Short Introduction to Han Köhnke
I started my work for Commerzbank in 2010. As a Banking Product Advisor with Power of Attorney, I was responsible for Bank Products (such as Trade Finance, Bilateral Loans, Syndication / Term Loans) and other related projects. In 2018, I moved to the Compliance Coordination Unit and became responsible for topics related to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Sanction Regulation. Due to my experience in sales and products, I can easily understand the needs for both the relationship manager and compliance regulator. My responsibilities include the design, development, implementation and revision of compliance programmes. Moreover, our team trains employees on compliance guidelines, requirements and standards. It is our job to answer questions regarding KYC and regulations across global branches, coordinate internal compliance information and implement processes to provide support to management. Professional expertise, the coordination know-how and understanding of cultural structures lies at the core of my current position.
Which insights have been particularly valuable for you so far?
Learning how to be a leader, handling stress, giving productive criticism and communicating more efficiently are the most relevant and valuable aspects of the programme for me. My goals in pursuing an MBA are personal growth and the development of my leadership skills. During the programme, I realized that leadership qualities such as assertiveness, adaptability, business acumen and conscientiousness are highly important. Additionally, I am learning to improve my stress management. The programme helps me manage my time, set priorities and establish a work-life balance. The strong diversity in the class gives me opportunity to learn about different cultures, expand my horizon and strengthen my communication skills to work well with people with different professional styles.
How would you describe the atmosphere in the class?
The atmosphere in the class is highly dynamic, the group is very active and the professors always provide a comfortable environment for us to learn and ask questions. Most modules get very positive feedback from the class in the post-lecture surveys, because lecturers understand our group’s professional mindset, emotive reasoning and appreciate our proactive participation. With regards to performance measurement and the variety provided by the lectures: I always like that only few modules require formal written exams, but most include project work, presentations and in-class participation. We really have no time to get bored and instead we enjoy the classes every time. Moreover, teamwork is very important - we frequently study together or work on assignments in groups. All of this helps in creating a positive classroom culture.
Which was your favourite module and why?
My favorite module was Organizational Behavior with Prof. Patrick Flood. I particularly liked the teaching style of the professor. He encouraged us to speak our minds and to ask as many questions as possible. Always having good answers ready for us and encouraging the class to stretch their professional understanding of the topic and how to take it further. I could tell that he appreciated our input throughout the lecture and valued our active contributions - as he would say: “There is no stupid question, there are only stupid answers.” Besides passing on his professional knowledge, he also cared about our intuition, interpretation of behavior and was committed to encourageing our imagination. For me, his course was the highlight of the MBA so far.
Your advice to other candidates considering an MBA?
Before deciding on your next professional step, ask yourself first: What is my dream? This will help in providing an anchor and help you visualize what you need to do to achieve your goals. You may not be unhappy in your job, but you may not feel like your ‘true’ self. Think about your values, about what energizes you. Is your current role meeting your needs? Is it enriching your life with meaning? If not, then you need a change. If you decide to pursue an MBA to enrich your personal and professional life, prepare to find a way to balance your personal life, work and study – this is very important. Later, you will see that all your efforts will pay off and you not only acquire the professional expertise and knowledge on how to be a leader during the MBA, but also gain a new outlook on life.