Alex Lucouw

Nationality: South African
Job title: scrum master at Wärtsilä
Previous degree: master in engineering at North-West Univerisity in South Africa

1. What was the main reason for you to choose doing an MBA? 

“In my technical career, I’m good at building products. But this is just one part of the business. I want to elevate to a next level to build business around those products. Marketing and operations were foreign to me. If I want to reach a higher level, then I need further education. I like to learn face-to-face, so it had to be within a logistically feasible distance. I had a few options. RSM’s international feel and professional English appealed the most. Professors and students are from all over the world.”

2. What expectations did you have studying for your Global Executive MBA in a world in motion?

“The world is becoming more globalised, so the best way to handle it is to do a global MBA. At RSM, we meet people from everywhere, and travel to different economies to learn new perspectives. It takes you out of an environment you already know well. Business is crossing borders and boundaries. Society is also not constrained anymore. We have global problems that need global solutions.”

3. How would you describe your RSM MBA experience so far?

“It’s one of the best things I’ve started. Everything I’ve learned has been interesting. I have to stop myself from going too far down the rabbit hole to go deeper and deeper. The topics have been relevant to me in work and as a person, and they’re timely too. It’s a challenge, but definitely a relevant journey.”

4. What impact does the Strategic Leadership Development (SLD) component of the programme have on you?

“I had a picture of what a leader needs to look like, but now realise not all leaders need to be the same. Everyone can be a leader, but you have to find your style and what works for you. The course requires lot of reflection and introspection into yourself to find your strengths and weaknesses. I’ve had to peel the layers and figure out what I’m good in, what I can improve, and what my value proposition is in a leadership team. There’s also a part that about accepting yourself and your shortcomings. We often think that leaders are infallible superhumans that don’t make mistakes. But in this international cohort you mingle with people in different leadership positions and walks of life. They’re all human, just like you. And we have all shortcomings. We have to learn to accept that.”

5. If you had to choose one Sustainable Development Goal, which one would you choose?

“I work in the marine industry and am exposed to lots of marine technology. It made me realise that water is life. There’s so much about this underwater landscape we don’t know but we have an impact on it. That’s why I’m excited to focus on SDG 14 (Life below the water), and how to protect our water resources without destroying this life-giving resource.”

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

“I used to think that I would be in a technical domain forever. This field gives me a lot of energy. Through this MBA journey I’m also realising there’s a lot at I can do at a higher level of management. I see myself more as a business leader these days. I don’t have to give up the technical part, but my career ambitions have changed a bit.”

7. What advice could you give to people who are considering doing a Global Executive MBA?

“The MBA journey isn’t a solo journey. It’s important to involve your partner, children and family and not try to do an isolated process. Share your new insights and learning, because they’re invested too. You need to build a support network around yourself. While you’re studying, they’re going on with their lives. You need people to help give this space and support, for example by picking up the children from swimming. Dynamics change. Incorporate these people in your journey – keep talking about your learning and feelings. And don’t forget to give them attention too. I can highly recommend RSM’s MBA. Just know it’s a big commitment. It’s all about balance.”