Matthias Roth: ‘Experience is not enough’

22 Mar 2023

Matthias Roth, from Germany, has been working in China since 2005. He’s the Technical Director at SOMMER Automation & Radio, Shanghai, and also a Year One student in the International MBA for Executives programme at International Business School Suzhou. Roth shares with us why he chose to study an MBA in China and his learning experience at XJTLU.

Matthias Roth

Q: What made you want to study at XJTLU?
A: I am curious about everything and constantly looking for ways to improve myself. Also, over the last few years, many of my international friends got additional certificates in their home countries and I often felt that I was being left out. When I discovered that IBSS offers English programmes, I was immediately interested!

Q: Why did you choose IBSS over other business schools?

A: The main reason I chose IBSS was that I felt that it shouldn’t be too difficult for me to attend onsite lectures. Before I made my final decision, I got in touch with Dr Nuno Camara, the Programme Director, to see whether I could come to campus to get a feel for the school’s environment and I was impressed right from the start.

Q: What opportunities are you seeking in this particular programme?

A: When I started working in China, I was lucky enough to get a management position relatively quickly, but that meant I had to learn things the hard way. I’m now hoping to refine my skills as a manager and also get insights into areas that I haven’t even touched yet.

Matthias Roth and his family

Q: What topics in the programme have you found most interesting or useful?  

A: The programme offers a good mix of modules where I already have some experience and areas where I am weaker. From what I can see so far, I find all modules very interesting and would not want to miss any of them.

Q: Outside of your classes, how has studying at XJTLU helped you in your career?

A: For one assignment, we had to interview high profile executives, so I chose two very suitable people whom I had already known for a long time. Although I thought I knew them very well, I was amazed to get so much new information from them about management.

I thought about this for quite a while, and it seems we often do not make use enough of the resources that we already have on hand.

So now I’m very happy about the variety of skills in our classroom. We have general managers, HR managers, and finance, marketing and production managers, who all have unique experiences to share. As all of my classmates are very experienced professionals and often from different fields, we’ve already started to ask each other for advice in problems in our daily job.

Q: What do you think of the teaching?

A: I’m extremely satisfied. The professors I had in the last semester shared a lot of experience with us and they are all very supportive.

I travelled to Germany for a few weeks last year, so I had to attend some lectures online and it was just not the same. When I came back to the University, my professor offered me a face to face summary to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I really appreciated that!

Matthias Roth and his family in a park 

Q: What do you think of Suzhou?

A: I have been travelling a lot in China over the last two decades and always found Suzhou to be the best place to live in. It has almost all the benefits of Shanghai, but without the downsides of being too expensive and busy.

Although it’s a city of 13 million people, Suzhou has somehow managed to keep the character of a small town by offering the opportunities of a true metropolis at the same time. My family and I love to cycle around Jinji Lake or have picnics with friends in the many parks around our home in Suzhou Industrial Park. There is a reason why I have lived here for so long!


By Xinmin Han
Edited by Patricia Pieterse
Photos by Matthias Roth

22 Mar 2023


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