MBA Distance Learning

Testimonial Joshua Baker (EN)

Mr. Joshua Baker, graduate of the Innovation Management program.

  1. What is your career background? Could you tell us something about your career or professional journey in advance?

    I am an American and have been living in Germany for ten years. Although I have a bachelor's degree in communication science and Spanish, I have never worked in this field. After completing my bachelor's degree, I trained as a carpenter and learned how to build houses. Eventually, I transitioned into project management for the installation of residential and commercial solar systems. Three years ago, I was ready to start a new career that involves working more with people. Despite having six years of experience in project management, it was very challenging to find work outside of the renewable energy sector. German companies prefer to see a linear career progression on a resume, and I was always considered a career changer. At that point, I knew I had to further my education to become more marketable and open up new opportunities. I hope that companies will recognize the advantages of having a diverse team of individuals with different cultural and professional backgrounds in the future.
  2. Why did you choose to study Innovation Management at Hochschule Kaiserslautern?

    I began my online search for modern degrees that would provide me with a wide range of opportunities. I chose an MBA program with a focus on Innovation Management because the word 'innovation' has become synonymous with the 21st century. I knew that a degree in Innovation Management would enable me to obtain a leadership position in a company and also give me the opportunity to do something I enjoy, to be creative, work with people, and manage exciting projects.
  3. How did the distance learning program fit into your schedule and organizationally?

    For me, it was important to participate in a program that offered at least some in-person learning opportunities. HSKL offers on-site seminars at the Nürburgring, which is not far from my location. Three times a semester, we met for two days at the Nürburgring to attend lectures on the new modules and take exams. Each semester, students had the opportunity to take up to three modules. After being away from university for 15 years, I had to juggle all my responsibilities in various roles as a student, employee, and father of two children. Learning, writing seminar papers, and preparing for exams required a significant time commitment. According to my calculations, I needed approximately 20 hours per week. Writing the master's thesis required even more time.
  4. Is there a lecture or seminar that you particularly remember and why? Which instructors left a positive impression on you and why?

    An MBA program needs to impart the fundamentals of business science to its students. Although I found these courses interesting, the three courses that inspired me the most in this MBA program were the specialized courses in Innovation Management that I completed with Professor Dr.-Ing. Christian Thurnes and Instructor Barbara Groneau. M21, M22, and M23.
    Professor Thurnes is very passionate about challenging people to think about their assumptions, why the world is the way it is, and what it could actually become. He is an experienced facilitator of various innovation methods and was a dedicated and supportive mentor for me during my last semester when I was writing my master's thesis.
    Barbara Groneau used modern facilitation methods to challenge our assumptions about the structure and culture of organizations. The design of her semester project was well thought out and required students to create an action plan for changes in an organization. This example prompted us to address everyday problems and resistance to change in our organizations. I found this course very practical and have already used some of the research I conducted for this project in actual projects within organizations.
    Overall, I had the impression that HSKL had hired competent and charismatic instructors for the MBA program. I would recommend this program to anyone considering pursuing their master's degree.
  5. Were you able to embark on a different career path or make a career leap with your studies/degree?

    One of the program's requirements was attending a conference for academics and industry professionals working in the field of innovation. We traveled to the conference in Florence, Italy, and it was an amazing experience. It not only brought us together as students but also provided me with a detailed insight into the current activities in the field of innovation management on an international level, both in academia and industry. Many of the insights I gained there inspired the topic of my master's thesis and showed me where to start with my research. I have gained many new contacts for my network and am currently working on two projects with people I met there. For me, this experience was definitely one of the program's highlights.
  6. What are your future career plans?

    Digitization, the shift to much shorter product cycles, and a general disruption of daily business operations are viewed by companies as both a threat and an opportunity. Many companies in Germany need assistance in changing their business operations and production and answering the question of why they exist as a business. Completing my master's degree assured me not only that I can achieve everything I set out to do, but it also provided me with top-notch education in the thriving field of innovation management. The confidence I gained through this experience is helping me establish my own coaching and consulting company for organizational development and innovation training.