<p> Nico Rose, PhD, MAPP ’14 <p> </p>
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Student and Alumni Stories

Nico Rose, PhD

Vice President of Employer Branding and Talent Acquisition, Bertelsmann


Master of Applied Positive Psychology, the University of Pennsylvania, ‘14; PhD, Management Sciences, EBS University of Business and Law, ‘10; Diploma in Psychology, at University of Muenster, ‘04

“I advise my clients to actively manage their energy and emotions during the workday. For me, it’s cat videos that do the trick,” laughs Dr. Nico Rose, Senior Human Resources Director for Europe’s largest media company, Bertelsmann. Though Nico’s perspective may seem unique in the corporate world, it’s exactly what made him the perfect fit for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program.

Always one to defy expectations, Nico commuted between the Cologne region of Germany and Philadelphia for the MAPP program. Though the travel was daunting at times, Nico reveled in the experience and said Penn “felt a little like being at Hogwarts.”

In his capstone, Nico proposed a scientific measurement for what he calls “Self Permission”—the concept in which people believe they deserve or don’t deserve happiness. In his work, he found that “there is always a strong focus on the will. But what if a person thinks or feels he is not allowed or doesn’t deserve to be successful? What does that do to you?”

These findings, as well as the knowledge he acquired from MAPP’s world-renowned faculty, found their way into his professional coaching practice. He also discovered that MAPP helped him become a better leader at Bertelsmann.

The most special moment in the program came for Nico when his high school psychology teacher attended his graduation. “I was an exchange student in the US in ‘94 and ’95 in York, PA. I really connected very well with my psychology teacher and when I came back home I told my parents that I wanted to become a psychologist. Their jaws dropped a little bit,” he remembers, “That experience gave my life a new direction.”

Now, Nico shares his research in the field of positive psychology through his blog, Mappalicious: The German Side of Positive Psychology. When he’s not writing, coaching or traveling the world and visiting MAPP colleagues, he spends his time at home with his wife, children and two cats (of course). As for future MAPP scholars, Nico shares, “Some things you can only grasp and cherish afterward and see how the whole year came together.”

Visit the Penn Library's Scholarly Commons website to read Nico's final capstone project, Introducing Self-Permission: Theoretical Framework and Proposed Assessment.

Capstone projects


The capstone project is a culminating experience, allowing you to integrate and apply what you've learned during the program.

Read about Capstone Projects >

On-site schedule

Program Format & Schedule

The program cohort will gather one weekend each month to attend intensive on-site classes in Philadelphia.

Review this year's schedule >

Courses and curriculum

Courses and Curriculum

History, theory, research and professional application—completed in one year of full-time study.

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