Elmar Jung is proof it’s never too late to switch career track.
After an arts masters in Munich, he spent almost a decade in journalism, working his way up from reporter to an editor role at Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest regional daily newspaper.
He went on to establish his own editorial office, working for more than 20 customers—including Die Welt and Financial Times Deutschland—in five countries. He even wrote a book—Ullstein—about life as a German living in Denmark, selling over 14,000 copies.
Aged 36, and with a young family, Elmar joined Copenhagen Business School’s full-time MBA program in 2013, determined to change career direction.
It’s fair to say, Elmar isn’t your typical MBA student. But the Copenhagen MBA isn’t your typical MBA program—topics like sustainability and responsible management are ingrained within the course curriculum.
The Leadership Discovery Process (LDP), which runs throughout the one-year program, focuses on personal development, with courses on cognitive coaching, brain functions, and team dynamics. And it was the LDP, facilitated by Implement Consulting, which helped Elmar change role, industry, and land his post-MBA job.
Through the LDP, Elmar was introduced to the Nordic-based consulting firm and got the chance to network with senior execs. He joined Implement Consulting after graduation, starting up a new communications team at its Copenhagen HQ.
Far from being a drawback, Elmar’s non-traditional journalism background, combined with a triple-accredited MBA, makes him stand out from the crowd.
Why did you decide to pursue the Copenhagen MBA?
To be honest, it was a quite pragmatic decision. At that point, my son was one-and-a-half years old. I couldn’t just tell my family, ‘I’m going to London, Paris or Barcelona, see you in two years!’
Of course, I was very lucky then that, with the Copenhagen MBA, I had the opportunity to apply for a program with a strong reputation and a focus on leadership and sustainability in the city where I was already based. With it, I could balance everything much more easily with my family.
What stands out from your MBA experience?
The people, all these individuals with their different backgrounds and nationalities, taught me a lot. In the learning groups, where we worked on cases and papers, all different perspectives came together and formed something that was bigger than the sum of its parts.
Also, the Leadership Discovery Process was an absolute highlight as it helped me develop as a person—something I considered as least as important as learning the course content.
How did your journalism background benefit your experience?
I think in general, having a journalism background, makes you a generalist. That helped me a lot throughout the MBA, because I was interested in everything, every subject, which made it a lot easier to put energy and effort into the program.
Having a journalism background also helps me to sum up and explain difficult matters in a language everyone can understand. I call it human language as opposed to corporate language, which can be quite annoying at times!
How did the job at Implement Consulting Group come about?
Implement was facilitating the Leadership Discovering Process, which was a focal module of the Copenhagen MBA program. I got in touch with a couple of consultants, and the rest was networking. It’s all about networking, especially in Denmark and when you want to completely change your career as I wanted to.
I was quite lucky that Implement planned to start a new team for Change Communication after I graduated. I visited them a couple of times to learn more about the company and their culture. And, because they already knew me, they told me about this already way before it was official.
Of course, my journalism background helps me a lot within the field of Change Communication. When a company tells its employees, we are doing this or that project to increase efficiency and decrease internal complexity, then I think: So, what? What does that really mean? For the organization? For the people? Breaking down smart sentences into meaningful messages everyone can relate to is something large corporations often neglect.
Would you be where you are today without the Copenhagen MBA?
Absolutely not. Without the MBA, I would never have been given the opportunity to start a consultancy career at the age of 36. That is of course also thanks to Implement. They have a different hiring policy than most of the other consultancy firms.
The MBA also made me realize strengths and preferences that I wasn’t aware of before. Let’s take corporate finance for example. I absolutely loved it and I was also quite good at it. But most importantly, I profited from the program personally. It taught me to believe more in my strengths. It showed me that I have something to give. You could even say, it increased my self-confidence.
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