Full-time MBA Class 2015
Last job title: Senior designer of commercial solar systems at SolarCity in San Mateo, California.
Previous degree: BSc in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan
Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?
“I wanted to be exposed to a broad business perspective with an international focus. RSM offers that better than almost any other school in the world. RSM’s small class size creates a tight-knit network of immense opportunities and a sense of closeness. I was also drawn to the core elements of RSM’s personal leadership development and sustainability angle.”
What has been the most challenging assignment or activity?
“Team work can be a challenge. For management science, projects are done very quickly. They can be fairly technical but also have a strong management component. I’m here to learn how to work with culturally diverse teams and align everyone in a short period of time.”
How has the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLD) affected you?
“The more I focus on myself, the more I’m able to add value to a situation. What I’ve learned is how to effectively present my ideas to the team, but also when to back off and listen to other people’s ideas. I’m learning to understand my strengths and when I can best apply them.”
Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“Since being exposed to international teams, I’ve learned a whole new level of what it means to be open to new ideas. I used to switch off if the way of communicating didn’t line up with what I was used to. We’re used to talking to people from our own culture. Now you have to strip away those artificial aspects of looking at a situation, look through the cultural differences and see people for the best that they are, including their great ideas.”
Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?
“It’s all about truly diverse teams solving today’s problems with a focus on the future. A lot of the papers and cases we study are recent and about business issues happening right now. We always look at sustainable solutions.”
What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve from completing the full-time MBA?
“I want a better understanding of the role that business plays in people’s lives. I want to find ways to better express my ideas to contribute more. I also want to position myself in an international market to live and work abroad in the near future.”
What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience? Is there something you wished you knew before coming to RSM?
“Think bigger than rankings and your first salary after graduating. People have a tendency to focus on immediate goals, but these aims will change once you’re in the programme. When I applied, I wanted things to happen during my five-year plan, such as a job in Europe or a better understanding of business. But people should think about how the MBA fits into your long-term view of the future. Speaking to alumni is really valuable as they understand better than anyone what kind of impact the MBA has on your professional and personal life. Many of them agreed that RSM offers a life-changing experience, not only in terms of job opportunities and its location, but also how you work with people and the extra-curricular activities at RSM.”
How do you feel about living in Rotterdam/the Netherlands?
“Rotterdam isn’t a conventional Dutch city. It’s a really diverse place with the port, modern architecture, great parks, and lots of cultural activities and festivals going on. My wife and daughter are having a great time too. It’s also easy to get to Amsterdam, Gouda, The Hague, and other places in the Benelux. I can’t wait for the summer when the weather will get better. Rotterdam is a unique place with a lot to offer.”
After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?
“I really want to leverage my international education and work abroad for a while. The MBA is just the first step of your business education. A lot of what you learn and develop is where you want to go afterwards. I want to stay in the energy business, find a job that I’m truly passionate about and then be able to grow professionally and stay for a while.”