Samantha Roberts (USA) – ESMT Berlin
Samantha Roberts knew that the opportunity to make real connections with others would be a key factor influencing her MBA decision. Little did she know when relocating from Los Angeles to Berlin for the ESMT Berlin MBA how true this would be. she explained to us how the people she met have become her lifelong friends and changed her life.
Why did you decide to enroll in an MBA at this time in your life?
I had a few personal things happen that made me ponder what my next step in life would be. I kind of lost passion for Finance, the field I was working in at the time. I still liked my job but I had lost the passion I used to have which made me realize that I needed a change. I also really wanted to move abroad. I wanted to start this new life abroad and I thought studying at a university in Europe would increase my chances of being employed in Europe and help me in starting the next chapter of my life.
Why ESMT Berlin?
I started thinking about the things that were really important to me. I wanted a smaller class size for the valuable personal interactions with your professors, really getting to know people and getting to know your classmates instead of just being one of three hundred or four hundred other people. So, I started my search by looking at programs that were smaller. ESMT Berlin checked that requirement which I really liked. I was also interested to move into the technology industry and was really interested in working in a tech startup which brought me to Berlin – there are lots of opportunities here. ESMT Berlin works with a lot of the tech startups in Berlin and gives students the opportunity to gain access to them. They set up a lot of company visits where you can meet and network with the startups and experience what they do day-to-day. That has been really helpful. We also get the opportunity to pitch a project to a venture capitalist which is really exciting.
How did you experience the emphasis on technology at ESMT Berlin?
The “T” in ESMT for technology is not something to be scared about – it is not an overly technology program where you need to be well versed in the field. Technology is woven in the huge technology scene and sector in Berlin. Most of us may go and work in a tech company. There are some specializations where you might get a little more hands-on with some programming but it is at your own pace and more at beginner’s level. Not being well versed in technology is certainly not a problem.
Do you need to speak German to live and work in Germany?
I think speaking German while living here is definitely a concern for many people and there are varying opinions on whether it is necessary to know German or not. For me, from the research I’ve done and looking at job postings and seeing what is out there, there are a lot of jobs that you need to know the language for. However, it depends on what you want to do after graduation. I want to work in a tech startup which are generally English-speaking companies as opposed to very local consulting companies, for example. You need to think about your goals and the types of companies you want to work for and take the language requirements thereof into consideration. In terms of living in Berlin, it is definitely manageable to only know English. I can speak from experience as I have very little German proficiency.
Tell us about your MBA class.
Our class profile is amazing. This is honestly my favorite part of the program. We are very diverse and I probably learnt the most from my classmates. We have diversity not only in terms of nationality but also age, work experience, personal lives etc. We are constantly working in different groups and always mixing groups so you always get to work with someone new. It has been incredible to learn from them.