Krystal Ismail

Nationality: Australian
Age: 26
Job title: Consultant at Accenture
Previous degree: Bachelor in Finance and International Business, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

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

“I moved to the Netherlands three years ago. I wanted to expand my network in Europe, and meet like-minded people who were also ready for a challenge. RSM is one of the better, and internationally focused universities in NL. I also wanted to focus more on soft skills and leadership, and learn new ways for working with diverse teams and cultures.”  

2.  How did people around you react when you decided to go for it?  

“People were really positive. Some colleagues have also done an MBA at RSM. I talked to my partner about how it would fit in. And I have a busy schedule so time management is critical. But it excites me. Constantly being on the go gives me energy to keep going.”  

3.  How are you managing to balance studying with work?  

“I told my leadership team I wanted this for personal development. Accenture is supporting me by giving me time to spend evenings and weekends on my MBA. My clients and manager, who is also doing an MBA, are very understanding. It’s important to set expectations up front. People are then okay with it, and happy that you’re developing yourself and taking on new challenges.”  

4.  How is the EMBA experience affecting your work?  

“It makes me think from lots of perspectives and ask different questions. I now go deeper. The leadership part makes me more aware of how I think and act, and I try to understand people better. When learning new tools and frameworks, I do a lot based on my client’s challenges. I learn to think differently and come up with different solutions.”  

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

“In the long run, I’m expecting a salary increase and a step up in my career. For now I’m expecting personal benefits. What do I want in life? Where do I want my career to go? The EMBA has an incredible network, and opens up a heap of career opportunities and insights I didn’t think were possible.”  

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

“I better understand my values. Its helps me to think about what I want to get out of my career and personal life. Being aware of my personality helps me to understand other people better and change my behaviour to have more meaningful conversations”  

7.  What can you say about your classmates?  

“Everybody is very energetic, and has a drive to succeed. There’s a great balance in international diversity which creates lots of interesting discussions. I like being around talented and ambitious people who want to achieve good leadership. You always have a support network, you’re not by yourself.”  

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

“The study trip to South Africa was really insightful. I grew up in a well-off country and now live in Europe. I’d never been exposed to the African culture. I learned how business is done in different countries, and got perspectives into the economy and how people are living.”  

9.  Which class have you enjoyed most so far?  

“Economics class teaches me what’s happening in the world. It’s fundamental to understand business cycles and what happened in economies when you’re in a leadership position. I like delving into a country and understanding what’s happening there and prepare for economic events, and learn about policies created by political leaders.”  

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

“Finding the time to get through the course work. Balancing study, work and a personal life takes a while to figure out. It’s not always smooth; sometimes you have to skip a client dinner. You have to make trade-offs and prioritise.”  

11.   What does the future hold?  

“I want to make a step up to a management position, and have more responsibility in terms of managing a business and leading teams. I just bought a house in the Netherlands so I’ll stay here for a while. One day I might move overseas again, maybe to Asia, who knows.”