Kristina Herzog was awarded her degree in Business Administration by Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in 1995. Today, she is a self-employed management consultant as well as a managing partner in two Frankfurt-based companies – Agilius-Gesellschaft für Interim Management GmbH (since 2009) and Frankfurter Familien Treuhand GmbH (since 2013). In her spare time, she also teaches on Frankfurt School’s mentoring program.
You studied Bank Administration at Frankfurt School. How did you organise your course work?
To be honest, when I first started my part-time studies, I was somewhat naïve about the huge workload involved. There were so many exciting new things to discover – in my new home, Frankfurt, with my new friends at Frankfurt School, and in my new job. But as I started to prepare for my first intermediate exams, reality caught up with me!
I quickly realised that a well-organised, self-disciplined study group can be immensely helpful in providing the support you need to cope with the heavy double workload that results from combining your studies with a full-time job. Our teamwork forged some lifelong friendships! My employer was also very supportive. As well as exciting work assignments, I was also repeatedly given enough free time to prepare for my written exams.
To what extent did your studies at Frankfurt School prepare you for the challenges of your current job? What did you find especially useful?
The main things we learned during the course – apart from the specialist content, of course – were how to be self-reliant, self-disciplined and critically analytical. But we also found we often needed to be creative. These are all skills I need on a daily basis in my current work as a freelance management consultant who also happens to run two companies and employ other people.
Looking back, how important was your time as a student at Frankfurt School in the greater scheme of things?
The experience I gained during my time as a student provided a solid foundation for my ongoing professional development. Not only did the course equip me with the specialist knowledge I needed to be able to evaluate various issues relating to the financial services industry and put them in their proper context; the ups – and downs! – of studying also helped me to develop as a person.
What’s your favourite memory of your time at Frankfurt School?
Quite some time has passed since my student days, but I have fond memories of the many parties, especially after our graduation ceremony! But the lifelong friendships I forged during my studies are definitely the most important thing.
The absolute highpoint was, of course, the semester I spent studying abroad in the United States. I was a student at Emory University in Atlanta, and then I worked as an intern at DZ BANK in New York. The semester at Emory University in particular gave me a new perspective on the contents of my course at Frankfurt School. Whereas the Frankfurt School course focused on technical issues, the Emory University course emphasized management skills. This opportunity to familiarise myself with these different approaches at an early stage in my career has certainly helped me in my professional and personal development.
How important are alumni for a business school? What do you think alumni can do for their alma mater?
While I was working as an intern in New York, I was living in a student hostel called International House. The hostel’s motto was “May brotherhood prevail”. Despite the old-fashioned language, the sentiment is very contemporary! It really means that by sharing your experiences with a community of peers, you’ll find it much easier to fulfil your dreams, goals and ideals.
That’s why I’ve been involved with the alumni association of International House New York since 1994, as well as helping to mentor women students at Frankfurt School. In our mentoring discussions together, I hope I can give other women on business courses some useful guidance in how to achieve the hopes and objectives they’ve set themselves while studying at Frankfurt School, and especially as they embark on their professional careers. Of course it would be wonderful if more “old hands” became involved in supporting the student community at Frankfurt School in this way.
What’s your favourite motto?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”