13. May 2014

Career Spotlight Gregor Gratschner

Today in conversation with DI (FH) Gregor Gratschner, MBA, Horex GmbH Augsburg, Supply Chain Manager and Alumnus of the Professional MBA Automotive Industry class 2011-2013

Why did you decide to participate in this program?

I decided to participate in this program in order to acquire the necessary qualifications for an executive career in the automotive industry. As I owned a degree in Automotive Engineering already and was used to perform in sophisticated industrial projects for nearly a decade, somehow it seemed necessary to focus on more management oriented fields of interest in order to open doors that may have stayed closed else. The professional MBA in Automotive Industry thus simply seemed to be the right key.

What did you expect from the program? Have your expectations been met?

My expectations were rather high before the program started. I expected an expansion of my knowledge by segments not covered so far in my academic career. As my professional background was strongly linked to R&D and production areas, I was eager to learn more about economics, law, quality and entrepreneurship. Most of these subjects of my specific personal interest were covered very well during the course and met my own high expectations.
However, in the end the course content expectations were even exceeded by the team aspects. We were a great group of students, just the right mix of people coming from all kinds of different nations and professional automotive backgrounds. The strength and social cohesion the group developed throughout the course was overwhelming. The team building session right at the beginning of the program certainly helped to form our group quickly and smoothly, which was great.

Did your studies enable you to develop professionally?

I changed jobs right after finishing my MBA. From a job in the automotive supplier industry, where I was responsible for the development department of motorcycle exhausts at an exhaust manufacturer, to a motorcycle OEM, where I am now in charge of the engine supply chain. Working at an OEM was an aim long worked for. The door to the motorcycle OEM could be opened by integrating part of their start up story as a case study into my MBA master’s thesis. Consequently, yes, the program helped me to develop professionally.

How did you benefit from the program personally? (Networking, management of relationships)

We, as a group of students, were lucky enough to get along well with each others. More like friends than like just colleagues. This proved all the more that trust and mutual respect are essential for successful (professional) relationships. I am still in contact with many of my colleagues, for professional as well as for private reasons, some even combined, which is probably the best output you can get from a well working network.

Do you have any advice for our future students?

There are two factors to consider. First, the MBA in Automotive Industry is what you make of it. It provides a prosper basis of continuing education, filling academic gaps and expanding your professional network. You have to work hard everywhere, if you want to achieve a certain aim. This is also the case with this degree course, but what will surprise you most when you participate in this program is that you will benefit in particular from the people, i.e. colleagues, program responsibles, lecturers, experts from the industry, joining you in this program. So open your mind, for others’ opinions, attitudes and experiences.
Second, plan everything far ahead. Good time management will be your best friend during those two years this course lasts. Your family and friends will also be happy, if you save a little bit of spare time for them as well besides your demanding everyday job and studies. Don’t forget to schedule also a little bit of spare time for yourself, simply to recover.

What comes to your mind when you think about the program? What were the highlights?
The first thing that comes to my mind about the program is that I always looked forward to the monthly study sessions in Vienna, or Bratislava. We had fruitful and challenging discussions among the students and lecturers during the course lessons. The exchange of knowledge and experience was in fact refreshing and inspiring. There were several excursions in Austria and Slovakia to thrilling and very interesting works and companies. Vienna and Bratislava, where the lessons take place, are also lovely places to stay, not just for studying but also for that little bit of spare time spent in the evening.

Did the program enhance your international career or did it open the door to an international career?

It opened the door to an OEM, which is what I wanted to achieve. Apart from that I strongly believe that this MBA degree is certainly very positive when applying for sophisticated positions in the automotive industry in general, domestically as well as internationally.

Do you believe that the program is internationally renowned? What is your experience with your university degree abroad?

It seems to be rather well known in Germany, as I have been contacted by potential students that were asking me about my experiences in this specific MBA course via XING. As this program is the only MBA focusing on the automotive industry, I believe it has good potential to grow even more peasant in reputation. Besides, each class consists of students coming from several different nations, as already mentioned; consequently it must be internationally renowned already. Surely, the more qualified professionals participate in this program and later become the perfect ambassadors of the program as alumni, the better it will be for the long term perspective of this master’s degree course, as for its international reputation as such.

What is your motto?

Keep the faith

Which book do you read currently?

Actually, it’s called ‚Die obere Hälfte des Motorrads’, translated ’The upper half of a motorcycle’ by Bernt Spiegel and ’Der Fabrikant’, translated ’The manufacturer’, the life story of Erwin Junker.

(Interview dtd. May 09, 2014)

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