Currently: Senior IT Business Consultant, Deloitte
My long term ambition is to become a business leader, and I believe the MBA study can boost my career in that direction.
The Executive MBA (EMBA) at RSM is delivering what I need to know and widening my horizons, and not just from a management perspective. As a business consultant, the ability to understand management thinking in my work helps when I’m talking to clients at a management level, so it’s improving my prospects and improving the quality of my work.
You can practice theories and concepts in your work immediately; you are provided with new ways to handle challenges or problems and it allows me to understand management thinking. Even more interesting is that it also allows us to use real issues in class discussions and assignments; there’s a continual link between practice and theory.
For example, my department is currently going through a cultural change as we try to develop our identity. I’m a Senior Consultant in the System Integration group which develops customised software for our clients; it’s a sub-pillar of the Technology group. Developing our identity will help us to market ourselves externally to potential clients, and internally within the huge organisation. I was able to use what I have learned about organisational behavioural theories at RSM to understand the dynamics in the System Integration group, and understand what really motivates people. It was an element of the programme that I found helpful in practice straight away.
Deloitte is sponsoring me through the EMBA, and I want to continue my career with the company. It would be great to contribute to the development of Deloitte itself, and spend some time incorporating what I have learned into the company’s processes and procedures, especially the self-reflections sessions, and the sessions we spend reflecting on each other’s performance.
I hope to become a strong leader and can form my own vision, but more importantly I want to be able to communicate and inspire others to follow me in my vision by empathising and understanding how others feel and think; I think these are characteristics of a good leader. The Personal Leadership Development (PLD) course was one reason for choosing the RSM EMBA; the sessions of personal reflection give us time to look at our individual development. As students we must be aware of how to get the maximum out of the whole study experience; as a result, my student group is planning to organise some of its own reflection sessions.
I don’t consider myself a good leader just yet, but I see that I’m developing and growing into a leader. I have also identified, with the help of classmates, two areas I can work on. For example, I notice (and others have noticed too) that I sometimes have difficulty explaining ideas clearly or persuasively. Sometimes in a meeting, whoever yells loudest gets their ideas accepted, but I recognise the weakness of that process. I think other views should always be considered – and that’s where leadership kicks in. I also want to make sure that I appear confident so people are more prepared to listen to me. I have identified these as the two areas of leadership development I want to work on. Individually, they both have a beneficial effect on my leadership skills, but if I work on developing them both, the effect is greater.
It was easy for me to choose to study my MBA at RSM because of the PLD element, and because of RSM’s reputation for being a very international business school. It also has good rankings stretching back a decade. And I live in Rotterdam, which is also an important factor. Some students have to travel three hours or more, and that kind of commute does have an impact on your studies. Besides, right from the start two years ago, on my first visit and subsequently every time I come into contact with RSM people, I get an energy boost. I always feel a strong, positive energy from all the people here.
The content of some of the MBA courses has really changed my way of looking at business. Accounting is usually all about the figures, but the professors here have taught us to look beyond the figures and how to study them from a management perspective to understand what’s really going on in the business, rather than just creating a financial statement. Accounting at RSM isn’t boring at all. Becoming more fluent in reading management information has been a pleasant surprise.
I initially thought that I might have some free evenings during the week and the occasional free Sunday. However, 20 hours studying a week was not really enough when you consider the group assignments. A team of six or seven people will always have different ideas and opinions, so it takes longer to get aligned at first, but we’re getting better at it. Once the team is established, the discussions get more efficient, there are fewer miscommunications, and everyone understands each other a little better.
The programme is fantastic and the studying requires a lot of drive and effort, but the rewards are definitely worth it.