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ESMT Berlin: Summer programmes to make a social impact and boost your career

When choosing an MBA, Greta Romero Céspedes had two goals: to lead better and to lead globally. Hailing from Peru with nine years in the tech industry, she’s collaborated with diverse teams and companies in Latin America. Seeking to advance her career and reap more skills and knowledge, she joined the European School of Management and Technology’s (ESMT Berlin) Full-Time MBA.

The programme stood out “for its unique features that allow students to customise their learning experience,” says Romero. “Despite time constraints, I reached out to ESMT while already accepted into another programme. An intuitive sense guided me to believe that ESMT was the optimal choice for my career.”

For students like Greta Romero, ESMT’s MBA appeal lies in how you can tailor it to your aspirations and needs through its specialisation tracks, electives, and summer options: Social Impact Project, Summer Internship, and German Bootcamp.

Entrepreneur for good

For her Social Impact Project, ESMT Full-time MBA student Siti Mastura Daud from Malaysia collaborated with a pioneering climate-tech venture builder in Indonesia. Ecoxyztem was founded in 2021 with a mission to create US$100 million in sustainable business in the Southeast Asian region in the next 10 years to accelerate climate change solutions.

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Siti Daud giving her final presentation at ESMT. Source: Siti Daud

“This project required us to apply our classroom learnings to solve real-life challenges in an organisation while leveraging on each other’s strengths and pre-MBA experience,” Daud says. “We were tasked to solve challenging problems in scaling up Ecoxyztem business and impact, which include designing and validating business and operational models and developing an effective startup evaluation framework for sustainable venture builder operations. This was a great example of profitability meets sustainability!”.

The Social Impact Project takes place in module three during summer. Like Daud, this is when you get to apply entrepreneurial ideas to overcome a corporate and social innovation challenge. For five weeks, you act as a consultant for organisations pursuing social impact goals. This includes non-profits, CSR departments, social ventures, and for-profit social impact projects. This way, you can apply management theory to a real problem, including fieldwork, research, or project management, and if possible, during the project timeline, help to implement the solutions.

Students like Daud find the project illuminating – which can help explain why the school is ranked #2 in Poets&Quants’s list of the World’s Best MBA Programmes for Entrepreneurship in 2024. “Coming from the big corporate world, this project gave me a unique opportunity to experience the hustle and bustle of start-up life,” she says. “It was challenging but also expanded my horizons, showing me that the sky is the limit!”

The Social Impact Project is conducted in collaboration with the FUTURE Institute for Sustainable Transformation, which creates and shares knowledge to transform organizations, industries, and value chains towards sustainability. “Social objectives of the project should always rest on the intersection of the three pillars: social, environmental, and economic, also known as a triple bottom line,” says Rebecca Loades, director of MBA programmes at ESMT. “The list of United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals provides more concrete examples of the type of issues, on which the project should focus.”

Past projects included COVID-DATA in Berlin, where a publicity strategy was created for various COVID-19 vaccines in the market; Freundeskreis Nepal e.V. in Nepal, focused on developing a fundraising strategy for an education and inclusion NGO addressing disability discrimination; and SINA in Uganda, dedicated to plastic upcycling in a refugee camp.

Daud gained coaching and guidance from the FUTURE Institute and leveraged its extensive network. “Combining my industry experience with new perspectives and insights gained from my colourful MBA journey, I am looking forward to playing a more active role in driving energy transition solutions, either in corporate strategy or investment capacity,” she says.

An employability-enhancing summer

Another option available to ESMT Full-time MBA students is the Summer Internship, a six to 12-week opportunity to apply their skills, explore new industries, and gain practical experience in Berlin or abroad. It provides crucial insights into specific industries or job roles for those seeking career changes or skill enhancement.

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Greta Romero (centre) spent her summer internship in India as part of the Infosys’ Instep programme. Source: Greta Romero

Greta Romero participated in Infosys’s Instep programme in Bangalore, India, where she was part of the global hyperscalers marketing team. “I was in charge of creating the go-to-market strategy for the partnership of Infosys Cobalt with Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud for the US market,” she says. “My internship was a brief yet highly impactful experience that significantly contributed to my career development. Being part of this experience in India involved over 100 students, including MBAs and recent graduates from both America and Europe and allowed me to collaborate on solving complex business challenges. This not only enriched my perspective on a global scale but also allowed me to forge lasting friendships.”

Diego Camones Mur, a Full-time MBA student who plans to become a Product Manager of a renowned company in Germany, found the German Bootcamp just as productive and impactful. Spanning six intensive weeks, classes will take your German to the next level, ready to impress local employers.

“Most of the leading German companies in Berlin require that I speak German,” Camones says. “The bootcamp experience was very good. We finished the assigned book, and I loved that the class dynamics involved continuous participation, motivating us to construct our sentences in German.”

These experiences are all part of the MBA’s new focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. “In winter, they can further customise their programme by studying elective courses specifically focused on sustainability,” says Loades. “And upon graduation, students can choose to undertake a three-to-six-month Responsible Leaders Fellowship whereby they receive financial support from ESMT’s Circle of Friends so that they can offer pro-bono services to organisations or institutions in developing countries that create value and social change for their communities.”

Click here to learn more about ESMT ’s summer options.

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