An intensive learning journey in Germany’s capital city (and Europe’s biggest startup hub)

Rashid Suarez Quddus came all the way from the Philippines to study a Master in Management (MIM) at ESMT Berlin. MASTERGRADSCHOOLS caught up with him for a deep dive on the MIM program, the unique career opportunities available to ESMT students, and the professional scene in Berlin for graduates.

In short

What is it like studying the Master in Management at ESMT Berlin?

Compared to his home country (Philippines), Rashid found the teaching style at ESMT Berlin to be more practical and analytical. “They always try to push you to go beyond the case, read between the lines of the cases, and apply your own insight and experiences to it,” he says. (08:22)

After an intensive start to the degree studying foundational courses, you start to specialize in smaller classes. The MIM specializations at ESMT include:

  • Quantitative Business
  • Innovative Management

ESMT also emphasizes the importance of gaining concrete work experience to help put theory learned in the classroom into practice. As they specialize, the workload lessens, offering more time to get real-world work experience alongside their studies.

“By the time that the second program year starts, many students find that it’s actually manageable to already balance their academic workload with a working student position at a company of their choice,” Rashid says. (14:14)

Like so many young people, Rashid values ethics within business. Fortunately for him, the Master in Management (newly rebranded as the Master in Global Management) at ESMT Berlin) integrates a Social Impact Project (SIP). The SIP is “a one to two-month project that every MIM student has to undergo in the final year of the postgraduate program where they become consultants for an NGO anywhere around the world and provide that valuable insight to these NGOs in the way they can transform their operations or their organizations.” (05:46)

What kind of students study the MIM program?

With a focus on creating a diverse, international student body, the entire MIM cohort is made up of 145 to 150 people from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. 

Out of the 145 students on the MIM course this year, there are 46 nationalities represented. However, those taking the Master in Management at ESMT all have one thing in common. As Rashid puts it, “Being surrounded by equally motivated people helped fuel this fire that every student had within themselves.” (06:45)

Another advantage of doing the MIM is the people you meet in the wider ESMT community. Rashid tells us, “The people that you meet within the network of ESMT are incredibly diverse, incredibly motivated, and they help you in that regard.” (07:06)

In terms of finding people from his home country, Rashid says, “The community for Filipinos is quite small, but it’s growing.” (15:22) He adds that the Southeast Asian representation is bigger, so there is a wider community to join. 

Studying in the Philippines vs. Germany

In the classroom, there is a marked difference in cultures. Rashid explains that in the Philippines, studying is very textbook-based, followed by a test on what you’ve learned. While this works for understanding theory, studying at ESMT Berlin offers more collaboration and critical thinking. 

“When you take a master’s degree abroad, it’s more than just what is presented to you on paper. You are really expected to work with the people that are in your cohort,” Rashid tells us. (11:44) This style of study gives you more far-reaching perspectives. It allows you to bounce ideas off each other and incorporate unique ways of thinking to your overall understanding. Rashid explains, “They really want you to immerse and talk with others, apply your own experiences and insights to a particular problem.” (12:26

But that’s not all. A key part of Rashid’s learning experience has been how students are encouraged to use what they have learned in other areas of their lives.

Therefore, despite the worries he had before moving to another continent to study, Rashid is very happy with having chosen the German capital to study in, “mostly because of the fact that Berlin is continental Europe’s biggest startup hub and fintech hub,” he says. (03:37

Career opportunities with ESMT

In a very short amount of time, Rashid has already gained valuable working experience. His first role was in a dental technology startup called PlusDental. “It’s one of Europe’s biggest MedTech firms in terms of the funding they receive.” (04:35)

ESMT offers unique networks and opportunities to its students. This is no surprise as it was “founded by some of the biggest companies in Germany, the likes of Allianz or Lufthansa.” (09:01)

Rashid himself is one of the success stories of these connections in his current role at Syncier. Syncier is “an Allianz and Microsoft startup where they digitize and innovate insurance processes for insurance providers in emerging markets.” (04:41)

Not only is Syncier backed by Allianz, but one of the managing directors is an alumnus of ESMT. With so many leaders in the city familiar with the way the school works and the quality of the students it produces, anybody studying a Master in Management at ESMT has a great advantage when it comes to finding future jobs at successful startups and multinationals. 

Berlin: A center for innovation in business

As a final word on the city, he says, “You’re in an area that has a lot going on in terms of the startup and fintech ecosystems. You’ve got to be where the action happens.” (10:14) At the heart of Europe, Berlin is home to multinationals across industries, like Deutsche Bank, Zalando, Siemens, Bayer, and Volkswagen. 

Rashid’s story shows that moving countries – or even continents – is often not as scary as it first seems. He quickly adapted to life in Berlin, using the contacts he gained through his studies and went on to begin his career in the vibrant German capital.

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