MBE Graduate 2014-2015
"It transformed me, as a professional and as a person."
Before coming to WMG in 2014, Carina Latz worked in HR and recruitment for a global company based in Germany. At the same time, she studied part-time for a degree in International Management, graduating in 2013.
“I wanted to develop my career and I knew that an MSc from an international university would be well received in Germany,” she said. “As well as that, I had never been out of Germany for more than four weeks or studied full-time before, so this was an opportunity to experience something completely new.”
Coming from a HR background though, why did Carina choose to study Management for Business Excellence at WMG? “I had gained exposure to engineering through my recruitment work and was drawn to the area. I liked the idea of studying in an engineering-focused university – and of course, WMG’s reputation speaks for itself.”
Arriving at Warwick in 2014, Carina found the large campus a little overwhelming at first, as she explained: “It’s huge, but very modern and impressive. The people there were very friendly and welcoming though. They were always willing to help out and I soon found my way around.”
So what were her first impressions when she began her studies? “Well, when the course leader explained to us what was involved, I looked at everyone’s faces and I could tell we were all thinking the same thing: ‘This is going to be hard work and really tough’! We were right: it was hugely challenging but I have to say that it was a lot of fun too.
“What I loved was the strong focus on collaborative learning all the way through the programme. We had a very wide mix of people, 23 students from 16 countries, all with different backgrounds and experiences, so we were all able to learn a lot from each other. For me, that in itself was a marvellous experience that taught me as much about life as it did about business management.”
Solving problems together
Carina also described the self-directed nature of the learning which is a feature of WMG’s academic approach. “We weren’t given answers, but instead given the tools to go out and find those solutions ourselves. We all worked together to solve problems – that was difficult at first but we soon got better at it as we developed our teamworking skills.”
Coming to the course from a non-engineering background, Carina found that she had to read and learn more than many of her fellow students. For example, Six Sigma was a totally new subject for her. “There was a lot of knowledge in the team though”, she mentioned. “And everyone was willing to help me and direct me where to get the information I needed.
“It was during the Six Sigma module that we worked in teams to simulate a real business situation. In this case it was to build a plane. These simulations were a great feature of the course and a brilliant way to learn. We didn’t always get it right at first but that’s part of the experience. You fall down, get back up and try again. After a while, you don’t just find the solution, but learn a lot from the process of getting there. That’s so much more powerful than sitting in a lecture room and being talked at.”
After finishing her course, Carina soon gained a job in London as a Project Manager for a start-up business that was launching a new e-learning programme in Singapore. Once her six-month contract was completed, she looked for a permanent role where she could combine the knowledge she had gained at WMG with her previous experience in HR.
“Four months ago I was offered a job with a leader in cloud-based distance learning solutions in Cologne, Germany. It was a great opportunity to join a pioneering business that’s transforming learning within some of the world’s biggest companies. Mine is very much a consulting role, working closely with engineering and pharma companies to develop learning solutions that can empower their workforces and drive their business growth.
“The knowledge I gained on my MSc course is really helping me here. I feel that I understand businesses and the challenges they face. I can speak to senior people with confidence, and I can quickly gain their respect. The course has transformed me, both as a business professional and as a person.”
Finally, we asked Carina if there was anything else about her time at WMG that she would like to highlight. "Yes definitely – the career support I received was amazing,” she said. “Big universities can tend to be a little bureaucratic and slow, but that wasn’t the case at Warwick. Whether it was discussing the best way to present my CV or the best career options available to me, they were always willing to help and offer expert advice. That made a real difference for me.”