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MBA In Germany: Female Engineer Launches Management Career In Europe After MBA

Peruvian industrial engineer, Karen Bellido Ayala, landed a process management job at online fashion retailer Zalando after her MBA at Germany’s HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management


Fri Jul 1 2022

Moving across the world and finding a job in your dream country is no easy feat, but an MBA can provide you with a launchpad for an international career along with an advanced management degree.  

Industrial engineer, Karen Bellido Ayala, originally from Peru, was intent on finding an MBA in a country where she could advance her career.

She chose Germany because of its location in Europe, the strong economy, and the prestigious education she would receive at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

Having graduated from HHL, Karen now works as a process manager at Zalando SE, a German online fashion retailer, based in Berlin. 

Why an MBA?

For six years before her MBA, Karen worked as an engineer and was involved in logistics, operations, and project management. She worked in different roles related to warehouse operations and supply chain, within retail, fashion, cosmetics, and pharma.

Karen decided to pursue an MBA to elevate her management knowledge and expand her global reach. 

“I wanted to complement my experience, but I also wanted to refresh my knowledge of key management concepts and applications from a more global perspective,” she explains.

Having traveled across Europe previously, Karen was intent on finding a way to work on the continent. 

“I love the culture, the cities, the landscapes, and the mix between modernity and history. I wanted to challenge myself, step out of my comfort zone, and have this international experience.”

Why HHL Leipzig & an MBA in Germany?

Karen was introduced to HHL when she went to The MBA Tour in Lima and met an HHL student recruitment manager.

“I found out that the variety of courses offered in both the compulsory and the elective modules provided different perspectives to develop a solid understanding of the key management concepts I was interested in,” she says.

HHL offers an option of two tracks for MBA students: the fast track that consists of 90 credits over 15 months and the advanced track which has 120 credits over up to 21 months depending on a students' course choices. 

Karen chose the advanced track which gave her access to the customization modules along with the general management essentials and electives. 

Pursuing an MBA in Germany was a major draw. “Germany, being one of the strongest economies in Europe and the world, seemed like the right choice of a place where I could pursue my career aspirations after completing my MBA,” Karen explains.

Germany has internationally-friendly visa policies and is one of the easier countries to obtain a work visa, especially when a company supports you through the process. As a non-EU citizen, after finishing your MBA, you can apply for an 18-month extended residency permit to stay and work in the country. 

If you have a job after graduation, you can apply for a work visa, valid for as long as you hold that position. The EU Blue Card allows a student who has secured a job that fulfills specific criteria, like a minimum of €56k ($58k) per annum, to stay in Germany long-term.


HHL Leipzig MBA experience

Karen’s credentials and GMAT score set her up for a successful application to HHL. She joined a WhatsApp group filled with applicants who had applied to the program early and started learning more about the HHL MBA.

“I started feeling like I was part of the program and that these were my classmates. We all had similar questions, concerns, and expectations,” she says.

Karen arrived in Leipzig a month before her MBA start date to take intensive German classes and become acquainted with the city.

“I walked around most of the city with my classmates. It has a mix of modern and historical places and beautiful landscapes, and I could have a good quality of life there with moderate living costs.”

HHL estimates monthly living costs for MBA students in Germany to be €700 ($735), including housing, meals, textbooks, entertainment. 

90% of HHL Leipzig MBA students are international, and the school boasts a network of more than 3,300 alumni across 70 countries. The current MBA class is made up of 65% women. 

“My highlight was the time I spent with my classmates. I was glad to have the opportunity to learn from their career paths, their various cultural backgrounds, and their different skills and personalities,” Karen says.

Landing a top MBA job in Germany

Karen says HHL’s career service gave her critical support in the job application process, helping with her cover letter, resume, interview prep, and providing insights into the German MBA jobs market. 

“I signed up for different initiatives, including several individual consultations, where they could help me identify and highlight my strengths, competencies, experience, and qualifications,” she says.

“I came across a wide range of companies of all sizes eager to hire motivated, qualified, and skilled logistics and project management professionals.”

Zalando caught her attention as one of the leading European fashion and online lifestyle platforms. 

At Zalando, she often uses what she learned at HHL when setting up new processes for team training, monitoring performance, and working on the continuous improvement of operational and partner-facing processes. 

The practical elements of the HHL MBA, she says, has given her a skillset that she uses in her job every day.

“In case studies, we practiced a lot of cross-cultural communication to build a problem-solving mindset, perseverance, and leadership skills,” she says.

“Your MBA studies are what you make of them. It’s about how you take the opportunities and use the tools the business school gives you.” 

Student Reviews

HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management




Part time MSc Management

I decided on attending this program since it is 100% in English, the option for a Semester abroad, and it has a nicely designed curriculum. I enjoyed very much the studies at the Leipzig location (I do not live in Leipzig and was staying in Airbnb flats with other students during the course weekends). There was great enthusiasm within the students' group, the courses were challenging and we had experienced/diverse professors which added to the overall experience. HHL is focused on teamwork and is big on its network and career development which is a definite value add for students. I can recommend HHL to other students who want to sharpen their skill set to be prepared for leadership positions.




Impressive Journey

I’m doing my Master Part-time at HHL and love the Journey. The teaching is between good and outstanding. The service around the lectures is amazing. Never had to wait longer than a day for a response. The Network I was able to build and the lecture about entrepreneurship are the major takeaways which strongly influenced my future. I can strongly recommend the Master in Part-time at the HHL for a course with impact. But be prepared they will broaden your horizon and you will have to grow with it.





Horrible Experience

I am also a recent student at HHL. I would agree with your post wholeheartedly. HHL is brilliant at marketing, however, it's more like a Ponzi scheme. A lot of Indians happen to fall into this trap, including me. I joined HHL while letting ESMT go primarily because I thought Leipzig is a cheaper city to live in and the course is cheaper. Always remember if a deal looks too good it is probably a scam. The studies are extremely below average, the college has an abysmal career centre and the campus is a joke. Now let me give you some deeper insights : 1. Given that the college is located in EAST Germany- you need to understand that RACISM is a truth. The college runs MBA and MSc. (Management). MBA is a mere point of luring students as unaware students come to HHL with dreams and hopes of doing an MBA and getting placed. To break it to you softly: MSc is the FLAGSHIP program for HHL- this means 99% of the class is German, and they got offers from the likes of Mckinsey, Bain and Deutsche come to the Germans. Even the foreigners doing MSc. do not get a whiff of the opportunity- please understand- Germany is a "German" speaking country and not internationalised enough to include "English" as the business language. Nonetheless, HHL is such a weak school that it cannot do **** about anything- their placement cell always keeps on crying but they are of absolutely ZERO help. You will not get any scholarships like the Germans do here thanks to the Dean who promotes this divide between Germans and others by giving scholarships thatd more or less cover the entire tuition fees of the German students. 2. The Academic Director for MBA is definitely someone people look at and think that good there's an Indian there- he has absolutely zero value in HHL and in the research world anyways. He is only out there to lure you in to get a fatter commission-the more Indians he gets in the higher his commission and his job is SAFE. 3. The faculty is so horribly poor in their own research work and competence that you'd feel why did I come here. The only reason why some people come here: VISA and citizenship in a few years. You may also procure a job but with the HHL tag being so weak the salaries are way below AVERAGE. Free advice: So either way if you're planning to come to Germany either perfect your German or choose a different country because colleges like HHL get students from all over the world- after which they do not really give a damn whether you get placed or not- it's ALL BUSINESS TO HHL. I cannot speak about many other colleges, but, due to the sheer presence of colleges like Frankfurt business school, WHU and ESMT in bigger cities such as Frankfurt, Berlin and Dusseldorf provide better chances to network during the duration of the course. Do NOT come to HHL and waste your money. Your entire education and stay would cost 50 lacs, instead invest in BITCOIN or STOCKS. OR just do your Masters in Management from a public University in Germany which is way cheaper, has higher chances of scholarship and better placement opportunities. Hope this helps Thanks.