Dan Haller, Global Online MBA 2019-21, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: Global Online MBA

Nationality: German

Education: BA International Business, ESB Business School, Reutlingen University

Role beginning at Imperial College Business School: Head of Engagement & Strategic Partnerships, TIGNUM GMBH

Professional background

I currently work at a boutique consulting/executive coaching firm specialising in sustainable high human performance, helping critical business teams around the world to be better equipped for the highly volatile, uncertain, and complex environment they operate in. In my career to date, there are two specific accomplishments I’m particularly proud of: the first is leading the initial development of a mobile platform created from scratch which functions as a human performance coach in your pocket, which we scaled successfully. The second is working closely with client teams and coaching individuals of various backgrounds and seniority levels to help them build a stronger mindset, increase their energy and ultimately tap into their full potential.

Choosing the Global Online MBA at Imperial

Studying an MBA provided an excellent opportunity to deepen my understanding of the dynamics of business and to be prepared to solve business problems and challenges with a holistic view. The multidisciplinary and practical approach of an MBA with quantitative elements such as finance, qualitative elements like organisational behaviour and strategy, as well as the fact that I got to learn how to work with and learn from peers coming from a multitude of backgrounds, was a driving factor in deciding to study a Global Online MBA. Imperial College is a world-class university with a vast alumni network around the globe. Besides the impressive ranking results of Imperial, my conversations with staff members, as well as former students, gave me the feeling that the Business School was right for me.

Funding my MBA

The information and advice that the Business School provides around employer sponsorship helped me gain MBA tuition sponsorship from my employer. Furthermore, I applied and was accepted for a scholarship, which significantly reduced my tuition fees.  

A thought-provoking curriculum

My favourite module on the Global Online MBA programme has been Organisational Behaviour, led by Professor Nelson Phillips. It was a thought-provoking module that introduced important topics such as leadership, culture and managing organisational change, illustrating the critical link between underlying driving forces, as well as resources within an organisation and organisational strategy. In the future, I aspire to help teams and organisations tap into their full potential. Many of these aspects were introduced and discussed in the module.

Theory in practice

While working closely with a client to support their cultural transformation I have applied learnings from various topics such as “Managing Change” introduced in the Organisational Behaviour module. In general, I have formed a more holistic understanding of business and related challenges, which has helped me better understand and cater to the needs of the clients we advise.

A goal-orientated cohort

My Global Online MBA cohort consists of a mix of bright and motivated individuals coming from very diverse cultural, geographic and professional backgrounds. While this not only adds tremendous value to our group work and group discussions, it also provides ample opportunities to network. All cohort members have the same goal in mind and are very supportive when it comes to sharing insights related to the field they are in. For instance, having an interest in the venture capital industry myself, one of my syndicate group members works at a VC firm in South Africa which gives me immediate access to learn more.

Considerate collaboration

Right from the beginning, my syndicate group found effective ways to stay in touch and collaborate on group projects. We now know each other’s strengths and how these can be leveraged, making group work fun and insightful. What I appreciate about my group is that we all respect each other’s schedules, individual opinions and that we take turns in taking the lead in group projects.

Studying on-the-go

The Hub is very easy to use whether on my laptop or iPad and has been an excellent resource - it helps me track my progress and allows me to study whenever, wherever. This flexibility has enabled me to do my coursework at home, on vacation, and even during travel for client projects.

Faculty support

The Business School faculty have been very supportive and have our interests in mind. One of my first experiences with faculty members was during my interview, who gave me a feeling of interest in me as a person, not just as a prospective student. Another great experience was the high level of support shown by the Corporate Finance module team, who proactively engaged with our cohort, providing fantastic information on financial matters happening in the world on a weekly basis and did a fantastic job in preparing us for the final exam. 

Managing work, life and studying

Juggling the Global Online MBA with work, family and social life can be challenging and tiring at times. While there are heavier and lighter weeks, a key takeaway for me has been the importance of planning ahead as much as possible and creating a steady study routine. For instance, I usually spend around two hours on coursework every evening during the week and allocate more time during the weekend.

A great learning for me has been around time management and planning ahead in order to successfully manage my study load, professional work life, as well as my private life. What may have seemed intimidating at first turned out to be feasible and fun if approached strategically.

Global Online MBA Student Ambassador

I’m a Student Ambassador for the Business School, sharing my insights and experiences with prospective students who seek to learn more about the school and program from a student perspective. Providing these individuals with advice and support has been a fun and rewarding experience.

Embracing new challenges

The MBA programme has taught me resilience and a lot of it had to do with my mindset. In many situations, I noticed I was having doubts such as “this is too much” or “I can’t do this”, which I learned to reframe. I’m now prepared to embrace challenges. I know that these challenges are not always going to be easy, but that small incremental steps will only take me closer to my goal. The programme has also taught me to coach others in regards to personal and career growth through my study experience so far and the deep individual reflections, which were part of the Global Online MBA Personal Leadership Journey.

My Personal Leadership Journey

Besides the many helpful resources around attractive target industries like consulting and interesting webinars offered by the Careers team on a regular basis, I was able to benefit from individual career coaching. My career coach was honest, but also challenged my viewpoint, which I appreciated during my reflection process. In addition, my Personal Leadership Journey has allowed me to deeply reflect on my personal values, as well as how I can achieve my goals. A fantastic experience so far has been the ‘Interview a Leader’ exercise, where I had a highly insightful discussion with the Chief People Officer of Dun & Bradstreet about leadership.

Long-term career goals

I aspire to help businesses reach their full potential by not only developing feasible and effective business models but by developing healthy organisational cultures. I'm interested in joining or developing an incubator program to mentor individuals and teams in emerging fields of health, medicine and technology. Imperial has helped me sharpen my understanding of business in general, as well as the dynamics around corporate culture and leadership. Furthermore, the career development resources provided by Imperial have been highly valuable in helping me form a clearer vision of my potential path.

Advice for prospective Global Online MBA students

My advice is to be clear on two things: first, fully understand why you want to do a Global Online MBA and how it may help you in the future. Once you are clear on the purpose of this, be aware of the implications of completing a two-year programme potentially while working full-time and having other personal obligations. Before you apply, discuss it with your partner as they and your family will play an integral role in helping you juggle coursework, work and private life. Setting the right expectations for yourself and individuals in your life like your partner is important early on as you will have to make sacrifices around your social life. The MBA is a fun and rewarding experience. Knowing early on how you will make it work for yourself and others around you will greatly support your journey.

Programme: Global Online MBA

Nationality: German

Education: BA International Business, ESB Business School, Reutlingen University

Role beginning at Imperial College Business School: Head of Engagement & Strategic Partnerships, TIGNUM GMBH

Is the Global Online MBA right for you?