Perle Liebmann

Nationality: French
Age: 44
Job title: Head of Transformation & Digitalization DBS Africa & Middle East, Danone
Previous degree: MSc Project Management (Bac +6), CentraleSupélec

1. Why did you choose an EMBA at RSM?

“For quite some time, I had wanted to do an Executive MBA (EMBA) with an international approach. In Parallel, my husband had an opportunity to move to the Netherlands for his job, and I had just been told that my job with Danone in France might become redundant. With all that in mind, I researched the best MBA in the Netherlands, found RSM and that was it. Very straightforward. As it turns out, Danone did not make me redundant but offered me a job here in the Netherlands. It all worked out quite well!”

2. What expectations do you have studying for your EMBA in a world in motion?

“I expect to scale up and gain more business credibility during my EMBA, which will help me reach the next level of my profession. I also want to increase my leadership capabilities.”

3. How would you describe your RSM MBA experience?

“Overall, I’m having a highly satisfying experience, even if it was a tough start, especially considering the administrative part and the remote class due to Covid-19 restrictions. The group work was intense in the beginning. We all made this massive commitment and we set the bar high from the start. But we have all learned since then how to manage school, work and family. Working together has become a smoother process. Furthermore, I can already see the difference at work, in my leadership style and in how I regard my business skills.”

4. What has been the biggest adjustment for you, while living in Rotterdam?

“I missed the sun my first few months in the Netherlands! And I miss the wider variety of fruits and vegetables. But, as with any other expatriation, we it figured out and have made it work for us. Additionally, Amsterdam is not far from Paris. I go back there anytime I feel the need.”

5. What has been the most challenging so far?

“The most challenging part has been to divide my time between my family, professional life and EMBA. Luckily, during the EMBA, I ‘discovered’ that I’m pragmatic and good at time management. This has enabled me to look at what I need to balance school, work and family and to make that balance work in my favour.”

6. In what way has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?

“This is the element of the programme I like and value the most! It’s also one of the most difficult programme elements and it takes a lot of time if you want to do it well. With the PLD, I became clearer about my strengths and weaknesses and how to overcome them. Now, I can identify which behaviours of mine will not work in a given situation, but also what makes the difference in a positive way based on my strengths. The PLD programme has made a difference in how I act with people and how I position myself in any situation.”

7. If you had to choose one Sustainable Development Goal, which one would you choose, and why?

“I identify most with the RSM Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of waste and plastic reduction. For example, five years ago, I decided to reduce as much plastic consumption in my life as possible, starting with the kitchen and bathroom products. It’s not as difficult as I thought it would be. There are many ways to learn how to consume better, be more attentive to finding those solutions and sticking with them.”

8. Has your MBA journey changed your outlook on what your career will be like post-MBA?

“Doing this EMBA has led me to want to enjoy my life more and continue to create a better work-life balance. I appreciate more what I have, which also helps me to be stronger in my position at work. I speak up more about the things I will and won’t take on, and since then I have gained more credibility for top management. I’m using my time smarter and more efficiently. I have more clarity about my own expectations and limits.”

9. What advice could you give to people who are considering doing an MBA?

“I would advise them to be clear about what they expect and which goals they want to achieve during an MBA or EMBA study. I also strongly advise people to negotiate with their current company in advance of their MBA/EMBA study for support. For example: will the company pay for part of the study? Is it possible to have shortened workdays? Is it possible to have Fridays, ’study’ days and holidays free for study trips? Additionally, for those who have a family, it’s absolutely vital to have the support and cooperation of the partner!”