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As it happens, Ute Haase already had plenty of management experience – as Commercial Director of a cardiac clinic in Leipzig, as Managing Director of a geriatric clinic, as Managing Director of a high-end neurology clinic. And that’s not all: some 20 years ago, the medical practitioner launched a startup together with her then-husband. “The catalyst was the deregulation of the energy sector, where we saw major opportunities. I took on the business management of our startup in parallel with my family duties and my work at the hospital,” explains the 49-year-old, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

“I was absolutely fascinated by our role as market disruptor, effectively creating and developing a whole new business segment,”

she explains, in language any senior executive would recognise.

Not once has a colleague ever shed doubt on her abilities. Not once has she, as a medical practitioner, felt uncertain about her business decisions. And yet, as the years passed, she became convinced that an MBA would help her to become even more professional. “As a medical doctor, I’d taught myself everything I knew about business management and administration. That’s something I wanted to change. And in any case, I’ve always loved building up my knowledge.” In 2018, just after being appointed Managing Director of yet another hospital, this time in Kipfenberg, Bavaria, she opted to take the International  Healthcare MBA programme at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Her three children were 19, 16 and 12 years old. Although the two eldest were becoming increasingly independent, they still needed their mother.

“I talked over the MBA course with my partner and my children,” says Ute Haase. “If I did it, it would be a huge time commitment alongside my full-time job.” Her children encouraged her: “Mum, if it’s the right thing for you, go for it.” This gave Haase the boost she needed to embark on her MBA. It was hard work: two years with no vacation, four modules spent studying abroad – all in addition to her hospital work, with very little time left over for family.

“While I was studying in Dubai, I was able to take the children with me. We all had to compromise on that one,”

says the medical practitioner.

For Haase, writing her master’s thesis was the most stressful time of all. “It was really tough, not least because it coincided with the start of the pandemic. The hospital was exceptionally busy; we had to make a lot of organisational changes and work out new strategies. So writing an academic paper on top of all that really took it out of me,” she admits as she looks back over that period. “Some days, I found myself wondering: am I going to make it?”

She made it. “My family gave me the strength I needed to get it done,” confirms Haase. Since then, she has changed jobs and is now working for a hospital group as Regional Managing Director in charge of multiple hospitals and nursing homes. Between finishing one arduous task and tackling the next, she allowed herself one week off to recuperate at home in Eichstätt, upper Bavaria. “I know now that I’m on the right path – both personally and professionally. The MBA helped me realise that, too.”

This interview was conducted with Christiane Bertelsmann and appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on September 18, 2020