Here’s a talk with Stanford Graduate School of Business student, Tim Eisenmann – a world traveler with a unique work history, set out to impact his surroundings and change the world! Read our interview below to hear about Tim’s experiences at Stanford, and then check out his blog, From PA to the World, for more info. Thank you Tim for sharing your story with us!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What was your most recent job before you started b-school?
Tim: I was born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany. Starting with my high school exchange to the US when I was 15 I have always put a lot of emphasis on changing the environment around me which has led to me living in Germany, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Poland and Rwanda.
Connecting people and facilitating transportation has always fascinated me, which was one of the reasons why I joined Lufthansa, the biggest European airline group, right after undergrad.
Most recently I was working on post merger integration issues and long-term sales strategy.
Accepted: On your blog you say that you’re searching for new inspirations for what to do in the future. Does that mean that you’re stepping away from aviation? Do you plan on entering a new industry? What do you plan on doing post MBA?
Tim: Honestly, I don’t fully know what I want to do. That’s one of the reasons I am at Stanford. Being with bright, motivated students from all over the world gives you exposure to a lot of different industries and functions. There are a few characteristics that my job after b-school needs to have though: international travel, a high performance team and the potential for large scale impact.
Stanford is doing a great job of providing opportunities in a lot of fields: be it through introductions to social entrepreneurs in Africa, meeting McKinsey partners for lunch or connecting you to VCs that might be interested in your start-up idea. I really feel that the world is you oyster in Palo Alto.
Accepted: Which other business schools had you considered? Why did you choose a U.S. program over one closer to home?
Tim: Education is free in Germany, so most of my friends questioned my decision to spend tons of money on an MBA from a US school. I still feel I am making the right choice though. With an MBA one buys a network, a brand name and generalist business skills. For me it was always clear that especially for the first two factors one has to get an MBA from a top school in the US, which is why I applied to HBS and the GSB.
Accepted: Why did you choose Stanford GSB? How would you say you’re a good fit for that program?
Tim: There really isn’t a “good fit” at Stanford. I feel that I am like no one else in my class, but still there is the desire to change the world we live in and to have a lasting impact that resonates with most of us in some way.
Once I had offers from HBS and the GSB I realized that most doors in my future would be opened and it boiled down to where I felt I could become a better manager and grow as a person.
Given the small class size, the collaborative atmosphere and the strong emphasis on leadership, I figured that the GSB was the right place for me. And the constant sunshine doesn’t hurt either. 🙂
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?
Tim: I am taking a course called “Design for Sustainable Abundance” at the design school this quarter. The design school focuses on human centered approaches to problem solving through design thinking. All classes in the d.school have MBAs, engineers, med school students and scientists work together on real life problems. In our case it is redesigning parts the food system to be more sustainable. We get 24/7 access to a playground for adults including a craft room, movable walls for sticky note brainstorming sessions and a microwave for late night ramen noodles.
Accepted: Can you talk about your internship in Kigali? And do you have an internship lined up for this coming summer yet?
Tim: After quitting my job at Lufthansa I felt like something totally different before b-school. Stanford connected me to a social entrepreneur (also a GSB grad) in Rwanda who tries to fight malnutrition by developing mushroom cultivation through an outgrower model in northern Rwanda. I got to work on the export to Uganda and Burundi, as well as on forming a Joint Venture with a Spanish partner to set up a lab for mushroom tissue replication. Yes, fairly random, but immensely exciting and a great learning experience to work with a small team in a challenging environment. If you want to learn more: Kigali Farms is always looking for motivated interns!
Regarding next summer, recruiting is already at full speed on campus. I am currently thinking about splitting my summer between two internships. One more traditional one doing management consulting in London or New York and the other one exploring more opportunities in the food processing sector in East Africa. Maybe not mushrooms, but mangos this time…
Accepted: Looks like you’re passionate about travel – how do you plan on fitting that into your future plan?
Tim: Over the course of the last years I have managed to each year spend at least 100h on a plane. I really enjoy having time for myself during the flight, then exploring new cultures and meeting new and old friends. Optimally, in the future I have a job that requires me to travel, but gives me the free time to actually explore the place that I am in. But with family in Germany, an interest in East Africa and a network of friends all around the world I am sure that I won’t ever experience a lack of travel opportunities.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? How have you benefited from the blogging experience?
Tim: Since I don’t really have the time any more to write individual emails to family and friends I thought a blog would be right medium to keep everyone up to date. After a while I realized that I don’t have 1000+ friends, so there have to be some others that read my blog. It is great to know that my experiences can maybe help applicants or admits to make the right decision for themselves. I can only encourage everyone to check out my blog and leave a comment in case of questions. I’ll promise to answer them, because if they teach us one thing at the GSB it is that people development is the key to success and I’d be happy to see a lot of you at Stanford in the next couple of years.
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