Kira Sargatzke, International MBA’12

Mannheim, Germany

“What’s impressed me the most about this program is the collaboration and communication between professors and students…All of the professors here have been so approachable, and I’m learning a lot from both them and my classmates.”

Energized about energy

As a student in her home country of Germany, Kira wasn’t sure whether her undergraduate education would translate as a recognizable degree on a worldwide level.

After graduating from high school, she went to college while simultaneously working at international chemical company BASF. The company sponsored her education while she was in school, and after graduating she stayed with them for two and a half years.

“When I graduated from my first study it was clear to me that I wanted to get another degree,” she says. “I wanted something internationally known and regarded because in Germany, I graduated with what’s called an English diploma degree in international business administration. It’s in between a bachelor’s and a master’s. Other countries don’t really know what it is, so that was the reason I wanted to get my MBA.”

During her first years at BASF, she rotated through several different departments, getting to know the ins and outs of the overall company. During her postgraduate years as a full-time employee, Sargatzke focused on the strategic planning department—where she was responsible for the monitoring of different business unit strategies, industrial strategies, and regional strategies. But despite the advanced knowledge and experience she obtained throughout that time, she felt going outside her country and company to learn in a different classroom environment would be extremely beneficial.

With her previous education and work experience, she wasn’t interested in a two-year MBA program. In Boston University’s International MBA program, students spend three months in China before coming to Boston to finish their degree in just 12 months. A lover of travel, Sargatzke felt BU was a perfect fit.

Despite heading into the situation with a bit of wariness about living in China, Sargatzke figured three months was the perfect amount of time to feel it out and get acquainted with her surroundings.

“We worked on an integrated project while we were [in China],” she says. “So we had to investigate a few businesses there, and just seeing the similarities and differences between those companies and those in the western world was really interesting.”

After she graduates in May, Sargatzke wants to utilize the skills she learned in the IMBA program in a scaled-down work setting. She’s already spent time at a large corporation and feels she wants to apply the concepts she’s learned to a smaller company, where it would be easier to showcase her ability.

Her main goal, however, is to be challenged, and the field she feels could satisfy this need the most is energy.

“I’d like to work in a growing industry where companies are facing changing market requirements and new challenges in a very fast-paced environment,” Sargatzke says. “With renewable, alternate sources of energy, the possibility of creating sustainable solutions for the future is a strong personal focus. But in my old job, I was exposed to the more traditional industry of oil and gas energy, so I’m interested in that, too.”

Sargatzke has already taken several courses in strategy, such as corporate strategy for growth and strategy implementation, that have given her a highly positive outlook on her prospective career. Those classes, coupled with the different learning environment, has made the IMBA experience one she has no regrets about taking part in.

“What’s impressed me the most about this program is the collaboration and communication between professors and students,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s a cultural difference, but all of the professors here have been so approachable, and I’m learning a lot from both them and my classmates.”