Praveen Pakala

Nationality: Indian
Age: 36
Job title: Sr Project Manager IT - Cognizant
Previous degree: Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology, MVSR Engineering College, Hyderabad

1. Why did you choose an MBA at RSM?

“I always dreamed of doing an MBA study, I just didn’t know when or where. When I reached a mid-senior role at Cognizant, I felt it was time to move ahead with my dream. To become involved in executive roles, I realised I had to gain a more holistic view of the business and learn the latest techniques in business and in leadership styles. I chose to do my Executive MBA (EMBA) at RSM because of their wide local network, international profile and in-class experience. I enjoyed being able to speak with RSM alumni about their experiences and could see beforehand how RSM had helped in their professional progression. ” 

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

“Today’s world is fast paced and ever changing. Those changes are also present in leadership and business dynamics. I want to stay ahead of all those changes, and I expect that RSM’s EMBA will prepare me for all these changes and more. I expect that I will gain the necessary experience to move to the next level in my professional career.”

3. How would you describe your RSM MBA experience?

“It’s been a wonderful experience so far! The transformational leadership experience and knowledge sharing with the cohort, professors and lecturers rounds it off to make this EMBA the perfect package of leadership and knowledge sharing experiences. It’s a marathon of commitments and deadlines, a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom, a rollercoaster ride of emotions and a test of patience and persistence.”

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

“Coming from India, I had to adjust to the Dutch punctuality and discipline in the beginning. The weather was also a challenge! Dutch people are quite direct. Being quite diplomatic myself, I had a few issues when I first got here and had to learn to be more direct in my communications. More open, bold and transparent.”

5. What has been the most challenging so far?

“You’ve got to be ready to sacrifice: personal time, vacations, kids, etc. From an EMBA perspective, I had to adjust to the teams to which I was assigned. Teams change with each term, and team dynamics can differ per group and based on the personalities that are put together. It’s important to remember that everybody’s the boss. This gives the entire cohort the benefit and experience of working together with various people and personalities, as they would in a regular business setting.”

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

“The Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) experience is one of the reasons I chose RSM for my EMBA. It’s been a transformational experience for me in terms of making me more aware of my own personality as an individual and as a leader. This programme and its personal coaching sessions have enabled me to pause, look back, reflect on my decisions and move forward. I like that PLD is integrated throughout the whole EMBA. This also extends to my family life. I now use what I have learned during PLD at home, to the benefit of my family and myself”

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

“Out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), good health and well-being is my favourite. I strongly believe that both internal and external well-being are the keys to becoming a good human being and to be a good citizen.”

8. Has your MBA journey changed your outlook on what your career will be like after doing an MBA?

“The RSM EMBA has given me the opportunity to explore myself and my life goals. Now I know how to tap into my potential, strengths and weaknesses. Because of that, I realise that I am more inclined toward thought leadership roles, mentoring and coaching. I want to help people to bring their talents to the foreground.”

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

“If you’re triggered to do an MBA or EMBA, don’t overthink it. Just find the right school – I can recommend RSM! – sign up and trust the process. Don’t just think of it as a course, but as an entire experience. You’ll explore a lot of things throughout your MBA/EMBA which could take you in a different direction, so be prepared for that. Additionally, and most importantly, don’t underestimate the commitment required! An MBA/EMBA will cost you a lot of time, fun, family occasions and hobbies. It’s a balance as well as a commitment, and it needs planning.”