MBA – Leadership and Supply Chain Management

In April 2020, HHLA launched the “Leadership and Supply Chain Management” MBA program in cooperation with the Kühne Logistics University in order to expand the international network within the HHLA Group.

"We see the participants, whom we have also selected from our international companies, as future managers and people with responsibility. They all already have a first-class education and have added the MBA with a focus on leadership and supply chain management. For us at HHLA, this is a way of becoming more international in management and building up more intercultural skills."

What does it entail?

This part-time, English-language MBA program will be tailored to the corporate, strategic and cultural challenges specific to HHLA. The curriculum focuses on practical topics from competence areas such as digital transformation and sustainable added value. The program also offers room for sharing experiences and networking across borders and segments.

From Alumni for upcoming prospects

What you always wanted to know about the MBA. We asked our alumni about their experiences of the part-time Corporate MBA program and below are their answers.

The difference

What makes the Corporate MBA program at KLU so special?

“If you have the slightest form of interest or thought at least once about applying for the MBA, just go ahead and do it. I believe you will not regret it.” Dr. Volker Windeck, Senior Projekt Manager, Alumni 2021

“A lot of interesting, useful and diverse information. An effective combination of academic knowledge and real-life examples of practical applications. The highest professional level of professors and the quality of preparation of educational materials.”
“Hopefully the upcoming study trips next year, getting to know many other people from other departments and especially also colleagues from abroad.”
“Integration into HHLA, strong and supportive team of students, open-minded professors, innovative environment.”

Everything, but routine

How diverse is the course of study?

“The program is very interesting, but also very intense. It will take a lot of strength and energy, especially if you are not 25-30 years old ”Vasiliy Kachurenko, Finance director CTO, Alumni 2021

Decision Analysis - Fact Based Decision Making. In this course of lectures, the importance of a systems approach to decision making was demonstrated using a simulator. It is a very interesting tool not only for educational purposes, but also for application in work.”
Purchasing and Supplier Management was a surprising course. I always believed that purchasing is all about making cost cutting and making the best deals. But it turned out that there is a lot more procurement can do on collaboration as well as building up relationships with other companies or start-ups and seeing procurement & supplier management as a way of influencing the innovation process of a company.”

All leadership modules were very interesting. Learning about the latest leadership styles, tools to help us manage companies, teams and ourselves was exciting. We also did many self-reflection exercises which helped me a lot to align my personal values and find my own leadership style.”

“However, one practical exercise during the last module has particularly stuck in my mind. After two modules, a total of 4 days, on the topic of authentic and empathic leadership, a role-play was prepared for each student in which we could directly apply what we had learned. After we had spent many hours talking and practicing on the module, this role-play was the perfect finale… and showed us all quite clearly that it is not enough to spend four days of intensive work or even an MBA on a leadership topic in order to really be a leader in unexpected circumstances of stress. The exercise clearly showed that the path to becoming a good leader is long and that one must first learn to lead oneself before guiding and inspiring others.”

“Exploring new opportunities inside HHLA."

Vanessa Lasarczyk, Container Business Development, Alumni 2021

Don’t think twice.

Why is the participation of the MBA beneficial?

“With the MBA Program it was possible for me to advance my career and expand my knowledge at the same time."  Laura Vilamil,  Ship Planner, Alumni 2021

“I believe in continuous learning and thought that this was a great offer by HHLA to get to learn state of the art methods and information in Leadership and Supply Chain Management at one of the leading schools in this field. In addition, it was a great chance to build up a network among the fellow students and get in contact with great professors.”
“To become a strong leader and reliable employee. To understand business basics.”
“I wanted to challenge myself, gain more insight into the industry and in particular the future developments and challenges to be able to contribute and help to make our company successful in the future.”

“To be part of the cultural change process to be implemented within HHLA in the coming years.”

“I wanted to shake and wake up my brain a little bit and challenge myself to achieve the MBA title.”

Life is full of surprises

Did you expect this from a part-time program? 

“I did not expect the online courses to go that well. Even having an academic background in supply chain management, the courses were never boring to me and I always learned something new. For the courses who’s topics were familiar to me it was a great chance to update my knowledge and get the latest scientific insights.”
“Style of education. It was very interactive, also based on self-preparation, with many teamwork.”

“How quickly you can feel like a student again, even though you already have both feet on the ground in professional life, and how different the perspectives on the same company can be.”

“I did not expect that almost all modules (except for two), were held on-line via zoom-sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was new and challenging, but we mastered the situation well. Our classes were very participative and productive. Great praise to all lecturers and students at this point!”

Hands on!

How is the relationship between theory/ practice?

“Each module is structured differently. On the whole, there was always a combination of theory and group work. In some modules, presentations or assignments had to be handed in before the session and in others only afterwards.”

"Most of the time, we have already received materials to read in advance This prior knowledge is discussed in the courses and further developed together. Depending on the module, a case study is worked on and presented at the end, or a paper is written on defined questions. Some modules also end with an exam. I liked the high practical relevance of the modules, because the knowledge can be transferred directly to the own work situation.

"There are 30 modules. Each module last two days. Two modules are held on four consecutive days, from Friday to Monday. They start at 9:00 and end 17:00. In total, it takes 12 weekends and two study trips of one week each (Ohio State University, USA and Tongji Univerity, Shanghai, China) to complete all modules. For each module the student is given a grade, which is based either on take-home assignments like a case study, dissertation about a specific topic, self-reflection report, or in-class assignments like written tests, case presentations and class participation, depending on the lecturer. I liked very much all the lecturers. They are very competent and managed to pass on to us a great deal of knowledge and insights." 

"I would say the program helped me in almost all parts of my jobs."

Lucca Jux, Ship Planner, Alumni 2021



How can you imagine your fellow students?

“She/he must be open-minded, flexible and a team player”

“High intrinsic motivation. Curiosity & Openness. Endurance”

“Resilient, interested, ambitious”

“Interest in learning new things. Willingness to contribute to the discussions in class. Openness to self-reflection and sharing personal thoughts and feelings in a group.”

“Motivated, curious, questioning the status quo”

Been there, done that!

How does the program help you personally and professionally?


"The MBA has helped me a lot in my daily work as a team leader. I have learned to understand my team better and to deal with them in the right way" Julia Metslov, Head of the customer service HHLA TK Estonia, Alumni 2021

“Every time I talk to my colleagues, I focus much more on listening to them and understanding their point of view, rather than immediately judging or sharing my opinion.”

“I would say the program helped me in almost all parts of my jobs. How I structure my work, how I interact with my co-workers, how I deal with conflict and how I look at problems are just some examples on situations that I learned how to deal with in the MBA.”

“Through my studies, the interrelationships in a globally networked market came to the fore very clearly, which helps in assessing challenges and opportunities on the (world) market and our business.”

“I could immediately apply gained insights to real situations I was going through. For instances issues related to strategy development, leading complex projects, complexity of the work environment, and even dealing with difficult relation issues.”

Pull a rabbit out of the hat

Workmanagement, private life and MBA studies at the same time - is that possible?

"My secret to completing the MBA alongside work and personal life: A family that has been very supportive, a high level of self-motivation and the fun of learning new things." Stephanie Valentin, Ship Planner, Alumni 2021

“Make sure your private life, family and friends are not suffering under the additional work. Your family and friends are the ones that help you resist the pressure and workload. Therefore, try to plan your time you spend for studying and make sure there is remaining time to relax, go out or spend time with friends & family. Other than that, I found all topics very interesting which made it easy to sit down at the desk for studying after the kids have went to bed at night.”

“The schedule can obviously be quite full at times and it is important to be well organized and keep track of all deadlines, pre-readings, etc.. Nevertheless, I always made sure to also prioritize some time for myself to switch off and relax. Nobody benefits if you are too exhausted and tired to listen to what is going on in the course or at work.”

“Enjoy the ride – but it will be a tough one!”


How has HHLA helped you to develop?

“HHLA made this studies possible :)”

“Most important was the understanding for my situation, and of course the days off for the study weekends.”

“With a very professional team in the background; a great mentoring program and support with additional free time.” 

“Always a representative from HHLA helped us with words and deeds when we were at a loss. In addition, we had the opportunity to be part of a mentoring program, which meant that each student had regular contact with a manager from the company during, who supported their personal development during their studies and was available as a sparring partner.”

Hocus pocus

What's next?

"Enjoy studying, but the time will be hard! HHLA offers many different opportunities to develop after graduation, and that's exactly what my next goal will be - to use the knowledge I've gained, put it into practice and continue to challenge and develop myself." Julia Meining, HR Manager, Alumni 2021

“A degree in your pocket does not give anything, only the knowledge that you possess and which you can usefully apply is important. My next steps will be the process of implementing new knowledge into work in order to increase the efficiency of my company.”

“Exploring new opportunities inside HHLA.”

“In addition to my current tasks, I am interested in participating in new projects aimed at the development of the company.”
“Take a deep breath and enjoy the free evenings.”
“I would like to be part of the leadership coalition that is driving change at HHLA. I want to contribute to create the vision of the future HHLA, develop strategies to achieve this vision, and help to guide people through this major change.”

Staff members interested in this corporate MBA program must meet the following formal requirements:

  • Recognized university degree (at least bachelor level). Passing the GMAT entry test is an alternative route for particularly suitable candidates without a previous degree (decided on a case-by-case basis).
  • Sound knowledge of English (proven by TOEFL 90 iBT points, IELTS score of 6.5 or a comparable qualification).
  • At least three years of professional experience, one of which has been within the HHLA Group.

Who can participate?

This part-time master’s program has a total duration of 17 months. In addition to intensive independent learning with comprehensive study materials and monthly four-day seminars (Friday to Monday) during the first 12 months, the program also includes two week-long stays abroad in Shanghai, China, and Ohio, USA. Students then have five months to produce their master’s theses.

Find more information on KLU Homepage

What does the academic calendar look like?

Contact person

Join our team!

Become part of our diverse teams and start your career or training at HHLA!

View current job offers