Miranda Tjiang, 39
Currently: EMBA participant and Process Leader Contracting for ProRail BV in Utrecht
What made you decide to do an MBA?
In the first instance I decided to take an executive MBA to take my career to another level, and not to be seen solely as a specialist.
In my previous job I worked as senior legal counsel with a cable company for more than seven years. My present employer, ProRail, put me in a management role and is supporting my career development. I lead tendering procedures, mainly in ICT, and my job involves planning, budgeting, leading project teams, contracting and supplier relations. My MBA is helping me to consolidate this experience.
How are you financing your studies?
My employer is totally financing my MBA. Career development was one of my conditions for taking my present job, and at the interview ProRail committed to sponsoring my MBA. They are keen on continuing professional development - giving me a chance to grow and make changes for the better. I’m lucky that, as a woman, there are some senior women executives in the company who provide a strong role model.
What specifically was the appeal of the RSM EMBA?
I had done my law degree at Erasmus and I really like the RSM culture - being taught by an international faculty and being part of a diverse student body. Moreover an executive MBA suits my aspirations to learn about business in a global context.
What do you think about the ‘soft’ part of the programme – the PLD programme?
The MBA is not just for broadening my business capabilities and my hard skills; Personal Leadership Development (PLD) helps to give me a broader perspective on global business. PLD is not only about economics, politics and the environment, but about how you act and react both as an individual and collectively.
For example the week we spent in Johannesburg in South Africa as part of the course changed my mygroup’s attitudeattitude as well as mine by giving us ‘the bigger picture’. We visited a wide range of enterprises across all levels of society, from small businesses to large corporations, and saw how they were struggling to cope with safety, the HIV AIDS epidemic and ‘brain drain’. We learned that no matter what their size, all businesses were surviving and dealing with very similar problems. We also saw how different economies can co-exist.
How is the RSM EMBA improving your effectiveness in your current role and contributing to your career ambitions?
It has given me more management tools especially around effective team working and strategic planning. It also made me more confident to approach situations from a business perspective.
What are your views as a woman on the EMBA programme?
I would like to see more women on the EMBA. Currently a quarter of the EMBA participants are female.What surprised me the most is that when I went to Johannesburg, I heard that the number of women participating in executive MBA programmes is much higher. Also remarkable - as we found out in our research – is that the percentage of women entrepreneurs in South Africa is slightly higher than in the Netherlands. Maybe we are not as modern as we think we are?
How do you juggle your busy work and study schedule with your home life?
I have a partner but no children. Study at RSM takes place on alternate weeks so my partner and I can spend time together at least every fortnight, and several hours a day. To be honest, sometimes that’s enough - and sometimes it isn’t. What is most important is that your partner, family and friends are supportive. It’s all about giving and continuously finding the right balance. It is important that you plan your study and work, and most of all manage the expectations from yourself and those you love to have around and to be around!