Katherine Greenup is a Master of International Business (MIB) Alumna Class of 2014. She is originally from Detroit in Michigan, USA, but “always had a special connection with Germany.” She grew up with German exchange students, as well as au pairs in her family. When she started thinking about studying abroad, however, most friends and family members thought she was “crazy”. With her Bachelor’s degree, she had moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to work in the product development department of a supermarket chain. She had four years of work experience and a safe job. Many people couldn’t understand why she’d give up this comfortable situation to start anew as a Master student in Germany. Still, her plans worked out well. Today, she works in a German chemical company, focusing on the US market.
When and why did you decide to do the MIB at Frankfurt School?
I reviewed other schools in the beginning of 2012 and soon afterwards completed an application for FS. A German friend of mine gave me a list with German Business Schools. It included Frankfurt School. I also checked the Financial Times Ranking and saw that Frankfurt School was one of the top German schools. I liked the interdisciplinary approach and the professors with whom I would be working. Additionally, I felt that the benefits of having smaller classes, better access to services and professors, and a smaller programme would be advantageous for me as a student, especially as an international student.
What is your profession and where do you currently work and in which position?
I am currently working in the chemical industry and my department focuses on food ingredients. My colleagues mostly have a technical background, but I also have co-workers that come from marketing or other fields. I am learning as much as I can about their fields, but also add my "value" as a marketing and business minded individual by sharing my insight. It is great to bring those two mindsets together and see what can happen.
How does the MIB influence your work experience? Which parts of the programme are particularly useful for you?
The MIB programme really gave me the skills and confidence to successfully analyse ambiguous business situations. This is proving useful with the projects I manage. Furthermore, the “soft skills” that we learned - especially working in an international team - has been invaluable.
What is your best memory of your time at Frankfurt School?
The people I met. I have the best memories as a result of the friends that I made and the experiences that we had. Our group was extremely international. In the MIB, you get to know a lot of people really intimately. We had people from everywhere in the group. I always tell my parents: We walked into a restaurant and it seemed like we were part of the United Nations. You look around the table and it’s not like there are particular groups or persons split off, everyone mingles.
From today’s perspective, which meaning does your time as a student at Frankfurt School have for you?
For me, I see my time as a Master student as the time I had to “set the stage” for the rest of my career. In my case, I knew I wanted a new experience in a foreign country as well as a change of career. The MIB with its open and flexible programme prepared me to explore a new industry – pharmaceuticals – and a more strategy oriented position than the one I had before.
I truly enjoy my new position and I would advise current MIB students not to limit themselves to major corporations and consulting firms – there are great employers out there with whom you may not be immediately familiar.
In your opinion, how important are alumni for a business school? What do you think alumni can do for their alma mater?
Alumni show both prospective students and employers the “result” of a business school education. Therefore, being a positive example is mutually beneficial for the alumni and the school.