News articles

Alumni Interview: DI Bernd Kögler, MBA

Today in conversation with DI Bernd Kögler, MBA, an alumnus of the Professional MBA Automotive Industry. He participated in the class 2015-2017 and is now Plant Manager at Pankl Racing Systems.

Bernd Koegler Graduation Picture

Bernd Koegler during his graduation ceremony in 2017

It has been a few years since your graduation. How has your career developed ever since? What is your current position?
When I participated the Professional MBA Automotive Industry my position was operations manager at Pankl with the responsibility of the series production conrod business unit operated by roughly 60 employees (50 blue collar + 10 white collar) and an annual turnover of 20 Mil. €.

After my graduation in 2017, I took over the plant manager function of Pankls gearbox facility (13 Mil. Turnover, 80 employees) in mid 2018, adding to my recent function, which means I currently hold a double management responsibility. 

How did the program contribute to achieving your career goals? From what did you benefit most?
The program made me rethink the influencing factors that positive leadership has on the whole organization, and helped me concentrate on the most important things managers have to focus on based on a holistic approach. 

Which lectures were valuable for your career development? What were your personal highlights from the program?
I cannot point out one specific lecture that was more valuable than others, I found the program as a whole worthwhile. The personal highlight was of course the cooperation with all other students coming from different personal and company cultures, with all the stories and examples that we shared during courses and off the record.

What was the topic of your master’s thesis? What insights did you gain from the research?
My master's thesis , opens an external URL in a new windowtopic was a case study on the influencing Success Factors within the process of continuous improvement. With my thesis I learned a lot about our own cultural and personal aspects at Pankl but also which bullet points should be focused on at strategic future decisions to further improve the success of this important area of activities.

What were your personal benefits from the program?
Personally I benefited most from the networking with the other students but also from Professors and lecturers working in the industry. 

In your opinion, what makes a good leader?
This is a good question – I just recently read the book “Shackleton's Way. Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer, opens an external URL in a new window“ and in it I found a lot of aspects that make a good leader. In short I would say:

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Listen to your employees
  • Ensure that all your employees do what they are best in
  • Trust your staff members and give enough room and freedom to act
  • Create a good working climate, have fun in what you do and make sure your employees share this feeling
  • Navigate the “boat” just like Mr. Shackleton did

Do you have any advice for our future students?
Use the positive energy at the beginning of the MBA, don’t fall back or behind. Contribute as much as you can. Use the opportunity to create a world-wide network. Keep in touch after graduation and have fun!