Annie Wong

Annie Wong

Programme / year: OneMBA14
Nationality: Dutch / Surinamese
Job title: Business manager
Company: Rabobank
Age: 44

Is the MBA a well-known degree in your company?

Yes, I have three colleagues in my department who have done an MBA.

How is the OneMBA impacting your current work at Rabobank?

It provides me with further insight and understanding in our business. When working in the restructuring department, one gets to see companies in financial distress. The causes are quite diverse and so are the solutions. The OneMBA definitely provides a better understanding of what makes companies tick, but also or maybe in particular, the elements which make certain companies successful and stand out compared to others.

 As a self-funding programme participant, what is the Return on Investment (ROI) you expect from the OneMBA?

This might sound cliché, but it’s true: the most important parts are personal growth and to understand how the business puzzle fits together. The most rewarding part is how to implement aspects of the programme. I haven’t thought about the financial return on investment. I hope there will be improvement, but with the current economic downside, you have to be realistic. 

What expectations do you and your employer have about how your OneMBA will benefit the company?

It will enrich my work. I can make a greater contribution as the programme teaches me to see things from different angles across industries. We also learn about things that we don’t encounter in daily work. But if you do encounter them, the OneMBA provides you with the framework and tools to source from.

How has the OneMBA impacted your professional life so far? Is it true that you get immediately applicable knowledge?

It depends on the courses you’ve had. Most of the subjects are intertwined. Especially the way the finance part is integrated with other disciplines is interesting to me, like how cogs and wheels in a clock are working together.

Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?

When working for an international organisation, everyone has a base: the company. But now people are from different cultures and companies. Everyone is very motivated; we all have a sense of direction and what we want to get out of the programme. Our approaches are different. You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes due to a misunderstanding, but it’s rewarding to see how a project comes together. We learn how business is done in places such as in Mexico, the USA and Hong Kong. You think you know a country, but now we encounter people who say things are completely different in their field of industry.

With your very busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects that you are doing with an international team?

We’re planning with an injection of flexibility. Less snoozing hours helps. Humour in teamwork is very important. But the most important part is to have support from one’s nearest and dearest.

Have you enjoyed the Global Residencies so far?

Yes, tremendously. The high calibre of the speakers is fascinating. You really get the flavour of a country and its economy. It’s like a roller coaster: in a short amount of time you gain a wealth of knowledge and insights about a country.

RSM’s values include Sustainability, Innovation, Critical Thinking and Spirit. How have you found these values expressed through the OneMBA?

Sustainability: It’s amazing to hear how speakers, such as former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, talk about possibilities in sustainability, and don’t confine this to one industry.

Innovation: You get to know all kinds of innovative projects, which are implemented globally by companies throughout the programme. Sustainability is also covered as innovation in itself.

Critical thinking: The peers are the people who inspire you to think differently and from different angles. We gain mountains of knowledge to apply in projects on local and global levels.

Spirit: It’s uplifting and opens a world of possibilities. It’s like travelling through a sea of knowledge and industries and building networks throughout the world. 

What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?

The programme is handled in a great fashion from the beginning, which is really pleasant. It’s also amazing how the university is able to have such a wide variety of participants, in terms of industry, nationality and experience. It’s like a think-tank.

 After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?

I want to combine my work with sustainability. I hope the elements from the programme will be infused in my future work. But I don’t want to eliminate any options. Everything is possible.