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WHU Alumna Sara Pepic
03/17/2023

From Dream to Reality: MBA Alumna Sara on Taking Risks for Career Success

Achieve your professional goals with the WHU Full-Time MBA

Sara Pepic graduated from the Full-Time MBA program in 2019, working with software giant Microsoft in 2020 and moving to Google in 2022. Aside from an impressive CV, she is affable, intelligent, and open-minded, who undoubtedly has a passion for people and her work. We caught up with her to find out more about her MBA journey and what she learned along the way.

Why did you choose WHU for your MBA studies?

When researching the top business schools, I saw WHU had a great position in the Financial Times ranking and was top in Germany. I was interested to know where the WHU alums were working, so I looked on LinkedIn to learn more. This attracted me to WHU as I saw many graduates working worldwide, and they were still connected to each other. Dusseldorf is also one of my favorite cities in Germany, so when I found out the WHU campus was located there, I decided it was the perfect fit for me.

“Investing into your skills and knowledge always pays back.”

I considered studying part-time at first, but as the full-time program is so international, I wanted to meet those people, learn about other cultures, and fully experience the MBA. I liked that it is in English so I could sharpen my English skills too. Of course, choosing to study full-time was a challenging decision, even though I knew I would have better career options afterward. There was still uncertainty and risk. However, I knew it would be worth it: investing in your skills and knowledge always pays back.

What motivated you to study for an MBA?

By 2018 I had lived in Germany for a few years, and it was my first real experience working there. I was a marketing manager for a software company. I wanted to study again as I only had my bachelor’s degree from my home country, Bosnia. I was ready to broaden my perspective and establish myself as an expert when talking to an organization and c-level executives. I wanted to understand different businesses and industries, as well as expand my network in Germany. It was also to prepare myself for management responsibility in the future, as I enjoy working with people and leading diverse teams. I saw an MBA at WHU could offer me all of that.

At the time, my career goal was to work with leading technology companies like Microsoft and Google. I applied to Google and Salesforce then, and my CV didn’t even make it through their screening process. I knew completing an MBA could help me reach this goal.

How did the MBA Career Center support your professional development?

What was most beneficial from the whole MBA experience were the company visits to the campus. During my time in the Full-Time MBA, we had one almost every week. For example, you can sit and talk to someone from corporations such as Henkel. It helped us network, familiarize ourselves with different organizations, and even determine where we might like to work in the future. Without this practical element, I would never have the chance to talk to people from these companies and find out why they work there. I went to every single event because I wanted to make the most of it, and it was always highly valuable.

Were there any surprises along the way?

I learned during the program how to actively listen. The whole program is designed with us students working in small study groups, and these groups are often changing. Through working with different people from diverse backgrounds and experiences, I sharpened my ability to listen to others and respect different opinions.

Have any aspects of your experience stayed with you after graduation?

I have many close friends from WHU; my two best friends studied with me. I knew I would make friends, but finding friends for life was something I didn’t expect.
Now, everyone lives in different cities. But it’s nice to know you have a friend or colleague you can meet wherever you go.

As a graduate, I now completely understand how an organization functions. I am confident when talking to any business, department, c-level, or executive. Engaging with and talking to them feels easier because we experienced so much during the MBA. I am equipped for any situation.

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