We chat to Master in Management student Nina Freyer before she begins her internship with Daimler AG this summer, to find out how she found her way to WHU and her experience of the admissions process.
Tell us a little about your background and your interest in business.
I completed my Bachelor degree at CBS in Cologne as I decided to stay close to my home town of Zülpich. I studied international business with a specialization in management consulting: I was always quite interested in business, as I wanted to study a subject that was flexible with lots of opportunities into different career paths. After I completed my Abitur I didn’t know exactly which career I wanted to do. I wanted to have the option to experience different fields such as marketing or finance, and then choose the direction I should take depending on how my strengths and weaknesses developed.
How did you discover WHU and the Master in Management Program?
After my Bachelor degree, I decided to take a gap year, as I was keen to gain some practical experience before progressing any further with education. I really wanted to get a clearer idea of how I would fit in at a corporation that was customer facing. At previous internships, I mostly worked in the tax departments so I had little interaction with customers. I missed that people aspect from a company.
During my internships, I noticed that I was missing a lot of basic theory and as I already knew a lot about the positive reputation of WHU, it was my first choice. I began by researching a lot more in-depth as to what I wanted from a business school. For example if I could pursue a PHD later, or whether I could do a semester abroad again, and the courses on offer. For me I wanted to not only study topics interesting to me, but to also challenge myself and learn new topics that were perhaps outside of my comfort zone.
Did you visit the campus or talk to current students before you applied?
My first point of contact was actually at an After-Work Information Session in Cologne where I met representatives from admissions and alumni from WHU. Having the opportunity to speak to alumni was incredibly helpful as I gained valuable first-hand insights. It was appealing to me to have that kind of contact initially and they offer events throughout the year in different cities around Germany.
What helped resolve your decision to apply to WHU?
I really enjoyed a tour from a WHU Master student while I was at the campus. I was impressed with how he presented the university, the reasons why he liked WHU, and he offered some helpful advice too. He had studied his Bachelor’s at WHU, so there was clearly a good reason as to why he decided to stay at the university to study his Master’s. I found that I gained a better impression from him on the realities of student life, and what aspects he enjoyed most about studying at WHU.
During the application process and even after the admission day when I was waiting for a response, the admissions team were all incredibly kind and helpful, and were always so supportive. I really appreciated that they personally took the time to help me when I needed it.
What was the biggest challenge for you during the admissions process?
The GMAT was one of the most difficult elements for me. I realized quickly that I would need to devote time, focus, and effort to apply to a school I really wanted to study at, so I began revising for the GMAT in advance and did my best to take an organized approach.
I would also say the presentation element during the admission test on-campus was quite difficult. The admissions day itself is quite challenging as it can be somewhat intense, and then having to give a presentation was just extra pressure for me. However, the interview process was enjoyable as I had experience with job interviews from my internships. I can talk about my strengths and weaknesses quite easily and I have some standard situations in mind when describing examples of leadership or challenging situations. My interviewer also had a calm attitude and helped me to relax. Overall, it was a positive atmosphere and really it was just my own thoughts and nerves beforehand that made it feel stressful.
What would be your advice to prospective students who are completing their applications?
It is very important to talk to people from the university as much as you can. Of course, you can make a very rational decision based on ‘hard facts’ such as the courses or partner universities a business school offers. However, for myself I needed to see if there was the right atmosphere, the right people, and if I could imagine myself at WHU for a long time.
During the admission test days, I would suggest choosing a topic for the presentation that you feel confident about or that you have prior knowledge about. For example a student initiative or a project that you have worked on – just so that you feel confident about the content. I also feel it is important to be yourself - that was my best strategy throughout.