In autumn 2009, I made the decision to expand my profile as an architect with an additional qualification, an MBA. As an architect, I have several years of professional experience and have mainly worked abroad for my company, such as South Africa, Poland and Shanghai on major international projects and construction projects. We also have a private company, for which I need more knowledge in order to lead it. Therefore, the MBA will not only vastly expand my range as an architect, which will allow me to move into other fields of activity, but at the same time it will also provide me with the necessary knowledge to strategically participate in my private company.
I had intensively looked at many masters programs and found that the MBA program is a very interesting option. Once decided, I wanted to execute the application criteria relatively quickly and only apply to the leading European schools. I was surprised at how big the effort of applying for an MBA program is and how much effort and work is needed in the application phase alone. This is often totally underestimated and I can explicitly indicate that it requires a lot of bleak work, to apply for an MBA program. At this point it must be noted that the criteria and hurdles that are required by the schools before admission for an MBA program are immense. These include, in addition to such obvious details as excellent diploma grades, first class references, multi-year work experience (best worldwide), an international profile and good foreign language knowledge, excellent averages in GMAT, high scores on the TOEFL or TOEIC (Test of English foreign language), many brilliant essays, letters of recommendation, transcript of thesis, etc.
When all these hurdles habe been cleared, and the quality of the documents submitted have been convincing, one might get invited for an interview, another entrance examination at the school may still have to be completed, and then the chances of being accepted are up to 1: 10 depending on the school. The effort is therefore not to be underestimated, and if one would like to go to one of the top schools, you will have to put a lot of work and time into the preparation.
During preparation, I discovered a major hurdle: the GMAT test. The GMAT is a mathematical and linguistic test, a very perfidious invention. In my opinion, the GMAT says very little about the qualities of a candidate, and is an antiquated method for evaluating candidates. However, almost all top schools worldwide require this test, so you have to get on with it whether you like it or not. Since graduating from high school was 14 years ago, and as I had little to do with financial mathematics and their formulas in my job, I was looking for a time-saving variant to take this hurdle as quickly and professionally as possible in order to apply perfectly prepared. During my research, I discovered the MBAhelp team in Frankfurt. MBAhelp’s offices are centrally located in the financial district of Frankfurt, just a stone’s throw from the Frankfurter Hof, and the headquarters of the Commerzbank, it is optimally geared to the students’ needs, has individual study rooms where private lessons may be held or booked, and also offers group classes on weekends. In addition to a complete program for the entire application process, one will receive professional and individually tailored assistance throughout the very complex application process. After a very friendly first telephone conversation with the Director of the Institute, Mr. Martin Spitta, and with the resulting knowledge, that it is preferable to apply for an MBA program properly and professionally, I decided to begin the GMAT training in Frankfurt as I had the impression to be in very experienced and competent hands.
It should be stressed here that successfully “cracking” the GMAT requires an intensive work effort. Even an economics graduate cannot avoid investing at least three months in order to achieve the score most top schools request. I had the particular difficulty that my job gave me no prior knowledge and I had to “dig” my way through this challenge with a lot of hard work and discipline. I was initially very supported, motivated and encouraged by Frank Fischer, and later by Brian Sherman, the MBAhelp math coach, and Edward Ewing, the verbal coach, who both have very original, friendly and intuitive teaching methods and who gave me a comprehensive foundation of all GMAT problems through an individually tailored training plan. During “face to face” teaching blocks, both coaches led me through the entire spectrum of these tasks and I learned the necessary knowledge in both disciplines to finally be able to take the GMAT test. Nevertheless, the GMAT is an unpleasant task and I encourage everyone to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.
The TOEFL test was less demanding and less difficult for me due to my good knowledge of English. However, the TOEFL should also not be underestimated and requires a lot of preparation. One should plan at least 2-3 weeks, otherwise one risks having to retake it. The MBAhelp team, but particularly Melba Sobrino, quickly and unerringly got me over this hurdle. Melba Sobrino‘s teaching style, just like that of Brian Sherman and Edward Ewing, is very friendly and competent. It’s fun to work with her; she has a very professional and positive way and gives very original hints and strategies to pass the TOEFL test. She also has a very uplifting and cheerful personality, so the hours spent preparing were a lot of fun. After the GMAT and TOEFL were taken, the second part of the application process went much faster. This was done in close and good cooperation with Martin Spitta, the director of the Institute. Mr. Spitta was very professional, knowledgeable and eloquent and was able to clarify all questions regarding essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts and organizational issues. He helped with the structure and content of essays, gave good tips and advice and has a very experienced and professional approach. Thanks to the help of Mr. Spitta I was able to finish the second part of the process quickly and submitted my application to the leading schools in Europe.
The response was positive and I was invited for an interview. I had my interview training in Frankfurt in cooperation with Melba Sobrino again, and we had a lot of fun and a good time. Due to the very profound and intense training, the actual interview with the school recruiter proceeded very relaxed and I highly recommend preparing this way, because you can be very calm and convincing if one has previously practiced sufficiently. During the interview, I was made aware of the quality of the work I had already submitted. It took a few more months having to wait for an admission confirmation, but now I have been accepted to one of the five best universities in Europe and even the world, even though I started off as the under-dog due to my profession and lack of specific knowledge. Without the help of MBAhelp and the team led by Martin Spitta with Brian Sherman, Edward Ewing, Frank Fischer and Melba Sobrino this would certainly not have turned out so well, so I am very happy with my decision of having turned to a friendly, knowledgeable and very professional address: MBAhelp in Frankfurt.