“I Set the Course on the Leipzig Housing Market”

Tobias Luft

Tobias Luft is a graduate (2009) of the Part-time Master in General Management Program (MBA) of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management.

As Chairman of the Board of Wohnungsgenossenschaft Transport eG Leipzig (WOGETRA), the 38-year-old is responsible for the principles and guidelines of the business policies and the strategic orientation of the real estate company. At WOGETRA, which has about 7,500 members and tenants and a stock of 7,300 apartments, Tobias Luft also oversees the business management at the board level.

The native born Saxon has worked for the Leipzig housing corporation since 2001. He started off as Head of the Business Management Department and was given the authority to act in the company’s name. Simultaneously, he passed the tax adviser’s exam. He was appointed to the Board of WOGETRA in 2004, assuming responsibility for the business administration. In early 2012, the Supervisory Board named him Chairman of the Board of the company.

Chairman of the Board with constantly changing tasks

The certified financial economist says: “I deal with the central issues of business leadership and company policy as part of my job. I also have to take care of the ‘small’ things, of course. One minute, I am attending to accounting-related tasks involving just a few cents and the next I am discussing the implementation of projects amounting to millions of euros. I am incredibly fascinated by this arc between the ever-changing fields of my work.”

Regarding his MBA studies at HHL, Tobias Luft says: “Most tax advisers would join an auditing firm after their exam, following which they would then take the auditors exam. Due to my job in the WOGETRA management, I was not allowed to follow this career path for reasons related to professional law. Therefore, I decided to round out my personal training profile by completing the MBA program at HHL. Firstly, the area of holistic leadership was particularly important to me. Secondly, I found the international relation of the program quite compelling.” According to Tobias Luft, it is a common misconception that a housing corporation only works in the regional markets. “A city like Leipzig, which is gaining more and more popularity abroad, will always attract foreign investors and guests who are potential renters for us.” Therefore, it was the group work with international classmates during the MBA program in particular which paid off for the WOGETRA Chairman of the Board. “I gained insight into other cultural and economic circles which has allowed me to approach projects in a more differentiated and effective manner. I have also greatly benefited from the cooperation with my classmates, who work in internationally renowned companies, and their knowledge,” says Tobias Luft.

Change of heart after the MBA program

Thanks to the MBA program, the HHL graduate gained a new perspective on his personal and professional life. Tobias Luft explains this phenomenon quite simply: “You simply march to a different beat.” While this may lead to a certain amount of tension surrounding you every now and then, it is also “the deciding factor for professional as well as personal success in the future.”
The real estate expert concludes: “It is safe to say that the road to the MBA is a difficult one and comes with quite a few sleepless nights. You will, however, quickly realize that the MBA program is worth the effort when you find yourself dealing with topics such as beta factors and accounting issues, which you may have discussed in detail with your classmates or professors just the night before, on a daily basis. Hence, HHL’s MBA program fully measured up to my expectations.”

The Part-time Master in Management Program (MBA)

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 classes held in English teach the basics of economics in combination with concrete management tools. The participants benefit from an innovative curriculum which is no longer structured in a purely functional manner but also follows an interdisciplinary approach in accordance with the challenges in management (Managing Investors, Managing Society, Managing Customers etc.). Due to the participants’ various academic and professional experiences (e. g. the fields of engineering, IT, finance, medicine, law) they have the opportunity to exchange views and learn from each other through case studies and group work.  The proportion of international students in the part-time MBA program at HHL stands at 30 percent. The classes are taught by renowned national and international lecturers (e. g. from the US, Sweden, Canada and the Czech Republic). The lectures take place in Leipzig on one weekend per month. They are combined with three module weeks which are spread over the entire two-year duration of the program. Two weeks are to be completed at HHL and one week in Boston, MA, USA, within the framework of the so-called Global Immersion Seminar. HHL stands out with its extensive network which expands the participants’ personal and business contacts. A university degree and proof of several years of professional experience are the prerequisites for an application. The closing date for applications for the program, which starts in March 2014, is January 15, 2014. www.hhl.de/part-time-mba

ESF funding for HHL programs

The tuition fees for the part-time MBA program at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management are eligible for funding by the European Social Fund (ESF) and are tax-deductible. The ESF money covers up to 80 percent of the cost for training programs. It must be proven that the program enables potential future managers of medium-sized companies to take on new global challenges and therefore can improve the competitiveness of their companies. Information: petra.spanka@hhl.de or www.esf-in-sachsen.de