Holmfridur Einarsdottir

Holmfridur Einarsdottir

Nationality: Icelandic

Age: 45

Job title and company: Managing Director at Ankra - Feel Iceland

Previous degree and university: BSc in Business and International Marketing, Reykjavik University

1. Why did you decide to join RSM’s Executive MBA?

“I was thinking about studying an MBA for a while. When my husband and I decided to move to Rotterdam, I saw it as a great opportunity to study at RSM and I just went for it. RSM is highly ranked and I heard only positive things about the school.”

2. How are you managing to balance studying with work and family life?

“I’ve always been very organised, at work and with my family. It’s very challenging to do it all. You have to prepare. I’m not studying just for the results, I want to get the most out of it. I plan well to enjoy things more, instead of just showing up. I’m lucky: after the EMBA weekends my husband and I often discuss and reflect on the study topics. I even show some of it to my children.”

3. How is the EMBA experience affecting your work?

“I always take things I just learned or read about into practice. I learn a lot from the cases and methods; they’re very practical. There’s a good connection to the economy and real business. I also learn so much from my peers at school – everyone bring their different background and experience to the table.”

4. What is the return on investment you expect from the Executive MBA?

“I’m paying for the programme because I wanted to do it on my terms. I quit my job at a bank to change and seek new opportunities. When I resigned I was quickly offered my current job, which allowed me to work from Rotterdam so I could live here and do the MBA. I travel to Iceland a lot too. The company is supporting me in flexibility in deadlines. We figure it out.”

5. How has the Personal Leadership Development programme affected you?

“I was really open to it. I haven’t started the coaching yet, but the team coaching is great. It’s really important. It helps us to work as a group. We’re able to solve and discuss things easily.”

6. What has been the best part of the EMBA so far?

“All the people. It’s amazing, we’re from 42 nations and everyone shares ideas and experiences. That’s how we learn the most. And the professors are very ambitious and really want you to understand what they’re talking about. Our learning is their priority. And the environment; everyone is really friendly. It’s welcoming, personal and helpful. You always learn something, even when you don’t expect it. I feel prepared for leadership roles.”

7. What did you learn from the international study trip?

“Johannesburg, was amazing. I’m from one of the safest countries in the world and this was such a contrast. We visited some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city. Despite the poverty, people try and are happy with what they have. They always find solutions for problems. For example; we visited a small hair salon business. The owner was breastfeeding, and had prepared everything for our visit. She said when there’s no water she tells her customers to bring water. It was no problem. This interaction was great.”

8. What is the biggest challenge of the Executive MBA?

“Organising everything around it, and working with such diverse people. It’s challenging but it gives you much more. The different opinions bring more to the table. Of course it’s demanding. When you’re ambitious, you aim for the best. It’s a learning curve.”

9. How do you plan to be a force for positive change?

“I thought a lot about this. After the EMBA, I want to share my experiences with the people around me and those I work with. I’ve been on many boards with women involved. I want to support and encourage women more. I admire people with great ideas who have the courage to follow them through and even start their own business. I will respect them even more.”

10. After the Executive MBA, what does the future hold?

“Ultimately I hope to do something that fits with my purpose. I don’t know where in the world that will be. I want to give myself some time to figure out what I want to do with the second half of my career. My scope is definitely broader now.”