Make no small plans.
They do not possess the magic to  stir man's blood and will remain unrealised.  Make big plans, aim high in hope - and work!

Daniel Hudson Burnham
(1846 - 1942, Architect in Chicago)

   Andrea Michel: I did it for myself.

Compact Course of Study Financial Management
Flexible Study Schedule Overcomes the Extra-Occupational Stress Factor

To Andrea Michel (38) from Bodenheim (near Mainz) learning has been and always will be a guiding principle throughout her entire life: while pursuing her professional career as a capacity planner for Adam Opel GmbH (Adam Opel Ltd.) she obtained her diploma certificate as "Financial Economist (BI)" (Dipl.-Finanzökonom (BI)) in 2005 after attending the compact course at the Betriebswirtschaftliches Institut & Seminar Basel AG (Basel Institute and Seminar of Business Administration plc) with a mark of 1.33.

About 20 years ago Andrea Michel entered professional life by taking up a commercial apprenticeship with the car construction company Opel. After completing her apprenticeship she was clear about one thing: "This isn't necessarily the path my career will go!". However, one thing seemed predetermined, the fact that she would always be intent on furthering her education. In parallel to doing her daytime job, she did her A-levels at an evening school in Wiesbaden. "Studying from 6pm to 10pm every night was one of the hardest experiences in my life," she says recalling those days. After doing her A-levels she attended a course in Business Administration at the Verwaltungs- und Wirtschaftsakademie (VWA) in Mainz (Mainz Graduate Academy for Administration and Commerce), once again in parallel to her daytime job. The 38-year-old further attended "minor" courses in rhetoric and languages and trained as a mentor.

Specialisation in Financial Management
After taking a six-year break from "swotting" in parallel to working she once again whetted her appetite for obtaining theoretical knowledge, "I need to expand my knowledge of Business Administration." she decided in the autumn of 2004. While browsing the internet for relevant courses she came across the offer of a Distance Learning Course at the Betriebswirtschaftliches Institut & Seminar Basel AG. I was happy to carry the burden of studying while working with the objective of learning new things. "However, it would have been too stressful if I actually had to be present at the school in order to attend classes," Andrea Michel admitted.

Study Course with Flexible Time Management
She particularly appreciated the fact that the concept of learning was totally flexible with no deadlines for written work to be handed in. "Since I was totally in control of my own time schedule I could find our for myself which learning pace suited me," Andrea Michel said whose working day is far from over after eight hours. In her position as Powertrain Capacity Planning Manager she is responsible for devising plans for Opel throughout Europe so that there are no bottlenecks in the supply and delivery of engines and gearboxes at the relevant production sites. There were times when she was not free to study at all for two or three weeks on end. Then again, she went through phases where she was able to plough through the recommended reading list for twelve hours non-stop. She also made sure that she didn't neglect her workout so she would have a balance: she played golf and went climbing and skiing.

Although she had to follow a tight schedule she worked through the course modules with great commitment and determination. It took her four to five weeks to work through the demanding script in preparation for the examination. She thought some of them were rather "hard to crack".

In practical terms, she was able to apply her skills in her favourite area, "Controlling". Target-Actual Comparisons as commonly applied in Controlling suited her well. "This really is of great help in reality, Controlling is an area that cannot be avoided." After passing the five intermediate examinations she decided to prepare a diploma thesis instead of sitting a four-hour final examination. "I've done enough written exams in my time, " she explained, "however I really wanted to be well-versed in one subject." Sitting the four-hour exam would have meant she would have had to invest less time until she would actually hold the certificate in her hands.

She spent about five months delving into topic of "Balanced Scorecard (BSC), Management Methods & Controlling Tools - Fundamentals, Implementation, Development". By means of intensive research she examined the key ratios which are widely applied in Business Administration. This tool works in support of the relatively simple definition of ratios which are relevant to targets and strategies as well as their application in the company environment. She submitted a paper of 80 pages in July 2005.

Next Step on the Career Ladder
Having pocketed her Certificate from the compact course of study "Financial Management" she managed to go up one step on the career ladder. She had taken the opportunity within the company to "warm up" for higher goals by conducting high level meetings. The next level was already waiting to be conquered by Andrea Michel: From1st July 2006 she became Head of department for Capacity and Resource Planning with the car components manufacturer Eberspächer. She was sure that it was the overall impression, the complete package which was decisive when a head hunter approached her. She had not forwarded her application, however, she said that the routine procedures during her studies and the competent way she had managed stress were extremely helpful when going to the assessment Centre and working through the case study.

Andrea Michel regards the sum of learning for all your life as an investment into success. In her opinion employees ought to invest into their own training and further education. The fact that she had always shown a lot of personal commitment was always well-received by her employers - this would also be of benefit when negotiating a pay rise. However, the financial benefit has never been the prime motive here. "I did it for myself." Andrea Michel says.

Andrea Michel, D-55294 Bodenheim