Today, we are having a chat with Christina Koch, Head of Central IT Processes at Lufthansa Group, Lecturer and MBA alumni. Back in 2011, Christina was one of the first students that enrolled in our MBA Aviation Management. More than 10 years later, Christina looks back at an exemplary career with a special peak in 2021, when she got awarded as one of Germany’s 25 female Future Thinkers by the magazine Business Insider Germany.
Christina, you graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business Administration at FH Ingolstadt. What made you decide to take on our MBA program?
My ultimate passion for aviation was my motivation to take on the program – with the specification on aviation know-how. Aspiring to climb the career ladder step by step, I expected the MBA to be a helpful boost – and a proper educational foundation rather than just the Bachelors. I aimed to expand my network by looking beyond the airlines, curious to gain insights into the world of the relevant business partners (e.g. airport, air traffic control) and to get to know their perspectives. The program enabled this while having renowned lecturers with manifold expertise on board as well as best-in-class partners such as the DFS, Fraport and MUC Airport. The international side of the program is of course very attractive: studies in English, a diverse set of students and lectures all around the world. I am a fan of the program’s holistic approach, not only focusing on the theoretical coursework but also on personal development. Plus, being the heart of the German airline industry, there is no better location than Frankfurt to pass this MBA. Summa summarum - the perfect match for a travel-enthusiast with a fascination for aviation and leadership ambitions.
Looking back, how did the MBA prepare you for your career?
In large corporations, an MBA is a prerequisite for a certain level of executive positions. In addition to this mandatory qualification, the program has equipped me with a broad knowledge of the aviation industry and helped me to improve my management skills such as negotiations, leadership, business behavior and rhetoric. The 2,5 years was an exceptional time with constant deadlines for papers, holidays spent in the classroom, upcoming exams – along with a demanding full-time job. Thus, I got to know my own limits and found methods of compensation which contribute to an effective work-life balance. Even today, I profit from these learnings so that I improved in assessing how much workload I can handle – and when it’s time to say “no”. Through the MBA I had the pleasure of broadening my network among fellow students. More than 10 years have passed, however we rely on each other as mutual sparring partners in case of any tricky professional situation – and became friends for life. This program trained and prepared me well for my leadership role. Thus, the tough period of combining studies and work paid off.
Do you have any career advice for our future students?
Expert knowledge can easily be trained. The drive, self-motivation and curiosity to step out of your individual comfort zone, is key to grow beyond your imagination. For me, a day is a successful day whenever I have learned something new – this is my way to shape my skills.
The word “career” is so subjective and has so different meanings to all of us. Whatever “career” means to you, I experienced that one can’t really plan a career upfront. Consequently, my advice is: keep your eyes open for opportunities and communicate clearly how much responsibility you are willing to take. Go through business life attentively and observe others – what can you adopt from role models in order to fine-tune your own repertoire of behaviors?
In September 2020 you started as a lecturer in Innovation Management here at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. What does innovation and actively shaping the future mean to you?
There are two aspects which make me love this topic. First, innovation is the elixir of enterprises. Only by constant improvement and wow-moments, can companies fascinate and retain customers.
Secondly, innovation derives in added value for society and changes the world. Just think of the incredible potential of sustainable, CO2-neutral flying. I can't wait for the upcoming generation of smart experts to revolutionize the mobility sector with creative ideas so that we all can travel with a good conscience, whether by car, train, ship or plane.
And on a personal note – isn’t it super cool and fulfilling to invent something new, or to inspire others to do so and thus, leave one’s own footprint in the long-run?!
Thanks for your time.