Online MBA Best & Brightest 2022: Antje Schickert, University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium

“Adaptable, motivated and reliable person who likes to flourish through education and new challenges.”

Age: 38

Hometown: Arvada, CO

Fun fact about yourself: I have lived and worked in three different countries and enjoy traveling to many more. Moreover, I like to explore unknown places and meet new people.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany: Diplom (equivalent Master) in Biology

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA: Ph.D. in biology

University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium: Master of Business Administration

Where are you currently working? I am currently working as a product manager for Sartorius, one of the leading suppliers to the biopharmaceutical industry. This Germany-headquartered company operates globally and is a strong supporter of COVID vaccine development efforts. The company creates innovative technologies for the development and manufacture of new drugs in the fight against many diseases such as cancers.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I take pride in my overall development and personal growth. I was born and raised in Germany, lived in Austria, and eventually moved to the United States to complete my education. This evolution allowed me to grow professionally and personally. Living among diverse cultures can greatly help to see things from different perspectives and change old perceptions. Over the course of my career, I have gone from product development scientist to product manager, combining my scientific background with my business knowledge. At the same time, I grew significantly as a leader and important contributor within my organization. Continuous growth, learning and development are essential for me on my journey to becoming the best version of myself that I can be. I take particular pride in mentoring others in my network to advance their careers and develop critical skills as communicators and changemakers. Helping others grow and excel in their careers is a powerful motivator.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program?
I have a doctorate. in biology and was transitioning from a scientist position to a product management position in my (biotech) company. I decided to pursue an MBA to add to my business acumen needed for this position. I chose the UW MBA Consortium because of its outstanding rating, diverse course offerings that matched my interests, and the ability to complete the program remotely. In addition, the University answered my various questions about their program in detail and with patience. This behavior towards a prospect like me showed that the University cares about its students and takes pride in its outstanding program. As a final piece that fell into place, my husband’s family is from Wisconsin, and I felt proud to go to the same school as so many of my family members before me.

What was your favorite part of an online MBA program? I chose the online MBA program because of the incredible flexibility it offered. I travel a lot for business and leisure, I like to practice several sports and spend time with my friends and my family. This online MBA fit into my schedule and allowed me to do everything I love. I also enjoyed meeting all the students from different parts of the country and the world. My teachers and peers were exceptional and always offered me new and fascinating perspectives, challenged me and helped me get the most out of this outstanding program.

Ohat was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I was surprised to see how strong the bond was between students and teachers. Initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect when interacting with each other in an online environment. However, everyone was incredibly open to sharing experiences with their peers, highly motivated and eager to work as a team. These factors made this experience very informative, collaborative and very enjoyable.

How does your online experience compare to your classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I started my academic experience in the classroom when I was 19 studying biology in Germany. Now I am almost 20 years older than taking online business courses in another country. The experiences are quite different as the environment, culture and myself have changed over the years. Both were invaluable to me and were the best approaches at that time in my development. As an undergraduate, the classroom experience was helpful in orienting yourself, meeting other people, and maturing as an individual. Later in life, the online environment gave me the flexibility I needed based on my career and personal needs. As a much more mature and confident person, it was easier to network and build long-distance relationships, which might have been more difficult as a teenager.

What is your best advice to a candidate for success in an online MBA program? The program requires strong personal motivation and time management skills, especially when taking multiple courses concurrently. I recommend reviewing the schedule and requirements ahead of time to plan your week and semester in advance. It also helped me set aside certain times of the day to study to ensure I was on track for any assignments. Overall, I recommend being open and making time to meet your classmates. There’s no better way to learn than through experimentation and sharing with your peers and professors.

What would you change about an online MBA program? I believe that networking between students could be further improved. I have met wonderful, interesting and intelligent peers during my classes. However, this was motivated by being assigned to the same work groups. There are several students during the semester that I have never worked with nor got to know. A platform that connects students across classes, workgroups, and semesters could help increase networking even further.

How has your online training helped you in your current job?
The subjects learned in the MBA program immediately helped me in my position. I was able to easily apply business concepts to everyday work challenges. This has raised the quality of my work and my confidence, which has been recognized by my peers and my managers. I was able to help people in my network by applying the concepts I had learned and received a product management promotion sooner than expected. While I expected to learn a lot about typical business concepts, I was surprised by the tremendous impact other courses had on my professional work. Through the UW MBA Consortium program, I have become a more effective communicator, improved my networking skills, and significantly improved my leadership skills within the organization. I am excited about my future professional opportunities because of the technical and soft skills acquired during my work with these amazing professors and peers.

Did you get promoted while in the program or immediately after graduation? During my MBA, I changed my role from product development scientist to product manager.

Did you get a raise during the online MBA program? I did not receive a raise for MBA completion. However, the program opened up new opportunities to continue my professional development in the future.

Number of hours per week devoted to the online MBA: The time required changed with different courses, but on average I was spending around 8-12 hours per week on one course. This included studying, writing assignments, and participating in discussions with other students and professors. For most semesters, I took 2 classes at the same time.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I am looking for new opportunities to lead a team in my organization. I am a strong individual contributor and lead teams without authority. It is very satisfying for me. However, in the next stage of my career, I would like to lead a team of people that I can coach, inspire and engage to achieve their goals and the organization’s targets. My effective communication, problem-solving and interpersonal skills will help me improve the work environment while creating an environment that allows people to grow and thrive. I see my long-term development in the organization in a position where I can work closely with people, help them grow and achieve remarkable results while having a significant impact on the organization and its processes.

About Marc Womack

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