Job Title: Global Project Manager in Private Wealth Management
Company: ABN AMRO Private Banking
"OneMBA provides a really good combination of personal and professional education, and there’s also a lot of learning from peers on the programme. Other students are from different backgrounds and cultures and have very different experiences. It has been an incredible time. It’s very apparent that everything I have learned has added value to me and the way I do my job, and has been passed on to my company."
Is the MBA a well-known degree in your company?
Quite a few colleagues have one. It helped that my boss and my HR manager both have an MBA so they understood why I wanted to do it. It was my idea; I was looking for a new challenge, but not necessarily an MBA. I felt I needed outside inspiration to grow, and came across the programme at RSM more or less by accident. When I read about it, I knew that this was what I was looking for to broaden my horizons.
Most of my time is spent on Impact Investing, which brings traditional, commercial investments together with social investments resulting in financial returns plus social or environmental achievements. You can see here how a new sector is developing. Young entrepreneurs are setting up businesses with a focus on social and financial returns, and I clearly see a role for the bank, with its access to investors and their capital. We can connect them and help the sector to develop. I work on educating and inspiring the bankers who talk to the investors. The topic fits well in the sustainability strategy of our bank. It incorporates an idea we’re learning in the OneMBA programme at RSM; that of applying sustainability while staying close to your core business. With Impact Investing, sustainability and the bank’s core business are perfectly combined. I notice that I can play a real role in contributing to changes in the financial industry. It’s wonderful to see that sustainability can be introduced into business by changing the mind-sets of people who previously mainly thought about commercial targets.
How is the OneMBA impacting your current work?
It’s a challenge to combine OneMBA studies with work and your private life, but the pressure makes you more efficient and focused. Your thinking is sharper, and it becomes easier to set goals and work towards reaching them, and that’s a real benefit.
From a content point-of-view, the studies in leadership, management, finance, and the Personal Leadership Development (PLD) course deepen my knowledge. OneMBA provides a really good combination of personal and professional education, and there’s also a lot of learning from peers on the programme. Other students are from different backgrounds and cultures and have very different experiences. It has been an incredible time. It’s very apparent that everything I have learned has added value to me and the way I do my job, and has been passed on to my company.
As a company-funded programme participant, what is the Return on Investment you expect from OneMBA? What do your employers think of it?
When my studies are completed, I will be more valuable to the bank because I will develop faster than I would without an MBA. I will be more flexible in any future position because of the broader knowledge I have gained through the OneMBA, which is an obvious advantage for the company.
How has the OneMBA impacted your professional life so far? Is it true that you get immediately applicable knowledge?
I think the best example is the PLD; you learn about who you are, what you’re good at and what you enjoy. The personal development tools I practised, and what I discovered as I did so convinced me I’m studying the right programme. It also convinced me I am in the right job, and actually increased my enthusiasm for the career I have with ABN AMRO. I realised that I fit really well with my company, whereas before I had not thought it was quite so good. The whole process has been extremely fulfilling.
Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
They are there, but if you are open-minded and try to understand where these differences come from it doesn’t present an issue, and it can be fun. Cultural differences are not so huge within one class of the OneMBA, as participants all have similar views of the world and similar intellectual levels, so it’s relatively easy to accommodate any differences. I love the international side of it; it’s something I have every day in my job, so it comes very naturally to me and dealing with it is normal.
Do women contribute something different than men within the OneMBA?
I think women do bring something different; a different way of thinking and different perspectives. Women work differently to men, and I think this can benefit the group projects. Because of my studies for the OneMBA, I’m more aware of the efforts of women to be proactive in helping each other. It’s something that only women can change, and I didn’t do this on a conscious level before. From my perspective I’m now paying more attention to it, and supporting other women, both inside and outside my organisation.
With your very busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects that you are doing with an international team?
It’s truly a challenge, adding an extra dimension to an already busy life. But you juggle and make concessions. The first concession you make is your social life, the second is time for yourself, and the third is your relationship.
How have you enjoyed the Global Residencies so far?
It’s amazing to see the enormous energy levels of people from so many different countries together. The beauty of it is that there are easily 25 nationalities and that makes a very dynamic set of peers with whom it’s great to build valuable friendships.
Being European doesn’t always mean you are aware of the differences in cultures across Europe, especially the relationships between eastern Europe and countries in western Europe such as Turkey. It was a new experience to understand my western European perspective, and to see things from another viewpoint.
What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the scope of the programme, the great organisation and the way it is integrated from local to global levels. I’ve loved the people and the networking opportunities. I particularly value what we have created together with teamwork, and with everyone bringing different perspectives and experiences to the table, according to their backgrounds. I have learned a lot from that.