Hong Xiang thought about doing an MBA for a long time – a very long time. She applied for an MBA place in the USA immediately after completing her bachelor degree in physics in Shanghai in 1997, but unfortunately this did not work out due to visa problems.
She later came to Germany where she gained a second degree, this time in Computer Science, in 2003. After graduating she started working in the area of web-application development and agile project management. As she gained more experience in project management, her interest in management grew.
However, first Hong started a family and put her MBA off for a while longer. The fees for an MBA were also outwith the financial means of the IT specialist, the main breadwinner in the family of five. Her career was going well. With increasing responsibility, the possibility of Hong finally being able to do an MBA to gain additional management tools also grew. Hong was now working in the area of business digitalisation and agile project management for a medium-sized e-solutions company in Lenzkirch. At this point, after living in Germany for almost 20 years, she started looking for the right program in the Freiburg area, where she lives with her family.
During her search for a part-time MBA program, she discovered Furtwangen University. In her words, “I was amazed and delighted to find an international„executive MBA program in the Black Forest.” It has up-to-date content, a systematic module structure, an international outlook and an interactive teaching and learning environment, all of which can be fitted around your job. Full-day lectures take place twice a month on Fridays and Saturdays. All program dates are confirmed before the program begins which makes planning easier. After a personal meeting with the program director, Hong was certain that this was the right course for her.
She was also thrilled with the idea of the women’s scholarship. “A scholarship especially for women is fantastic! As a woman in management, I know that it is not always easy for us. It is great that HFU offers this support for women,” says Hong. “It was a great relief not to have to put an additional strain of €6,000 on the family budget.”
She began the program in March 2017 and has no regrets. “I particularly enjoyed the interesting, open debates between participants and professors. A further highlight is the professional program management who are always available to help out if needed. If you are looking for added value with an Executive MBA Program, you should take a closer look at this one.”
A special highlight for her was the opportunity to lead the program during an international module at the prestigious Jiaotong University in Shanghai. Hong graduated in 2019 with outstanding grades and is already working on her next academic project, a PhD at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, made possible through a cooperation arrangement with the HFU Business School
The Executive MBA Program with its focus on “General Management” has been offered since 2003. As Furtwangen University considers executive training for women to be an important way to reduce the lack of business specialists and managers, since 2013 it has offered up to three women’s scholarships worth €6,000 each annually. “We aim to attract highly motivated female managers seeking to qualify themselves for executive positions with our two-year professional development programme,” explains Prof. Dr. Armin Trost, Dean of Studies for the Executive MBA. “Candidates should have an above-average first degree and be able to demonstrate initial success in their professional career.”
Program Director Regina Feketics is delighted with Hong‘s success. “We were hoping that this initiative would provide the right impulse. Because it has worked so well, we have decided to continue offering the women’s scholarships – up to three places in all.