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Alejandro Palma

Nationality: Venezuelan
Age: 27
Last job title: Finance Business Partner
Previous degree: Bachelor in Economics

Alejandro Palma

1. Why did you choose to do your MBA at RSM?

Working in finance in Spain, I decided it was time for a change. I started looking for universities with an MBA programme in Europe and could see that RSM’s rankings were good. Additionally, it was plain to see that Rotterdam is a dynamic hub for entrepreneurship. But what stood out from other universities the most was the culture of RSM, how the school strives to be a force for positive change.

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

I expect I’ll learn more about entrepreneurship and how to use knowledge and resources to implement new solutions in my future career. I plan on making the most of the resources available at RSM, like the centre for entrepreneurship. 

3. How would you describe your RSM MBA experience?

So far, I’ve had an exciting, challenging experience. This is only a one-year programme, which is shorter than most MBAs. For me, the best part is working with and learning from a diverse cohort. I find the collaborative environment both interesting and challenging. As a group, we share opinions and different perspectives. Sure, sometimes personalities clash, but then our collective ideas sharpen and reshape.

4. Living in Rotterdam,what has been the biggest adjustment for you?

Rotterdam is different from Spain or Venezuela. Being in a new environment has forced me to learn more about myself. I like the cycling culture; this mostly flat country is perfect for it! In the beginning, I had difficulties with start-up processes like city registration, finding a GP, those kinds of processes. I’m starting to learn Dutch; “de” and “het” continue to present constant challenges. The food is also quite different from what I’m used to. For example, sandwiches for lunch. I normally eat big breakfasts and lunches, snacks, late dinner. But I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it.

5. What has been the most challenging so far?

My biggest challenge has been collaborating with a highly international cohort. It’s fascinating to see how everyone works, thinks, speaks, behaves. But it can be a challenge to cooperate or make myself clear sometimes. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn how to become a more flexible thinker.

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

I believe economic growth has to be decoupled from environmental relations and the destruction of natural resources. I would like to see business and the environment benefit all stakeholders, not just the shareholders or a small group of people. Finding a way to incentivise companies to produce and to connect with consumers in more sustainable way is a good start. This could lead to a change in behaviour and habits in how consumers buy products. It could also help companies to become more responsible.

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

My post-MBA perspective hasn’t changed much at this point. But then, I’m at the start of my journey. I’m extremely open to new opportunities, even after I complete my MBA.

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

Advice: doing an MBA is a big commitment in terms of money and time. I advise others to think about the reasons why they want to start an MBA study. They should be open to the MBA changing them. I knew with a fair amount of certainty that I wanted to make a switch in my career, but I still reflected on my decision before I made the move. It’s important to search for the why and be open for changes.