IE Business School Online Masters
Patrick Engelhardt Patrick Engelhardt
I was born and grew up in Luxembourg. Interested by natural science, I choose a curriculum of pharmacist as it is a interesting and exciting mixture of chemistry, biology and medicine. After a short period in a public pharmacy I decided to go for the hospital pharmacy. I joined two master degrees to my initial curriculum, one in hospital pharmacy at a Belgian University, the second in logistics and quality management at a French University. This knowledge allowed me to diversify my activities, so today my work is one part pharmacist, second part manager of the pharmacy department and the last part member of the quality management team in my hospital.

In my free time (I think i had some before starting the IXMBA...) I enjoy travelling and discovering the world, good food, sports and reading.

Patrick Engelhardt
December 17, 2009
Looking back … and forward !

Before leaving this blog, I would like to take the opportunity to share my feelings about graduating from IE. Just a few hours ago, we got our final grades and the confirmation of our graduation. Needless to say we are all very happy, but also very tired from the very final efforts during our last presential period in Madrid. Like one of my fellow colleagues mentioned just yesterday, the human body has its limits, and we sometimes pushed the limits very far during the last 13 months.

A few words about the ongoing discussion about « online » MBAs. Some people may think an online MBA is less valuable than a pure face-to-face MBA. The online MBA is structured in a way that everybody, really everybody in the class needs to participate actively. During the weekly discussions on the different topics and case studies, every student made in average between 3 and 5 postings with a average length of 5 to 10 lines. In face-to-face classes, some people say a lot, many a few things and some manage to get away in saying nothing. The added value of an online MBA is the fact that you are getting the input and the experience from every class member. In our class we made 600 postings a week, totalling up to over 25000 postings for the whole MBA. I’m not making this statement to defend my MBA; I’m just challenging everyone to image how many hours of face-to-face classes are needed to get these 25000 interventions from everyone. At the very end this is the main point of doing an Executive MBA at IE; benefitting from the professional experience of people coming from 25 countries from all over the world. If you think that theory is more important, then spend a few hundred Euros on textbooks.

When we started we were told that it would be “Hell”. It was very hard, but it was also very motivating and fun. Of course I learned a lot of theory and new stuff; more important however for the future were the things I learned about interacting and working in multi-cultural teams. Finally I learned a lot about myself; my strengths and my weaknesses, and so far in my life no experience gave me so much input and feedback than this MBA. Many colleagues in the class shared the same feeling.

I could tell a lot more things about this MBA, how enriching the two weeks in Shanghai were, to discover a completely different and yet so important environment for our future. But I will only conclude by saying that this whole MBA was an awesome experience, and that I don’t regret my investment, neither in time, nor in money. And now that I have some spare time, don’t hesitate to contact me by email to get more details and answers to questions you may have!

Wishing everyone, especially my fellow classmates and the IE team, a Merry Christmas and lots of relaxing fun on New Year’s Eve.


Patrick Engelhardt
May 10, 2009
Virtual and yet so real …

Hello everyone,

As my colleague Julian already mentioned, we are just about to finish our first online period in the IXMBA. So I would like to make a few comments and reflexions about the online classroom, as it constitutes the main part of the program. For the 7 main courses we had during the past 6 months, there were 55 online sessions in total. Every student is supposed to make between 3 and 5 postings a week, answering questions from the professor and commenting answers from his fellow students.

I just finished counting, this made us to read 9871 !!! postings in total for the first part. May sound crazy, yes, sometimes it is, but most of the time it is great fun and you learn a lot from your colleagues.

Did I read all of them? Of course yes … let’s be honest … no surely I missed a few. Sometimes you keep a few messages to read on the weekend, well wishful thinking, you are already engaged in the homework for the next session and you are no longer able to consider them.

What is important about class discussion from my experience? Never start late, if you enter the blackboard only on Thursday, (online sessions generally are open between Tuesday and Friday),  you are lost. You have to catch up reading a few hundred postings and unless you don’t show up at work that day, that’s not possible. I did it a few times, and believe me, you have a nicer sleep during the whole week when you start making a few postings on the first day.

We were told to respect a 5 lines limit for each posting, this is quite important, remember 9871 contributions to read and in some cases to comment, nobody wants to read half a page. Pictures and cartoons are great (thanks Jorge!), small fonts or large fonts are not very sexy as you get even more tired reading the postings, so after some months you make the decision to not read them at all.

What is amazing about the virtual classroom is that while reading the postings you imagine the professor and the students. As we saw each other during 2 weeks in Madrid, we know what we look like and how we speak, so you have that picture in your mind while following the class discussions.

The most important thing about a virtual class is the feedback. It is really essential to take reference to your colleagues in your postings, they will appreciate. Imagine a real class room, you make a comment, the professor looks at you, turns around, doesn’t say anything and moves forward, no reaction either from the other students, well I would feel awkward. The same applies to the virtual world; it is very stimulating and motivating to get feedback. This is also an advice I would give to the professors (if I may ;-)), the IXMBA is a tough and long road, a bit like a marathon in the Alps, and getting at various times some appropriate feedback, is a bit like passing a cheering point in a marathon, it gives you this little, yet so important energy push.

So, that’s all for now out of the virtual world, my next post will be about the real Shanghai in a few weeks.


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