Alexander Pflock is an MBA at Nanyang Business School in Singapore. With a business background from Ernst & Young, Alexander went to Singapore to study for his MBA at Nanyang in the hope of moving into finance in Asia.
Alexander, 29, grew up in Weimar, Germany and after military service he moved to Mannheim for undergraduate studies in General Business Administration. He joined Ernst & Young and worked throughout Germany before deciding to relocate to Singapore.
Ernst & Young offer an 18 month trainee program called ‘Audit Plus’, where he spent a year in Mannheim, three months in Mexico City and three months in Stuttgart. “After the trainee program I joined the assurance and advisory business services in Mannheim for another year before moving to Dusseldorf to join the Transaction Advisory Services as a Senior Consultant. I worked for TAS for another three years and was mainly responsible for Financial Due Diligence in the context of M&A transactions. During that time I also spent three months in Moscow working on a German-Russian buy side financial due diligence.”
Working for Ernst & Young was a great experience for Alexander, “I learned a lot and not only developed my financial and accounting expertise but also improved my social and leadership skills and gained exposure to various industries. I also got the opportunity to take responsibility early in my career. Although it is a demanding and challenging business environment it offers great development and career opportunities. It is a very team-working oriented environment and I appreciated working with my colleagues a lot.”
The chance to work on a project with a 2.7 billion Euro transaction volume was great exposure to the world of big business. But Alexander wanted to further develop his management and leadership skills to become a manager in a global business environment. “I believe an international degree will increase my job and career opportunities abroad.”
Looking mainly at Asian business schools for the chance to experience a different culture and learn more about Asian financial markets, Alexander eventually only applied to Nanyang.
Nanyang appealed for its international diversity and the flexibility of the program – “you design your MBA according to your interest, objectives and career goals. It is possible to do a General MBA or an MBA with a specialisation in seven different areas. In addition to the core courses, students can choose from about 100 electives.”
Alexander considered the Nanyang MBA to be good value for money for the quality of the program; “The Nanyang MBA offers a demanding yet flexible curriculum taught by a high quality international faculty and industry experts. The teaching method is mainly case study based which was a main consideration for me.”
Singapore is “Asia’s most liveable city and ranked third in the world. For me the Asian culture was a totally new experience and a big challenge. Singapore offers a high quality of living, a good economic environment and is an English speaking country and it is a gateway to other Asian countries and offers great opportunities for travelling.”
Whilst at Nanyang, Alexander completed a four month internship at Microsoft Operations Pte Ltd Singapore and worked as a Credit Analyst for Microsoft’s Asia Credit Services as part of the treasury operations. “I supported the company in the implementation and roll-out of a new credit capacity planning process for Microsoft Asia Pacific.”
After graduating Alexander plans to stay in Singapore, “but it depends on job opportunities. Currently I am in Germany for Christmas, I have job offers in Germany and have to decide in the next week whether to accept an offer in Germany or to go back to Singapore and look for opportunities there. I could not go for interviews in Singapore in the last three months due to my exchange program in Spain.”
Alexander would ideally work in Singapore or Hong Kong in the finance industry, “preferably in Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Asset Management or Private Equity.” With the job market “softening in Singapore”, Alexander believes the situation will improve in the first and second quarter of 2012. “Of course, Singapore will be affected by the world economy and everybody is looking to Europe and the Euro Crisis right now. But in general, I think Singapore is doing quite well.”