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Why MBA: Nottingham University Business School

Corporate Social Responsibility and no GMAT requirement tempt German lawyer back for eighth year in school

By  Ania Zymelka

Wed Oct 7 2009

Tanja Patt had already spent seven long years studying when she decided that an MBA was the right career move for her. After two years working as a lawyer in Venezuela, the 30-year-old from Cologne, Germany, had had enough of sorting out other people’s mistakes. Instead, she wanted to learn how to make decisions and run a business, and decided she could do that at Nottingham University Business School.

“As a lawyer I spent my days tidying up when business people made the wrong decisions. I felt there wasn’t enough scope for creativity,” says Patt, who received her first degree in law from Cologne, and a Masters in European competition law from King’s College, London. After an MBA fair in Caracas she was hooked, and started applying straight away.
Living and working in Venezuela, Patt couldn’t afford to visit European or US campuses, so all of her b-school research was done online. Short-listing courses wasn’t as hard as she expected: “I didn’t want to spend the money on a GMAT test, and I also didn’t really have the time to prepare for it,” she explains. Without a GMAT, most business schools were already off her list.
In the end, Patt applied to Aston, Berlin, Birmingham and Nottingham, the latter two being her favorites. She received an offer from all four, but when Nottingham gave her a scholarship that Birmingham couldn’t match, her decision was obvious.
“There were other reasons that spoke for Nottingham though,” she adds. The business school pioneered the MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility in the UK, for instance. Its emphasis on social entrepreneurship was key to Patt’s decision. “I wanted to learn about responsible decision-making in business”.
She also liked the look of the campus, which has won several awards for its intriguing architecture. And although Patt only saw the business school after she had accepted the offer, she certainly hasn’t regretted her decision: “The professors are approachable, and above all I have made friends for life during my degree,” she says.
Patt is currently hunting for jobs, either as a company lawyer or in consulting. Immediately after finishing her degree, however, she wants to achieve one of her biggest personal goals: running the Berlin Marathon in September.
“I needed a break after finishing my final dissertation,” says Patt. “The year was great fun, but also very intense. And after eight years of higher education, the MBA has definitely been my last degree.”
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