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Teona Hadi

Nationality: Georgian/American
Age: 31
Last job title: client compliance and billing analyst at law firm Cravath
Previous degree: bachelor in political science and IT at Baruch College in New York City

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

“I was happy in my job, but I wanted to build on my corporate experience towards a career path that challenges me intellectually and has a positive impact. RSM is one of the few universities with positive change in mind, and Europe is also on top of sustainability. Instead of an MBA with only a strong business and finance focus, RSM is more unconventional and more affordable, especially considering the high quality of education.”

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

“RSM has incredible network opportunities, and people in Rotterdam are really educated and smart. At the end of the day, everyone wants to benefit someone else. One of the world’s big issues is climate change. People here are more into it compared to New York and there’s a lot of support. For my career, I came here with sustainability and my own business experience in mind. But I also grew a lot as a person with the career coaching and personal development. There’s also a huge entrepreneurial vibe in the city and in the programme. This was a delightful surprise.”

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

“I cycled in New York, but it was really stressful. I like the bicycle community and bike paths here. The MBA is helping me with my mental strength, and the Dutch phrase “You’re not made of sugar” when you are hesitant to cycle in the rain made me stronger too. It’s a good mentality. Also, Rotterdam is a village compared to New York City, which is a rat race. I was running around in a law firm, so life seems calmer now even though the MBA is challenging. It helps that people speak English here, making it easy to get by.”

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

“The impact entrepreneurship honours course. We worked in teams, but the course wasn’t structured which prepared us for uncertainty. Our career coach from the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship challenged us to our limit. We created a social impact platform, connecting hubs with startups for a level-playing field for all entrepreneurs.”

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

“I’m not a very open person, and I felt like I was burdening people if I’d ask them for help. PLD helped me get over that fear. It opened my eyes that people are open to help and don’t need a motive. I’m better at networking and approaching people. RSM alumni are a good example. They’re so excited. We recently had an impact investing competition and we needed judges. I met an alumnus at an RSM event and got two contacts. I also interviewed alumni about sustainability for a course. I feel more confident now.”

6. How has the career development team helped you on your journey?  

“I didn’t know where to start. My career coach Diana helped me structure myself, by helping me lay out a career path: where to start, a timeline and to-dos that were easy to achieve. It helped me reduce anxieties about how to get where I wanted to go. She helped me focus on that, and how I should be applying for jobs.”

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

“Ask yourself what you’re doing now, what value an MBA would give you, and if you’re ready for that next step. There’s academic knowledge and there’s a lot of personal development. You need to be ready for that reflective step. What gaps can the MBA fill for you to achieve what you want to achieve in life?”

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

“It hasn’t changed my outlook, but it has narrowed down my focus. I wanted to work in sustainability, but I didn’t know what that looked like. I learned about the different industries that played into sustainability, the roles there are, and what issues you can run into. I know much better what I want to do, and how I can measure how much impact I will have based on my job title. This makes my approach more flexible because I can add on to potential roles."

9. What does the future hold for you?

“It’s hard to say. I’m leaning towards sustainability or CSR in supply chain, compliance and ESG risk roles. My ambition is to stay in the Netherlands to learn as much as I can. Europe has a thriving community when it comes to sustainability. I want to learn more about this topic – there’s a lot to it!”