Sissy Halboth became an entrepreneur herself after studying economics and now helps others define their professional goals as a coach.
Sissy Halboth graduated in business administration in 2016 and then found her fulfilment in independent coaching work. When she's not advising people on their professional path with her business partner, the thirty-two-year-old from Magdeburg can be found doing Zumba, stand-up paddleboarding or on the dance floor of the dacha, where she also likes to settle down on the couch for a philosophical conversation or two.
Ms Halboth, why did you decide to study at Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences, and in particular to study business administration?
At the time, I was working in a bank and felt that studying business administration made sense. I wanted to study this subject because I think that no matter what you decide to do later in your career, you can apply the knowledge to the basic structure of any company and also understand business decisions better and in depth. Since I was employed full-time, I was looking for a way to complete the degree while working, which I think was implemented really well by the university. Looking back, that's exactly how I would choose to do it again.
What insights did you gain from your studies? Did your studies also shape you as a person?
At the beginning, I really had respect for this new challenge. I asked myself if I could do it all. Despite all the doubts, I even decided to do a second specialisation after the basic studies because I found everything so exciting and worth knowing. I met super nice people with whom I am still in contact even years later. Through my studies I have become more confident and courageous. There is almost nothing that can't come true with a little effort and bite. If I hadn't decided to study at that time, I probably wouldn't have started my own business. I learned the basic knowledge in my studies.
Looking back on your professional career, would you make different decisions today? If so, which ones?
A few years ago, I still had doubts about my career path. But today I am happy with how everything turned out. Because if my path had been different at one point or another, who knows if I would be where I am today. I turned my vocation into a profession and founded my own company together with my business partner. Today, I wouldn't trade this freedom of working and being responsible for decisions for anything else.
Is there a funny or exciting anecdote from your student days that you would like to tell us?
Yes, I had an exciting story that almost made me despair. When I was about to hand in my thesis, my laptop decided to quit. I had only saved fragments of the thesis externally, not the whole thesis. However, I had a book in which I had written down many notes and sources. So I had to write the paper again in a very short time. I borrowed a laptop and off I went. I think the paper is in the university library today. That was an exciting time that I would have wished for differently.
Are you still in contact with former fellow students or otherwise connected to the university today?
Yes, I still have loose contact with some, especially through social media. Otherwise, I have no further connections.
How did your entry into professional life go after graduation?
In my application phase afterwards, the degree was a plus point with most companies, especially because it was part-time. Most of them found that impressive and it showed a willingness to develop further and the ability to work under pressure.
You have been self-employed as an entrepreneur since January 2021. Why don't you tell our readers briefly what you do and why you decided to take this step?
During my studies, especially during my final thesis, it became increasingly clear to me that I saw and still see a mission and a great task for companies in working with people, especially in connection with the topic of "inner resignation" from a business perspective. Appreciative and constructive cooperation is what I want. In order to approach this topic in a self-determined way, I founded H & L Coaching GmbH with my business partner and, as the name suggests, we are active in the field of coaching, consulting and training. I have already been active in this field since 2018. During this time until about the end of 2020, the desire to start my own business grew. I have turned my vocation into my profession and do what I love to do, every day and on my own responsibility. I can't imagine more freedom than that. Our main topics are career coaching (from the application to the on-boarding process), team building, leadership coaching and communication coaching. Because it was important to us to also offer coaching to people who don't live in lavish circumstances, we had our concepts certified so that people who are registered with the employment agency or job centre, for example, can also book coaching with us and the costs are covered. In addition, there are also funding programmes that contribute to the costs.
What were the biggest hurdles you faced along the way and what were the greatest successes?
There were and are always hurdles. The pandemic situation was one such hurdle, for example. In the lockdown, it was a big challenge to set up our rooms. Another hurdle was choosing the right tax advisor. Here we found a top firm in Magdeburg that has really advised us since the foundation. They support us in all communication with the tax authorities and work digitally as much as possible, which is what we wanted. Another hurdle, especially at the beginning, was the financing of our project, where we had a real expert at our side who helped us with our business plan and with all our dealings with the authorities and bank appointments. Now we finally have the order situation we wanted and are overjoyed.
Finally, would you like to give our future graduates some advice?
Stay courageous, self-reflective and believe in what you have to give (knowledge, experience, skills). Organise yourselves into study groups, this helps to make contacts and, above all, to ensure that the material sticks better. For me, our study group was one of the decisive factors in successfully completing my studies.
Thank you very much for answering our questions!