Simon Linder

Nationality: German
Age: 31
Job title: Head of Accounting and Controlling BU Building+Industry, Winkelmann Group GmbH
Previous degree: Diploma in Business and Economics at the University of Mannheim

In addition to his Executive MBA in Rotterdam, Simon Linder lives and works near Munster, Germany during the week. He spends his weekends in Hamburg with his fiancé and family. He enjoys travelling in Asia and Europe, likes rowing and was a German champion in competitive rowing.  

Simon Linder

1. Why did you decide to do an MBA at RSM?

“When I was at a rowing camp in the USA as a teenager, I was inspired by everyone’s college ambitions. After studying in Germany, I ended up working in Beijing and Shanghai. But I’ve always wanted to study in a foreign country. One of the major benefits of RSM’s Executive MBA is the diversity beyond the theory and case studies – it’s such an international programme. This is where you can learn a lot – nothing is comparable to RSM.” 

2. How are you managing to balance studying with work?

“The programme’s mix of classes and working at home makes it possible to combine it with my private life. The home studying is on evenings, and team calls on weekends. It’s challenging, but if you want to do it, you have to make time for it. I somehow make it work because it’s rewarding. I also get support from my company. I’m paying for the EMBA but they give me some extra holiday time to go on the study trip and attend classes.”

3. How has the Personal Leadership Development programme affected you?

“I was sceptical about this, but only six weeks into the EMBA I already have some good, new ideas on how to improve things when managing a team. We’ve had sessions on giving and receiving feedback, and I have a good relationship with all of my EMBA team members. We have created a circle of trust so everyone can openly share input, and call each other for direct and helpful feedback because we're not part of each other’s companies. It’s valuable to understand how you act, and how others see you as a manager or colleague.”

4. What has been the best part of the EMBA so far?

“My classmates are my main driver; they’re so diverse with industry and cultural backgrounds. This is where you can learn a lot. There are so many perspectives and approaches in describing a problem and solving it, on many topics. We became a tight group right away; everyone is contributing something and wants to get a lot out of the programme. I’ve never experienced such positive energy and spirit before. I always look forward to the Fridays I come to Rotterdam.”

5. How is the RSM MBA changing how you work?

“My communication and leadership skills are improving so you learn how to interact with colleagues, team members, and your boss in a different way. I’m always very driven by efficiency and profitability, but now have a broader view of the company, including the people I work with. And, my theoretical background is increasing with more specific know-how and personal views.”

6. What’s next after the Executive MBA?

“I pursue to get promoted. With this backpack full of knowledge from the EMBA, I will be better prepared to achieve that, and be successful in my new position. Also, my classmates are a wonderful network that will be around forever, and we’ll always be able to ask each other for advice – now and in the future.”