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5 Rules for Success

4. know your target group
If you know your customer well,  you will understand his needs better.  Concentrate on a specific target group with similar  needs, similar situations, similar aims and problems.


   Marcel Keller: Everything under Control with Controlling

Compact Course of Study Business Administration

"I wanted to bring my knowledge of Controlling up-to-date", Marcel Keller (42) said explaining his motivation for taking a Compact Course of Study in Financial Management. In December 2005 he successfully completed the course with a "Financial Economist Diploma Certificate (BI)" with a mark of 5.8.

His professional career took Marcel Keller directly to the world of company ratios. After passing the "Handelsmaturat" (Schwiss Commercial School A-Levels) he initially trainined as a bookkeeper and controller before joining the company of Pharmaton SA in Lugano as controller eleven years ago, a subsidiary of the German company group Boehringer Ingelheim.

A Flood of Appointments Speaks in Favour of a Felxible Distance Learning Course
It had always been his intention to be on the ball in his specialist area supplying the decision-makers within the company with ratios and figures. In 2001 he laid the first foundation stone for his expertise in Controlling by attending a course at the Controlling Academy with Dr Albrecht Deyhle. He already knew then: he no longer had the time to personally attend a course of study - though it might be at weekends -while he was working."I work for a company group where a lot of meetings take place and there is a real flood of appointments. If I want to further my education it would have to be an extra-occupational course which I can do from home," he siad setting the parameters for his next challenge in terms of further education. I do have the time to attend the odd seminar here and there for a few days at a time but not for a longer period," the controller said. He would like to keep up with the latest developments in his area of expertise.

The Distance Learning Course at an Institute of Business Administration - he came across an advertisement while reading the newspaper - seemed to be tailored exactly to his needs. In 2005 he took up a course of study in "Financial Management" providing him with the perfect tool for keeping up with the latest theories while pursuing his professional career. "IM very close to the subject in reality. This is why I am interested to find out which other methods this theory has in store." However, he did not consider all the modules equally important to his requirement. This is reflected in the different periods of time which he dedicated to the various sections.

Early Study Shift at the Office
"I wanted to study at times that suited me", Marcel Keller explained his premise which came true in the end. Nevertheless, he approached the course with discipline: Although he usually began his normal working day at 8.30 he arrived at the office at 7 to do some studying in peace and quiet and work through a few paragraphs at least. "It was very convenient to be able to arrange my schedule to my liking," he said giving his opinion. Keller said there were also differences in the time required to work through the different modules which he considered to be very close to reality. He admits having spent little time on the module on Accounting, "I was already familiar with many items from my own practical experience." He concentrated his attention on his core area of expertise Controlling as well as Cost and Performance Accounting. This was also done for the sake of closing any gaps in his knowledge. "I had simply forgotten about some theoretical details." When the discussion turned to the more interesting details Marcel Keller gave it 150 percent. "I worked through every single calculation and did more exercises than were required." His time budget for this area amounted to about eight to ten hours a week. "I tried to get the best out of it for myself."

Studies Reconcilable with Family Life
It was easy to integrate my learning schedule for the Distance Learning Course into my family life. "It wasn't difficult at all to take time out for studying." When his wife watched TV in the evenings he would study. In the summer his wife and daughter went to the swimming pool while he was occupied himself with books and tasks. He intensified his learning effort particularly before the intermediate examinations so that he would not find it difficult to pass. According to the 42-year old controller, "The questions were clear and target-oriented."

Side Effect " German Course"
According to Marcel Keller learning about foreign languages was a rather agreeable side effect to attending the Compact Course of Study. In parallel to brushing up his knowledge of Controlling he also paid attention to the use of the German language. Born in Zurich - with German roots - he moved to Lugano in Tessin at the age of three where people speak Italian, thus enjoying a bilingual upbringing. He said in the old days the language spoken at his (German) workplace used to be German at work. Nowadays the dominating language definitely is English.

Attending the Compact Course of Study contributed to the broadening of my outlook. "I enjoyed the course of study," Keller remarks. "It was a good opportunity to refresh my knowledge of Controlling."

Contact:
Marcel Keller, CH-6934 Bioggio
keller@lgn.boehringer-ingelheim.com