Anja Glatzle is a master’s degree graduate on the General MBA program at the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) at Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB). Anja spoke to TRANSFER magazine about the challenges involved in completing company projects and her experiences during her studies.
You completed your master’s degree project at DEKRA Consulting, where you were working as an assistant in Sales and Service. What exactly did your project involve?
DEKRA Consulting is a consultancy with a focus on technical, organizational and business administration aspects of consulting. The area I worked in provided consulting services relating to sales and after-sales for carmakers and vehicle importers. The aim of my job was to provide the company with an off-the-shelf guideline on setting up a department from scratch and making it competitive, so that it would be profitable and well-established within a couple of years. In more precise terms, this meant generating a turnover of four million euros with a profit margin of 31 per cent, bolstering competitiveness by establishing a customer base centering on long-term, trust-based relationships, and increasing the level of organization by mapping processes and documenting knowledge management. Last but not least, employee satisfaction and motivation had to be improved by establishing clear career progression options.
That’s no mean feat – especially if you’re studying and reading up on the theory at the same time. How did you approach the project – what strategies did you apply, what steps did you take?
I began by conducting a detailed analysis of the company and its processes. The results of this analysis formed the basis for managing the project – from the original project brief to final implementation. To decide how to implement the strategy, I used the Six Loop Concept®, focusing on a differentiation strategy. The seminars at SHB were extremely useful, whether they were about knowledge management, practical business administration or strategy and change management. They gave me a strong theoretical grounding which I could build on.
So after two years of study, what were the results of the project?
In October 2008, my department won its first big contract: a project focusing on used car management for a major German car company. This gave us a solid basis for the next three years, as we strove to achieve our strategic goal of becoming a key performer by 2010. To differentiate ourselves properly, improvements were made to certain areas – pricing policies, marketing, and personnel policies. Several areas were key to our success: improving brand awareness, pinpointing our USPs and using them in a targeted manner, highlighting the value-added for the client, recruiting new clients, and ultimately growing turnover.
Tell us something about your overall experience as a student at SHB.
Studying with Steinbeis gave me the opportunity to examine a wide range of projects and gain detailed insights into a huge variety of totally different companies and very different ways of doing things. This helped me become more efficient in my own work. I’m much more organized now when tackling problems, and I look at the bigger picture rather than simply focusing on whichever small section I’m currently working on. I also established some really good friendships during the course of my studies, which mean a lot to me. And I also did voluntary work on the MBA guest lectures, which gave me the chance to meet some very interesting people.