Get to know our Executive MPA: Q&A with student ambassador Benedikt Coekoll

The final deadline to apply for Fall 2024 entry into our Executive MPA programme is just around the corner on 1 August. If you’re still on the fence or just curious to know a little more about the student experience, this blog post is for you. Benedikt Coekoll, a first-year Executive MPA student and student ambassador, elaborates on his career, how it led him to join the programme, and what the student experience has been like so far.

Q: Hi! Can you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your career up until the point that you decided to pursue the Executive Master at Hertie.

A: Hi! My name is Benedikt and currently I am a senior advisor and co-managing director of a global non-profit start-up called Labor Mobility Partnerships (LaMP). I spent the first 10 years of my career in international development and management consulting in various places including Afghanistan, Jordan, Albania and Turkey. My focus has shifted a bit over the years from education and employment promotion for refugees to supporting and advocating for more and better labor migration around the world.

Q: One year in, what has been your favorite course so far? Which professor have you most enjoyed learning from?

A: That’s a tough one given that Hertie professors across the board provide inspiring insights and I really enjoyed the great majority of my courses so far. But if I had to name one, it would be the “Power & Influence” leadership course by Professor Johanna Mair - a beautifully curated, extremely fun, eye-opening and engaging class whose lessons continue to leave a positive mark on my professional career.

Q: How do you manage your time being a part-time student while continuing to work 80% hours at your job?

A: I am in the fortunate position that my employer is a global and fully remote organisation where you can be very flexible, as long as you get your work done. But of course, if work peaks coincide with several courses and assignments, it can be challenging. In these cases, the experience from my first master’s degree and the past ten years of being a professional certainly helps with setting priorities and being more efficient than in previous studies.

Q: What piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering the Executive Master of Public Administration at Hertie?

A: As an early to mid-career programme, the Executive MPA is certainly something that you do for yourself rather than for the degree as such. To make the most out of it beyond the leadership and management skills you will acquire, if possible, I would advise everyone to move here to enjoy all the great things Hertie, its network and events, and Berlin as a city has to offer. A world-class public policy school like Hertie lives and breathes from the open debates and the exchange of ideas on the future of our societies that are cultivated on and around the campus. Soaking in this vibe is ultimately what opens your horizon and helps you grow.

Q: Last question: What is your favorite place to grab lunch or coffee near campus?

A: Many of the international fellow students in my cohort turned out to be great fans of the School of Music canteen around the corner from Hertie. The lunch there is super affordable, and the vibe for sure takes you back to your freshman years, which date some 10-15 years back for most of us. Foodwise, I prefer some light Italian though, at Dolcini or Bocca Di Bacco, for example.

If you have any further questions about the Executive MPA programme or the application process, check out our application tips and please do not hesitate to reach out at empa-admissions[at]hertie-school[dot]org. We look forward to hearing from you!


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