Sophie Marie Stuhlmann

Your background:

Growing up in a small town in the heart of Germany, I was very curious to travel and study abroad to experience other cultures: different people, languages, habits, values and much more. During a High School exchange year in California, I gained the confidence to continue my journey. After a 6-month Work & Travel Programme in Australia following my graduation, I went to Maastricht to complete a Bachelor in International Business with an exchange semester in London and Paris. Why business? To understand how organisations operate, to practice critical thinking, to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, to gain a global perspective and most of all to obtain the tools to set me up for any future imaginable. Having been so inspired by my exchange semester in Paris, my mission was to find a Master that would be partly in France but at the same time gave me the opportunity to get a more global perspective. Luckily, after some research, I found exactly what I was looking for: the MSc in Management – European Triple Degree – Grande Ecole. As I was a bit hesitant whether I should first gain more work experience before obtaining a Master in Management, the ultimate argument that convinced me was the two internships throughout the programme with the support and network of 3 top-rated universities.

A quick recap about your experience in the MSc in Management – European Triple Degree – Grande Ecole programme?

I had a great kick-off at emlyon business school meeting our 100-member family throughout our introduction days. The first term is co-designed by professors from all three institutions consisting of one-week modules of a range of core management topics. After this first stage, I completed my internship at Allianz SE as Strategic Execution Intern in Munich, where I acted as project coordinator in designing the digital roadmap to organise the transformation of the Allianz Group. Out of the four options for the second year, I pursued the Strategy & Change track in Munich. What you can expect amongst other things for both study terms are lectures, problem-solving projects, teamwork, company workshops, career days and case competitions. Finally, I completed my second internship at Outbrain as Marketing & Sales Intern in Munich and London, where I developed and executed strategies that raised customer acquisition, built brand awareness via industry events or created pitch decks for our products. To my excitement, I was offered a job throughout the course of my internship. At that point in time, however, I wanted to branch out further. Thanks to the flexibility of my employer, I could continue working as a Freelancer remotely, while writing my Master Thesis in Paris.

 

The MSc in Management – European Triple Degree – Grande Ecole offers the perfect balance of both practice and theory: you’ll spend about half the time learning about different theories and models, as well as plenty of time going hands-on and putting that theory to practice. Internships give you the competitive edge when the time comes to graduate and to look for a job. It’s a character-building and out-of-the-box experience, and one that made me the person I’m at this stage. “A Five Star Diamond Programme” as Manfred Schwaiger, Dean of Studies, Munich School of Management often described it.

What’s your best memory of the programme so far?

While I had been accepted to another Master programme, my dream was to be accepted to the MSc in Management – European Triple Degree – Grande Ecole. While waiting impatiently for an acceptance letter, I still remember how I received a call with the news that I will be part of the programme. That is certainly one of the best memories. One highlight marks a course held in cooperation with the University of Tsukuba Tokyo, LMU Munich and several Japanese and German companies (Siemens, Accenture, Kirin Company, Mitsubishi Research & Consulting) with the participation of six MSc in Management – European Triple Degree – Grande Ecole students and six Tsukuba students. Working together in small teams on an industry-related CSR topic, the objective was to present solutions to case problems submitted by the different companies. The first session was held in Munich and the second one in Tokyo two months later. In a group, we learned how to deal with pro-bono cases, studied and practiced the etiquette and business rules in Japan and not to forget experienced an unforgettable karaoke night in Tokyo. Outside of university, it was always a pleasure to meet up with students for a picnic at the Rhone or Saone, a run through the English Garden or a trip outside of town.

Why did you choose the Strategy & Change specialisation at LMU?

As we know, the business landscape of the 21st century is characterised by rapid change and more than ever companies must innovate to just stay ahead of the competition. Hence, I was intrigued to discover that the Strategy & Change specialisation at LMU, Munich teaches the methodology and skills to understand the main drivers of change and how to manage the economic challenges within an international organisation. Besides, LMU is known as one of Germany’s elite universities fostering close cooperation with many international companies and featuring the largest alumni network in Germany. Munich itself is a crucial business city, home to the headquarters of several DAX30 companies, new ventures and start-ups. Combined, it was the best match with my interests and career goals in a lovely location. I experienced the courses as much more natural, tangible and relevant than courses I have ever been in before with excellent professors and business leaders such as Prof. Dr. Henzler, former McKinsey Germany CEO.

Sophie Marie Stuhlmann 2017

How will this experience impact the rest of your professional career?

You need experience to get experience. This seems to be the biggest issue for us young adults transitioning into the workforce. If you’re looking to gain experience, working as an intern is arguably the most beneficial plan of action. The MSc in Management – European Triple Degree – Grande Ecole gives you this opportunity, especially if you are lacking long-term work experiences. It is also comforting to know that after the first internship you go back to university for the second term with a different perspective and ultimately a new way of studying. The international focus gives you the chance to work anywhere in the world, the courses the freedom to follow the business career you aspire, and the network to form immediately connections with companies. Being part of the alumni network, let you come back for stimulating lectures held by business, political or science leaders. The experience overall has been a great foundation and stepping-stone for me.

Tell us about your current job position

Nearly 2 years ago, I joined Parfums Christian Dior and Acqua di Parma (both part of the LVMH group) as PR & Marketing Trainee in Zurich, Switzerland. Since then, I have moved through two roles in the company: Merchandising & Digital Coordinator. I have worked in three different languages (German, English and French) or if we add Swiss German maybe even 4 with people from more than 5 nationalities. I will always remember the hectic preparations for the Zurich Film Festival, the organisation of special influencer events and photo shootings or the challenging Merchandising project of integrating the new make-up line “Dior Backstage” in 32 Point of Sales in Switzerland. My Master Thesis “The Impact of Luxury Brands’ Digital Presence: An Analysis of the Path-To-Purchase” was a major attraction to my employer and one of the reasons I was invited to the first job interview. I believe that the industry provides great learning opportunities as excellence is non-negotiable and resources are always limited.

 

While working in different industries and positions, I have been supporting social entrepreneurial projects in my free-time and my vision is to take these experiences to focus myself fulltime on humanitarian and climate change projects to make a positive change. Hence, I will be going to Tanzania while being supported by an international non-profit organisation for a 3-month project next month to support a local organisation that runs a program in Secondary Schools and Universities. I will assist teaching a wide range of skills such as self-awareness and control, an entrepreneurial mindset and solutions to other problems that affect them. Upon my return, I will be working for an NGO in Geneva. I love the fact that I still get to apply my business knowledge and simultaneously apply my time, energy and skills in a project that helps others. My Master gives me the opportunity to change my path and direct my career as I choose. We each have our own fingerprints, and they make us unique. It is inspiring to see how each of our European Triple Degree family member has gone their one way and pursues their dreams.