With a background in German literature and language, Esther Kühne considered a career in academia, but found her niche in corporate communications. Today, as Chief Editor of Swisscom's employee magazine, piazza, she has returned to the classroom to strengthen her communications management skills.
"Writing is really my first love," said Kühne, who has worked for Swisscom since September 2003, first as Communications Manager for Swisscom Mobile AG and, since January 2007, as Chief Editor of the company's employee magazine. "In my career, I have concentrated on writing and missed some of the experiences in economics and other business-related topics. MScom offers a broad overview of corporate communications management."
Kühne first heard about MScom from a friend.
"My friend told me, 'MScom is the most difficult thing you can do in further education in the communication area,'" she said. "What I wanted from MScom was not only the educational background, but the opportunity to meet interesting people with whom I should share experiences, to be able to profit from the knowledge of the professors, and participate fully in the discussions and group work. It's true that it's a very challenging program."
Meeting the challenges
Self-discipline and setting aside some leisure time help Kühne balance the demands of her professional life and her MScom studies.
"MScom's preparatory readings are very crucial. They're interesting but they would be even more interesting if I really had more time to immerse myself in them. You have to be very pragmatic and motivated all the time; if you're not motivated, you won't be successful in MScom. My husband helps keep me motivated.”
Even with all of those demands on her time, Kühne said MScom is worth the effort.
"For me, learning new things and making parallels with my job are very important. Since I've been in MScom, I have these small epiphanies where I say, 'Oh, I see how this information connects to my work,' and those moments of 'connecting the dots' make this experience very rewarding," said Kühne. "I also find the connections to the other MScom participants very rewarding. My classmates represent so many different professional experiences that I learn from them in our discussions."
Kühne's advice for other communications professionals considering MScom?
"Be aware that you'll be spending a lot of time with books and concepts. MScom encompasses many different topics and not every topic is as interesting as the next, but it's very rewarding to go through the program and see how all of these topics connect to one another," she said. "I find myself being able to keep a distance in the workplace and observe what's happening, connecting the models I've learned with the reality."
Text based on interview carried out in April 2007.