Stella Ren

Nationality: Chinese
Age: 35
Last job title: senior marketing manager at Space Cycle
Previous degree: bachelor in business economics from Tongji University in Shanghai

1. Why did you choose to go back to school for an MBA at RSM?  

“I had 12 years of work experience. I felt something needed to be renewed in my career. It’s a good time in my life to learn something new. I wanted to learn about business and marketing so I’m a better manager in the future. I really wanted to be in Europe. I like the Dutch culture and freedom, and the Netherlands has great visa arrangements. So, I first chose the county I want to live in, and then I have a year after graduation to find a job if I don’t land one sooner. And if you choose the Netherlands, then of course RSM is first choice!” 

2. How is the MBA preparing you to do business in a world in motion?  

“The MBA gives me a chance to meet international people who bring new and different perspectives about business and the world. You need to have an open mind, because if you’re stubborn and stick to what you’re familiar then you can’t function well in a world in motion. Also, there’s no wrong and right during in-class discussions. It’s about your critical thinking skill when you make a decision. Even a seemingly good choice can have a bad outcome, just from bad luck. You learn to deal with this.”  

3. What has been the most challenging assignment or course during the MBA? 

“I don’t have a finance background so that’s challenging for me. If I want to do my job better and know the business is going well or not, then I need to really understand this course. Also, it’s been a long time since I was in school. I needed to adjust. You must be well-organised for your timetable as there’s a lot of work in a short time frame. Then there’s also career networking, so you need to be prepared and get into action to meet people for exciting opportunities.” 

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

“This is a very interesting aspect, which makes the RSM MBA different from other MBA programmes. You have the chance to take a pause and focus on yourself. It’s guided self-reflection to realise what happened in the past and your previous way of working. It all links to how this affects your decisions and how you deal with people. It’s very important and helpful. Now I’m able to be a better leader, in my own life and in future work.” 

5. How are you planning to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through business – now and in the future? 

“We spend too much time on our smartphones and internet. We don’t feel a reward for that. Because of that, people lose the balance and create mental health issues. I’d love to start my own business, for example in meditation, to help people to find a purpose in life. This will support people to have a better life.”  

6. How have you utilised the alumni network so far? 

“Before the programme, I reached out to an alumna from China who gave me useful tips about the MBA. It confirmed that I was going to make the right choice. Now, I talk to alumni about career advice, and have become friends with them too. We go out together in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.” 

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

“Have a clear goal before you decide to apply. Think about what you want from this programme, is it academic knowledge for your job, a career switch, relocation or something else? My goal was to stay in marketing, but change location and find a job in my new place. The MBA can also help me do better in critical thinking which is important in the business world.” 

8. What does the future hold for you? 

“After graduation, I want to start a marketing job at a multinational so I can better understand European marketing styles. My career development coach at RSM is very professional. Sasha helps me step by step to prepare and discover what I want. I want a few years of work experience, because I need to know how this works here. Then in the future, it’s my dream to start my own business and help people find their purpose in life.”