2019 Best Online MBAs: Patrick Wohlschlegel, Warwick Business School

Patrick Wohlschlegel

Warwick Business School

“Bearded technologist with an insatiable thirst for progress and grand achievements.”

Age: 35

Hometown: I live in Warwick, UK.

Fun fact about yourself: I have developed a peculiar interest for facial hair and I am growing a giant moustache. My wife hates it with a passion, but I couldn’t deprive my young son from the joys of pulling it.

Undergraduate School and Degree: I spent my undergraduate years in a French military boarding school called the “Prytanée National Militaire”, studying maths and physics. I then got an MSc in Computer Science from ENSEIRB.

Where are you currently working? Senior Product Manager at Arm

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2011, I left France and gave up everything to join a nascent UK startup called Allinea. Very quickly, we made a noticeable impact in the scientific community worldwide. We helped researchers in a multitude of domains increase the speed of their publications. I will never tire of helping scientists transform abstract thoughts into amazing discoveries and inventions. After several years of very hard work, we grew our business many times and in 2017 we got acquired by Arm, a blue-chip company. I am very proud of what the team achieved in our domain.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I have been interested in business studies for years, but the idea of resigning and putting my career on hold to go back to school was never an option for me. I love my job way too much! Thankfully, many academic institutions have made efforts in recent years to make it possible to study for an MBA in parallel with a full-time job. Warwick Business School, in particular, has handled this small revolution beautifully. To complement its unique and always-evolving curriculum, WBS has perfected a world-leading content delivery system recognized worldwide. Combined with its rich history and alumni network, WBS ticked all the boxes that really mattered to me. The cherry on the cake: being local, I get to enjoy Warwick University’s library. Many would argue it is by far the best in the country!

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The key for me is to be able to soak up as much knowledge as possible without sacrificing my personal or professional life. I travel a lot for my job, run meetings at ungodly hours, and have a young child to take care of. With an online MBA program, I am free to study whenever and wherever I am able to.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I spent my undergraduate years in a military boarding school, which is the complete opposite of an online course. In a military school, the education team makes all the organizational decisions for you. The officers decide on your timetable throughout the entire year, including when you are allowed to eat or when the commanding officer will check on the tidiness of your room. From this perspective, an online course is an extreme opposite, where discipline and organization come from yourself. My undergraduate studies were very intense, but I would argue that the online course has been more challenging. It is one thing to churn exercises out, it is another to study hard whilst being your own commanding officer!

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? My advice would simply be to fully commit to the program. The real value of an online MBA is to make you a better person. To me, besides the networking aspect which is essential, this means changing the way you think and improving your behavior. We are all different and some modules will be more challenging than others. Regardless, the magic of learning rarely happens if you stay in your comfort zone. The course needs to stretch your thinking. If you feel too comfortable going through a module, the chance is that you are not doing it right and that you could get more out of the program!

What would you change about an online MBA Program? One of the challenges of an online MBA program is the proximity with the education team. Module leaders and educators always make themselves available and provide outstanding support, However, they come and go with their modules. Having a named tutor that follows you throughout the entire journey is not something I have seen in online MBA programs. This might improve the overall experience!

How has your online education helped you in your current job? I use every assignment as an opportunity to apply the learning of the MBA to real-life cases that relate to my daily job. I believe this has increased my business acumen and helped me improve things at work, to the benefit of my company who is sponsoring my studies. This has significantly increased my political capital with my managers, who now get into the habit of giving me increasingly challenging problems to resolve. It makes my life at work all the more interesting and paves the way for my own progression within the organization.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? Absolutely. Going through the MBA has been very hard work and I am thankful to my wife for being so supportive and understanding. The program was absolutely worth it: it has made me realize how little I know and how much there is to learn. From this perspective, the entire experience has been quite humbling! I feel more equipped than ever to make a difference in the industry and I have gained new friends in the process!

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate goal is to take over the world! I still need to figure out what that actually means in practice, though…



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