By David Yu
German MBA 2018 student Laura Loof first went abroad as a child, living in the US city of Pittsburgh. After returning to Germany, she earned a Chamber of Commerce certified degree from Junior Management School, a high school dedicated to initiating young people into the business world. She began her career right after high school, joining the Leadership Development Programme of a German chemical company.
“I was selected for a fast track leadership development programme, which comprised full-time on-the-job training and company-sponsored university education in the evenings and on weekends,” she explains. The programme was quite intense – Loof rotated through different departments, including Procurement, Marketing, Communications and Project Control, which helped her gain a deep understanding of the company and the chemical industry. “The programme sharpened my business sense, improved my time-management skills and helped me develop as a leader,” she says.
Her most recent job, before enrolling in the CEIBS MBA Programme, was as a marketing and communications manager at Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience. It deepened her understanding of leadership and the importance of credibility. “Being one of the youngest members of my department, I have managed to build credibility by being very passionate and confident about my work,” she says. “I think it is important for women to use a leadership style that comes naturally to them, while not being afraid to stand their ground when they know they have the best idea or right path forward.”
Loof now provides strategic support for promoting her company’s new identity as it transitions from Bayer MaterialScience to Covestro. This demanding mission requires a more international perspective and more comprehensive leadership skills. That is why she has chosen to do an MBA at CEIBS in Shanghai; she wants to develop cross-cultural leadership skills in one of the world’s most dynamic economic hubs. “In a constantly changing global environment, I believe that leaders must be able to adopt both a global and local perspective,” she says. “I think that the CEIBS MBA journey, with its ‘China depth, Global breadth’ perspective and interactions between the members of its diverse international student body, is a great opportunity to enhance these skills.”