Anna Allen

Nationality: American
Age: 26
Last job title: Co-founder and co-owner Recicleta in Mexico
Previous degree: BA in political science at Wesleyan University in the USA

Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?             

“After starting a small business in Mexico, I wanted a more solid basis in business. I looked for an environment with international students with a good amount of work experience in different sectors. What I also like about RSM is the choice of electives, and that it takes sustainability seriously.”

What has been the most challenging assignment or activity?    

“It’s a challenge to manage your time between individual learning and working in teams, and still produce high-quality work. In a typical week you have a number of different tasks to complete, for example an exam and group assignments. We have to balance that and still make a meaningful contribution. So far it works out, because I have a really nice and flexible group. We respect each other’s time and take our own responsibilities in the group.”                

How has the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLD) affected you?

“It’s very useful. We have to think carefully about our goals. It’s hard to think far ahead and about what you really want. It says a lot about who you are which I’m still trying to figure out. If I hadn’t done this PLD course, I wouldn’t have felt motivated enough to think about this on my own.”  

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

“RSM’s MBA class is more diverse than I knew a class could be. My team members come from six different countries. We discuss how to handle an assignment and divide tasks. Sometimes there are communication issues that I attribute to different cultural approaches. I grew up in Singapore and think I know the Asian approach well. I’m also familiar with the Latin American approach. People handle situations differently, depending on where they are from. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish whether people have a personal way of working or if it’s a cultural approach.”                

Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?

“It’s intense, and you have many new experiences and opportunities. The RSM MBA pushes you mentally and physically. In addition to class time, there are a number of other activities to think about, as well as prepping for your next career move. You also spend a lot of time with your class at RSM and beyond.”                

What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve from completing the full-time MBA?               

“I want to develop more leadership skills. After my first degree I did an internship at a legal institution in Bolivia, and then set up a business in Mexico. By studying business here, I will understand connections between different sectors.”                

What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience? 

“Be prepared to be active in a lot of different activities. The MBA experience isn’t only in the classroom. There are a lot of clubs within the student association, which is kind of the umbrella organisation for students. We also organise a lot of informal events.”  

How do you feel about living in Rotterdam?  

“I’m impressed by how efficient and innovative Rotterdam is. It’s a laid back city with a lot of business. Rotterdam is a good place to study, and there’s also a lot of entertainment. The direct attitude of the Dutch surprised me at first, but I’ve come to appreciate it.”  

After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?     

“I think about going back to the business in Mexico, but I’m also really open and excited about working in sustainability from a management perspective in Western Europe. I’m interested in working in an HR capacity, and working with employees to help a company work more efficiently and more sustainably.”