“I Am Shaping the Future of One of the World’s Oldest Foundries”
Graduate of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management part-time MBA program works as COO in a medium-sized automotive company.
Alexander Gerstung is a graduate (2012) of the Part-time Master in General Management Program (MBA) of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. The 41-year-old works as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at one of the world’s oldest foundries, ES Automobilguss GmbH. The Saxon company specializes in finished cast metal components for the automotive industry. Moreover, the graduate, who was born in Berlin, is a member of the Supervisory Board of Fröbel Group, a worldwide service provider in the field of early childhood education and childcare.
Looking back at his MBA program, Alexander Gerstung comments, “Through my own effort, the interaction with my classmates and the competency of some excellent HHL professors, I have learned to always look at both sides of the story. During my studies, I was able to acquire new methodical skills as well. Thanks to my continuing education on the job, I have a vast network of alumni in various industries and fields of society today. What is also important: I made valuable friends and found a place in HHL which I consider to be my home to some extent.”
Money, entrepreneurship and charity
Alexander Gerstung’s career path was not straightforward. After a dual apprenticeship as a banking professional, 16 years in the financial world, an academic program focusing on financing, investment and entrepreneurship and engagements as a mentor for start-up founders, he committed himself to become an executive in the field of social welfare. Alexander Gerstung proudly reports, “The group increased its turnover from EUR 35 to 120 million with almost 3,000 employees worldwide.”
The Lehman Brothers crisis was the final straw for Alexander Gerstung to leave the banking sector. “I was convinced that my résumé to that point was one of a generalist so I was looking for an attractive MBA program which allowed me to recap existing knowledge, learn new things, internalize a different set of methodical skills and enter an exciting network of alumni.” While still studying at HHL, Alexander Gerstung met his wife, became a father and accepted a position as CEO at ic! berlin, an innovative manufacturer of eyeglasses in the heart of the German capital.
Accepting responsibility for a 450-year-old business location
Alexander Gerstung recently started to lead ES Automobilguss GmbH, a company from the automotive industry, into a promising future, following a change of ownership. One of his major challenges currently is to establish and exemplify a cultural change in thinking and acting within the company. “I am also leading thrilling negotiations with a trade union to achieve a labor agreement, allocating an attractive current portfolio while considering an investment backlog and limited capacities and initiating the expansion of business fields,” explains Alexander Gerstung.
Asked about the highlights of his current working life, the HHL graduate comments, “It is definitely the responsibility for a 450-year-old business location, one of the first foundries in the world, that has survived a number of societal and political changes and has increasingly broadened its production capabilities. Today, the company is faced with the challenge of finding a niche for the future, in which it will remain successful and continue to prosper, in the light of global competition and ongoing changes in the automotive industry.”
Moreover, Alexander Gerstung is committed to his position as a member of the Supervisory Board of Fröbel Group, a worldwide service provider of early childhood education and childcare. According to the HHL alumnus, an organization in this business sector must be led with an eye to commercial viability as well as with a double serving of social responsibility – a balancing act which he needs to master. “Without the services rendered in this market, every second hospital would not be there and either one in four of the current number of daycare centers or no nursing homes would exist in Germany. These fields are now dealing with topics which used to fall within the responsibility of the state. In this context, Fröbel Group is developing valuable perspectives.”
The Part-Time Master in Management Program (MBA) at HHL
The two-year part-time MBA program with a focus on General Management is designed for people working in middle management who would like to expand their existing knowledge by practice-oriented and up-to-date management knowledge. The program has achieved top rankings in the Financial Times rating for career progress of its alumni and the salary increase after graduation. The classes, held in English, teach the basics of economics in combination with concrete management tools. Internationally renowned professors teach extended management skills and leadership competencies. The offer of courses focusing on ‘Leadership’ as well as ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management’ was expanded. Moreover, the program provides the participants with excellent networking opportunities with HHL’s extensive alumni network. Good to know: The tuition fees as well as all other program-related costs are fully tax-deductible as professional expenses. Moreover, HHL offers a variety of funding options. Since March 2015, HHL has offered its academic part-time Master Program in Management (MBA) not only in Leipzig but also in Cologne.