typical HHL graduate. While a few of our graduates return to their employers to pursue careers that offer them greatly expanded opportunities and responsibilities, the majority find new employment with internationally prominent firms. A few examples of these companies are Accenture GmbH, Adidas AG, BASF AG, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Ernst & Young AG, Nokia, Procter & Gamble, Robert Bosch GmbH, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants GmbH, Shell, Siemens AG, T-Mobile Deutschland GmbH.

As mentioned above, some of the MBA graduates choose to start their own business, and depending on their personal ideas and previous education, the start-ups are established in various sectors.

Another possible opportunity for the MBA graduates who wish to continue their research is to pursue a PhD. HHL, as a school with the status of a university, offers its own Doctoral program and invites internal as well as external applicants.

F1GMAT:  Apart from the Full-time MBA program, what are some of the other MBA programs offered by Leipzig Graduate School of Management?

Margarita Setska(HHL Full-time MBA): HHL also offers the part-time MBA program for candidates who wish to get an MBA while keeping their full-time employment. The classes take place every third weekend in Leipzig and the next program start is March 2012.

Another available program at HHL is EURO MBA – the program offered in cooperation with other reputed European Business schools.

We are currently working on expanding our program offers and designing a new modular Executive MBA.  

Margarita Setska

HHL Margarita Setska Full-time MBA
Margarita Setska is responsible for the recruiting of International full-time MBA students at HHL. Before she started in Leipzig, she worked at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences, where she was responsible for the promotion of the doctoral fellowships offered by the school.

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