It’s Time for Campus – A Residential Week in the Life of a Part-Time Student

by Klemens Schwandner | July 02, 2024
Discover what it’s like to study part-time at HHL. Besides several study weekends, these part-time programs feature 2 residential weeks on our Leipzig campus a year. Delve into the residential week experience of our part-time Master in Management student Klemens Schwandner with coursework, exams, networking, and social life within the HHL community.

Imagine it’s Friday afternoon. Your colleagues have wished you a good holiday and your Outlook out-of-office assistant has been set up (and tested, of course!). But… you’re not going on vacation? Instead, you’re spending a week at university! Twice a year, HHL’s part-time students from all over Germany come together on campus in Leipzig for their Residential Week. Join me and find out why this week is an absolute highlight of my time at university!

This incredibly intensive Residential Week is a perfect example of what I like so much about studying at HHL! I have the good feeling that we really made everything out of this time.

Klemens Schwandner, Part-Time Master in Management student

Sunday, 22:09: “Are you coming with us to the bar?”

For a moment, we take our eyes off our laptops and shake our heads at the same time… Residential Week begins for us with a three-day-lecture “Financial Analysis and Modelling”. As with many courses, we don’t have an exam but are graded based on assignments or case studies. For this lecture, our group of 4 is asked to analyze the financial statements of a DAX company and decide whether we would buy, hold, or sell the share. We already finished our Excel file with all the calculations and the storyline a few days ago, but now it’s time to build the slides! That’s why we agreed beforehand to arrive already on Sunday and then work together on the presentation. Other teams had the same plan: we can hear them celebrating in the next room… Whilst they are now moving on to the next bar, we still have a long way to go. After all, we still have 1:50 hours until the deadline at midnight – half an eternity for part-time students…


Monday, 13:42: “…which brings us to the end of our presentation. Any questions?”

It was close, but we did it! We submitted our assignment 5 minutes before the deadline. Now the Residential Week can begin!

The atmosphere on campus is great. The last time we were all together at the university was during our initial Welcome Week in September 2023. We’re really looking forward to seeing our fellow students from the other study locations again. In the morning, our professor, Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch from the Chair of Accounting and Auditing recaps the lecture material that we had prepared in the weeks before the course with lecture slides, readings and accompanying videos. This allows us to focus on the key points in the actual lecture and leaves enough time for lively discussions. Then, it’s time to shine: each group presents their buy or sell recommendation for their respective companies. Finally, we end the day in one of Leipzig’s many cool restaurants.


Tuesday, 11:45: “How can I do this on a Mac?”

For the next two days, our lecture is becoming even more hands-on. For the financial modeling part, we are joined by guest lecturers from KPMG, who provide us with numerous best practices from their day-to-day work. Together, we build an integrated financial model step by step and feed it with our own planning assumptions. Even the Excel pros among us are able to pick up some new shortcuts, while our numerous Mac users bring Steve Jobs’ well-known slogan “one more thing” to life: every key combination has to be translated again for the Mac…

In the evening, we start a joint learning session, as our first exam of the whole program takes place on Thursday (everyone’s favorite topic, Macroeconomics). That works quite well until someone remarks that there is a Champions League game in the evening. Thanks to many previous lectures like Strategy or Leadership & Self-reflection, we are perfectly prepared for such difficult choices under uncertainty: the session is postponed quickly. But, after an exciting draw between Bayern and Arsenal, we still find the motivation to read a few pages of our summaries on Macroeconomics in bed.


Wednesday, 23:40: “Did you reach chapter 4 yet?”

On the last day of our Financial Analysis & Modelling course, we are joined again by two KPMG employees from the restructuring team. In addition to our base case from yesterday, we created additional assumptions and measures to develop a more realistic model. At the end of the course, we enjoy freshly grilled sausages and cold drinks in a relaxed get-together. In addition to interesting conversations and networking opportunities, the first lively discussions on macroeconomic topics begin. While some are opening their second beer, others are already at the whiteboard discussing the effects of central bank policy on closed economies. It doesn’t take long for all the study rooms to be taken up by small groups, as some of us still need to read (or better, skim) through the final chapters of the course…


Thursday, 11:05: “Our first exam is done!”

Our first exam is behind us! As we’ve spent a big part of the last evening studying, you can clearly tell that everyone is relieved now. While some of us are still discussing the policies of the Swiss central bank, the rest are already on their way to our beloved “Blue Lagoon”, the Aral petrol station just opposite and enjoy a long lunch break with great weather outside. In the afternoon, we have our first class meeting, where the program managers take time to listen to our feedback after the first six months. Finally, the second course of the residential week begins: “Leading yourself & self-reflection” by our student counselor Dr. Dr. Justinus C.Pech.

Afterward, everyone is excited that we have a real free evening today. The HHL team has planned something special for this occasion and we travel together by tram to the “largest leisure hall in Saxony” –according to its own billboards, at least. While some of us are performing at the table tennis table, the Finance Bros have a closer look at the drinks menu. In record time, the Long Island Ice Tea for €9.90 is identified as the optimal investment decision for our €10 drinks voucher and many of us finally become the rationally deciding homo economicus we’ve always aspired to be. After many rounds of billiards, table tennis, and darts, we move the evening to the city center and check out Leipzig’s great clubs and karaoke bars.


Friday, 18:31: „Leave the ball to me!“

After a great but long evening, we head straight back to the lecture hall on Friday morning for the second day of our Leadership & Self Reflection course. While we discuss the success factors for our future career path together in the morning, we use the afternoon to work with our Career Development Manager Philip Apke. Together, we find out more about our individual strengths and weaknesses and how we can use them to our advantage in our jobs.

In the evening, we enjoy the sunny weather and go to play beach volleyball together. The success factors are very mixed. While some teams rely heavily on extensive communication and tactical tricks, others simply serve the ball too fast for everyone else. We go back and forth until the sun goes down, after which we head back to the city center for dinner. After the long evening before, we then go home and save our energy for the last day.



Saturday, 16:15: “Fellows! One final picture!“

After an eventful week, we have our final lecture day today. This means that the lecture hall is not only packed with 59 students but also numerous suitcases. Justinus has put two more highlights on the agenda, and we can listen to two very inspiring guest lectures on the topic of leadership. Afterward, I immediately experienced how difficult it can be to motivate a group of people: my two goals of both organizing a group photo for this blog article and at the same time saving my voice for one last visit to the karaoke bar seem to be completely incompatible… Then, the official part of the Residential Week is already over! While some leave for the train station, others are staying in Leipzig for one more day. Our class representatives have organized drinks and music and we enjoy a very relaxed and beautiful evening on campus. At the end of the day, we go back into the city, before the group disperses gradually.


Sunday, 07:42: “See you next time!“

My first resolution for the next Residential Week: don’t book the earliest train home… With too little sleep, I start my way home in the next morning. I use the last of my energy to fill in the course evaluations, which we can use to give feedback after our lectures. I realize again just how much we have experienced in these few days! On the one hand, we really learned a lot in the two courses, gained exciting insights and discussed interesting topics together. On the other hand, we didn’t just sit in the lecture hall, but also used every break, every meal and every evening to chat, make friends and simply have a great time together. This incredibly intensive Residential Week is a perfect example of what I like so much about studying at HHL! Of course, it is a challenge to complete an entire Master’s program alongside your regular job. But I can do this together with 58 other fellow students, and every time I go home, whether, from a weekend of lectures in Munich or a week in Leipzig, I have the good feeling that we really made everything out of this time. Well, except for sleep. But I’ll try to catch up on that today before heading back to the office on Monday morning…