Jan Dirk Fruechtenicht (MA Human Resource Management 2006)

Jan Dirk Fruechtenicht

Why did you choose Leeds University Business School?

I chose Leeds University Business School because of the school's strong research reputation and the courses covered by the MA programme in comparison to other universities.

How had you heard about Leeds University Business School?

Internet research and business school rankings.

Tell us about your course – why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to choose the Business School/University?

When I was about to apply for MA programme I wasn't sure whether to pursue a PhD afterwards or start working in HR. Therefore it was important to me that the university I was about to choose offered a strong research orientation including PhD supervision related to my course on the one hand. On the other hand I had to offer future employers a convincing course profile. Both aspects were covered by Leeds University Business School in a very convincing manner.

What was the best part of your studies here – what did you enjoy the most?

The discussions with our course teachers were inspiring and showed their passion for the subject they were teaching. I also welcomed the services of the school, e.g. take-away course material after the lectures for preparing the next seminars and a very well structured library. These services saved quite a lot of time.

Do you have any noteworthy achievements from your study at the Business School that you can tell us about?

Abecedar prize for best international student on the MA HRM programme, graduation with distinction.

How has your career progressed since leaving the Business School? Have there been any notable highlights?

I entered a postgraduate trainee programme in HR with GDF SUEZ in mid 2007, one of the worlds largest energy and utility companies. After one year I was asked to take over the role as an HR business partner, serving employees and managers up to board-level at the German headquarters based in Berlin.

In 2009 I was asked to take over a team manager position in HR administration. Until 2012 I was responsible for a dozen employees across four German sites, managing the German payroll administration, our SAP HCM IT landscape and all related HR administration processes. During this time I was in charge of various important HR-related projects, e.g. a post-merger integration project with a 6-digit budget. In 2012 I was again asked to change positions and join our inhouse consulting team as project management advisor.

What advice do you have for current students or alumni wishing to pursue a similar career?

Work hard, be ready to also take over tasks outside your preferred comfort zone with passion, show true enthusiasm for your job and challenges outside your current profession, look for opportunities and don't be afraid to ask for help and support.

These habits will show your boss (and your bosses boss) that you are willing to walk the extra mile, that you can accomplish pretty much any challenge with good results because you care about them and that you're still grounded and friendly and professional to you co-workers. With these habits, interesting opportunities will find you automatically.

I can summarize the university of Leeds in one word: professional! The staff was always friendly and eager to help, students received a lot of services to their tuition fees, the library was very well organised, the teaching staff passionate and interested in the students' opinion. 

What would you say is your defining memory of studying here?

The friendships made - in 6 weeks I will travel to the wedding of a former housemate in Cambridge.