Name : Alina Oancea
Current job title : Junior product manager TomTom
Year of graduation : 2014
Nationality : Romanian
Why did you choose this MSc?
“After finishing a BSc in electronics engineering, I was looking to complement my knowledge with business studies in a foreign country, where I would really challenge myself and go out of my comfort zone. I initially found RSM and the MScBA programme in the top universities lists; it has a great reputation, I saw alumni securing good jobs in companies all over the world and it offers a wide overview of business topics, from strategy to HR to finance to marketing, which I believed was going to work well in balance with my engineering background.”
How would you describe the programme and RSM?
“It was a challenging yet fun programme. Being in such an international and diverse group, you are immediately faced with having to adapt to other cultures and habits. There is a lot to gain in learning from how people with different backgrounds think, which is especially noticeable in group work and class discussions. Also, the study cases and the group work that complement each subject are always present-day and help you a lot to think at how the theory is applied, which is what you really need in your career afterwards. As there is a wide range of subjects being covered, everyone gets a good overall view of the business world but also the opportunity to choose a preferred area in which to specialise further through the thesis or an internship.”
What was the biggest challenge in this master?
“Coming from an engineering background, my biggest challenge in the beginning was to be subjective and accept that apparently contradicting answers can all be correct. I was used to expect only one clear and concise correct answer and I was faced instead with arguments, debates, and open discussions. That is an experience that I believe many of my classmates shared, especially those with a scientific mindset such as mine. Nonetheless, I soon found out that business is not an exact science, which is actually quite liberating. I believe this master has opened my eyes in this respect and I’m very happy to have gone through this initially frustrating experience.”
What made the greatest impression?
“I think I was most impressed by how our class, as a small community, managed to be open to work together and learn from one another how to look at things from different perspectives. I could name this as the main thing that this programme has offered me, which is something that I believe helps me constantly in my job today as product manager, where I have to put myself in the shoes of both consumers and software developers.”
How did your studies at RSM shape your career?
“I had always been interested in the tech industry and I was long considering a career in business in this environment rather than a technical one. The master as RSM has provided me with the business knowledge and mindset that, together with my engineering background, helped me get into the position I am in today. I also believe that the combination of business sense and soft skills that I developed in the MScBA programme related to teamwork and adaptability have had a large contribution in both my getting this role and performing on a day-to-day basis. What’s more, the master has helped me experiment with different topics so that I was able to understand better what I like and dislike and thus take better decisions about my career.”
What are your future plans?
“I plan to further grow into the product management role in the tech industry, bridging the gap between business and technology development.”