From ambition to achievement: the journey of three EDU Effective scholars

At EDU Effective, we firmly believe that education should always be within reach, no matter the hurdles life throws your way. It’s not just about having the means; it’s about making a real difference where needed most. Our commitment revolves around championing charitable projects, with one core idea driving us forward: making education accessible to everyone.

20 scholarships for gifted students

In 2023, thanks to the generosity of our alums, we effortlessly fulfilled the Joseph LeVaqueze Scholarship fund. This allowed us to turn the dreams of 20 talented scholars into reality, covering half their tuition costs. We’ve had the privilege of speaking with three remarkable women, each with a story as powerful as it is inspiring. We’re excited to share their journeys with our EDU community.

Meet Jessica Nottelmann

Jessica Esther Nottelmann is a nurse in the functional area of anesthesia. At the hospital, she is primarily responsible for pediatric anesthesia, instructs new employees, and manages shifts. In addition to her work as a nurse, she is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in business psychology with a focus on health and occupational psychology and a Master’s degree in management. She thus combines all her interests on her educational path.

How has your experience as a certified nurse influenced your decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business psychology and an MBA?

My name is Jessica Esther Nottelmann. I am 24 years old, and I was born in Cologne. However, I’ve lived in our capital, Berlin, for about a year and a half. Here is a brief overview of my professional career so far. After graduating high school, I completed a research program for Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer at the University Hospital. In the same year, I began my training as a nurse. After graduating, I first worked in an anesthesiology intensive care unit, and since moving to Berlin, I have been working in anesthesia.

I quickly felt that I had not yet reached the end of my career and wanted to expand my knowledge. The Business Psychology course combined a wide range of interests on my part, which is why I am now in the 2nd semester of the Bachelor’s course. I also liked the range of job opportunities after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. However, the modules on the course focus very strongly on the discipline of psychology, which is why I have also been studying for my MBA in Management for a few months now.

Can you elaborate on how your background in operational health management has shaped your perspective on business management in hospitals?

I chose the “Executive management” specialization because the modules cover a wide range of knowledge. From project management to finance and human resources.

In what ways do you believe education should be independent of a person’s financial situation, and how has this belief motivated your pursuit of the MBA?

Suppose you look at socio-economic studies on education and income or origin. In that case, it can unfortunately not be denied, even today, that one’s socio-economic status or that of one’s parents significantly influences the acquisition of academic qualifications.

At the same time, however, anyone willing to expand their knowledge has the opportunity to do so. Be it via BaFög or scholarships. For as long as I can remember, thinking and working as independently and goal-oriented as possible has always been important. As I have been working since I was an adult and earned my own money, it was out of the question for me to have my Bachelor’s or Master’s degree financed by my wonderful parents. The limit of my autonomy is too high.

I received a scholarship for both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. This is also proof that the efforts of the Abitur and the training were worth it.

How do you foresee combining your medical expertise with business psychology to contribute to the field uniquely?

The combination of medicine, business psychology, and management may seem wild initially, but there are more parallels than you might think. I am still deciding where to go, but my main areas of interest have quickly crystallized. One thing close to my heart is occupational health management, i.e., promoting and maintaining employees in the workplace. Especially in today’s world of work 4.0, occupational health management offers a wide range of measures to maintain primary, secondary, and tertiary health. 

The area of human resources is exciting and appealing. As the name suggests, this is also about promoting people’s resources in the work context. Whether through the recruitment of new employees or exceptional support by providing learning opportunities.

Please share a specific goal or aspiration you hope to achieve through the EDU Effective MBA program.

In addition to the points of interest mentioned above, I am keen to use the knowledge I have acquired as a nurse. As a shift manager in a hospital, I naturally need more experience in organization and staff communication in my younger years. In addition to the whole range of

knowledge, I am also learning many soft skills. Especially in the areas of communication, e.g., active listening, but also other skills, such as how to behave appreciatively towards others professionally.

Just as it is always essential to have an all-round view in a hospital, I want to gain this all-round view not only as a nurse but also as a person.

Meet Helen Navratilova

Helen graduated from the University with a focus on marketing. Right after school, she ventured into the finance sector as a phone consultant. She has experience in sales and consultancy, dedicating the last four years to leading a sales team.

Congratulations on your scholarship, Helen! Please share your background with our readers.

Yes, sure! I’m on parental leave, fully committed to caring for my two-year-old daughter. Career used to be my priority, but that has changed. Now, the most essential thing in my life is my family. I’ve slowed down significantly, learning to live in the present. I’ve become more patient and more wise. These are new aspects of my life that will also positively influence my professional side. I needed to nurture and adapt these qualities to a business environment, so I decided to further my education and enroll in an MBA program.

How did you first come across EDU Effective Business School? And what specialization did you choose?

I always said that if I ever went on parental leave, I would want to use that time for family care and my development. I spent a lot of time considering which direction to take and what form of education to pursue. So, I started googling. My browser history was filled with keywords like coaching, psychology, and management, leading me to various ads for additional education, especially on social networks. EDU Effective stood out from the vast array of options. I chose the Coaching, Mentoring, and Leadership program. This program perfectly matched my expectations. My husband completed this program last year, so I already had some feedback.

What aspects of studying at EDU Effective are most attractive, and how do they align with your career goals?

The school must be 100% online, eliminating the need for commuting. Additionally, there are no fixed time slots for logging in, allowing me to study whenever it suits me, like when my daughter is asleep. Another decisive factor is the unbeatable price, making education accessible to everyone. But most importantly, my field of study is what I need. Coaching is very close to my heart, and learning techniques to deepen this skill is fantastic.

You mentioned you’re currently on parental leave. Will studying eventually help when looking for job opportunities? And do you have a dream position you’d like to see yourself in eventually?

Absolutely. Although I mentioned earlier that motherhood has taught me many skills that could make me a better manager, you often doubt yourself after a long break from work. Will I still be able to lead a team and motivate them to achieve their best, or is my head just filled with children’s rhymes and songs now? In my opinion, confidence is the main issue with returning to work – especially for women – after parental leave. It’s tough to stand before a team, superiors, or HR and defend your work qualities when you’ve been dedicated to something entirely different in recent years. 

However, as I began to go through various microlearning modules, I realized that those skills hadn’t disappeared, that they were still there, along with the desire to succeed in a work environment. My job before going on parental leave, leading a team of salespeople, will suit me well even after returning. But I’m also very drawn to coaching, so I don’t rule out that I might want to deal with, for example, team dynamics among managers, individual talent development, or even personality coaching outside of the business field in the future.

What do you think studying will bring you?

Confidence. It will also anchor and deepen my knowledge and skills in leading and coaching teams. It will guide me in my future career path.

Meet Alexandra Katzian

A passion for education, diverse skills, and active social engagement characterize Alexandra’s journey. Alongside my academic and professional commitments, I am a dedicated mother and loving wife, pursuing an MSc. in Project Management at EDU Effective. At home, my two tomcats, Karl and Bernhard, add joy to my life.

First, tell us a bit about yourself, Alexandra.

I was born in Austria and grew up partially in South Korea and partially in Austria. After returning to Europe, I attended a high school focused on Hotel management and tourism. After that, I attended Johannes Kepler University in Linz and Paris Lodron University in Salzburg. I studied diverse subjects ranging from law, pol-sci, and religious studies to pedagogy, business administration, and sociology. Studying and education has always been one of my great passions.

In 2018, my husband and I decided to move to a different state in Austria, from Upper Austria to Lower Austria, and settled into our new home in a village very nicely. Being a city girl growing up, I will forever be glad to have moved to the countryside. In 2020, amidst the chaos of COVID-19, we were blessed with our little girl. She is one of my greatest inspirations. I was a research assistant at KPH Wien/Krems, working on different projects around school religious education and oral history. In 2022, I switched careers from the academic path to the industry path. I am so glad I took the plunge!

Besides academics, I hold numerous certificates in personality growth, mindfulness training, communications training, and many others. I am incredibly fortunate because I get to teach courses through my job to help others around me become the best version of themselves.

My passions are spending time with my loved ones, reading, writing, volunteering in our community, and helping others in need. And as generic as it may sound: cooking. Whenever we find the time, we like to cook everything from scratch and make it a huge family affair.

Why have you applied for a scholarship at EDU Effective Business School? Was there anything specific that was appealing to you?

About a year ago, I enrolled in your Leadership short course and found the micro-learning format incredibly beneficial. My interests often take a back seat with a hectic lifestyle, and committing to lengthy endeavors can be challenging. While occasional all-nighters fueled by motivation are enjoyable, most nights, I prefer winding down in bed with my husband, daughter, and cats, immersing myself in a delightful book for a restful night’s sleep. The beauty of dedicating just 15 minutes a day (or adjusting as needed) to the course is that it alleviates significant stress. This approach allows me to absorb the materials, understand them thoroughly, and complete exams without requiring an extensive time commitment every day or week. I’m not in a position, nor am I inclined, to sacrifice more time. In a few years, this may change, but this manageable commitment aligns perfectly with my lifestyle for now.

In your cover letter, you said you would like to pursue either an LLM or MSc. What program have you chosen in the end, and why?

I chose the MSc Project Management because I work as a project manager for one of the EU programs for regional development. This program will further my understanding of PM and help me acquire new tools to improve my job.

Working in regional development is not just a job for me; it’s a passion, a calling, and a commitment to making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and communities. I am fueled daily by the profound belief that empowering and uplifting regions lead to transformative change that reverberates beyond economic statistics. The opportunity to catalyze positive growth and progress makes my role so fulfilling. Witnessing the resilience of local communities and the untapped potential within our region fills me with an unbridled sense of purpose. I see beyond the surface; I know the heartbeat of a community, the dreams of its people, and the aspirations that, with the proper support, can flourish into remarkable achievements. From collaborating with local businesses to engaging with community leaders, every interaction is a chance to build bridges and forge connections. It’s about fostering partnerships beyond mere transactions and building relationships that stand the test of time, laying the foundation for sustainable development that benefits everyone involved.

My job is not confined to an office or a set of tasks; it’s a commitment to being a positive force for change. It’s about being part of something greater than myself, a movement towards inclusive growth, sustainable development, and the empowerment of individuals who, with the proper support, can become the architects of their success.

We keep mentioning that we support working mums; you said you work and care for your children. How do you balance both responsibilities? Do you have any tips and tricks you’d like to share with fellow mums in the EDU community?

Being a mother to a vibrant 3-year-old girl, working full-time as a dedicated project manager, and simultaneously pursuing my education is challenging. Yet, amid this whirlwind, I’ve discovered an unyielding well of motivation that propels me forward every day. She is energetic, sassy in a good way, bright, and just all-round fabulous. I work full time as a PM, and she attends daycare three days a week from 7 to 1 pm. I may be a unicorn when it comes to balancing everything, but from the moment she was born, I have done precisely that. I take my baby to meetings, schedule ZOOM calls around nap time, and tell my business clients I will bring her. Because it is how I was raised, my mom showed me early on that having a child and a career is possible. Does it always work to bring her to a meeting? No, of course not. There are times when I ask someone to help me out. Sometimes, I give her my cell phone so she can watch some YouTube videos until I am done. We are all human, and children will be children.

My daughter is my greatest inspiration and the driving force behind my relentless pursuit of balance and success. Every late-night study session, every project deadline, and every moment of fatigue is eclipsed by the vision of creating a brighter future for her. I want to be the living embodiment of resilience, showing her that dreams are achievable through hard work and determination. Balancing the demands of work, motherhood, and education is an art that requires meticulous planning and unwavering commitment. It is about turning every challenge into an opportunity to showcase the strength that lies within. My role as a project manager has taught me invaluable skills in time management and organizational efficiency, which I seamlessly apply to every facet of my life.

During meetings and project timelines, my daughter serves as a constant reminder of why I embarked on this journey in the first place. She fuels my ambition, and her laughter is the melody that accompanies my late-night study sessions. Being a mother while navigating a full-time job and academic responsibilities is not easy, but it is a testament to the resilience that exists within every woman. I am motivated by the belief that I am not just securing a future for myself but laying the foundation for my daughter’s aspirations. It’s about instilling in her the idea that women can simultaneously be mothers, career professionals, and lifelong learners. I want her to witness firsthand that boundaries exist to be pushed and dreams are meant to be pursued relentlessly, just as my mother has done for me. 

The key to success in this intricate balancing act is wholeheartedly embracing every role. When at work, I am immersed in the intricacies of project management, and when with my daughter, I am fully present, cherishing every moment. The boundaries between these roles blur, creating a harmonious rhythm that allows me to give my best in every aspect of my life. There are days when exhaustion threatens to overshadow everything, but knowing that I am setting an example for my daughter pushes me to overcome every obstacle. My journey is a testament to the fact that, as mothers, we can be architects of our destiny while nurturing the next generation of leaders. In this intricate dance of responsibilities, I’ve realized that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity. Taking moments for myself rejuvenates my spirit, allowing me to return to my roles with renewed vigor. Balancing motherhood, a demanding career, and education is not about perfection; it’s about embracing imperfections and finding strength in vulnerability.

Here are my tips for fellow moms (WE GOT THIS):

  • Prioritize self-care: Remember, your needs and feelings are valid. Taking a break when necessary is not just okay; it’s essential.
  • Child first, work and education second: Place your child’s needs above work or studies whenever possible. Create a flexible environment, like having a dedicated space for your little one in your home office. This way, you can both work harmoniously yet be ready to pause and provide cuddles when needed.
  • Infuse fun into busy times: Schedule enjoyable activities during your hectic moments. For instance, if a work task requires bringing your child along, plan a snack break or visit the playground afterward.
  • Foster communication in your social network: A robust support system is invaluable. Regularly communicate with friends and family to share experiences, seek advice, and maintain a connection.
  • Set achievable goals: Be realistic with your expectations, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall short. Life is unpredictable, and it’s okay to adapt.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help: Recognize that seeking assistance is a sign of strength, not weakness. Reach out to friends, family, or professionals when needed.
  •  Learn to say no: Prioritize your well-being by occasionally declining additional responsibilities. It’s okay to set boundaries.
  • Utilize productivity methods: Familiarize yourself with techniques like the Eisenhower Method to effectively prioritize tasks. Organizing your to-dos into four categories can significantly enhance efficiency.
  • Prioritize health: Ensure you get sufficient sleep, stay hydrated, and incorporate short walks into your routine. Small, consistent acts of self-care can make a big difference.
  • Embrace multitasking: When appropriate, combine activities to maximize efficiency. Consider listening to lessons while cooking or exercising, creating a space where learning seamlessly integrates with other aspects of your daily life.

Where do you see yourself in two years? What’s the ultimate goal you want to reach?

This question challenges me to navigate between the present, which I genuinely love, and the aspirations that fuel my ambitions. Right now, I am delighted and deeply invested in a job that resonates with me. The projects we undertake to enhance the standard of living in our region bring me immense joy. I am particularly drawn to the local impact, relishing interactions with the communities around me. My ultimate goal is to preserve and sustain this current state of happiness.

My portfolio includes several trainer licenses, and conducting workshops is a gratifying part of my professional life. Looking ahead, I envision expanding my role as a consultant, using my knowledge to assist businesses and foster content and fulfilled teams. Teaching and leading workshops remain integral to my passion, and I aspire to transform this wealth of knowledge into a published book. Collaborating with a close friend on a sustainability manuscript, we aim to see it in print within the next two years.

In the next couple of years, I see myself advancing in my education, relishing the joys of parenthood with a happy and cherished child, and having the unwavering support of a loving husband. My diverse goals encompass personal growth, contributing to sustainable practices, and maintaining the delicate balance of happiness in my personal and professional life.

Joseph James LeVesque Scholarship Fund in 2024

This year, we plan to give out at least 20 scholarships. We’ve collected applications for this year’s first round throughout February 2024. Now is the time to evaluate them, and at the end of March, we’ll announce the final names of the scholarship recipients. If you send out your application, we wish you good luck!!

Have questions about studying at EDU Effective? Write to us or give us a call. Also, check out our frequently asked questions!

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