Exploring a European career after an MBA: Katsiaryna Pakhomava’s triple jump

Historically, around 40 percent of RSM MBA graduates make the famed ‘triple jump’ and change location, industry and function after the programme. Katsiaryna Pakhomava (Belarus, MBA’20), recently started at Amazon in Luxembourg, is one of them. How did she leverage her background in the cruise and art industry to land a position as Senior Program Manager at the e-commerce tech giant?

With one of the most diverse classrooms in the world, RSM’s Full-time MBA programme attracts professionals from a wide variety of industry backgrounds. But even by those standards, Pakhomava’s work experience can be considered unconventional, she acknowledges: “I definitely consider myself to have a niche profile for an MBA at first sight, but if you zoom out, it comes down to having valuable work experience in high-pressure, extremely revenue-driven commercial environments.”

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Cruising industry

“When I worked in the cruising industry, I was first responsible for promoting and selling luxury brands to our guests. Later I became Principal Art Auctioneer, where I headed up both the on-board art gallery on luxury cruiseliners and lead the auctions. I was also in charge of the marketing of the art objects, events programming and led a team of four to make this happen.”

Transferrable skills

“All in all, I believe my previous positions have left me with quite a few transferrable skills, but doing the RSM MBA has definitely helped me move into what is actually my first corporate job. When I started looking earlier this year, Amazon felt like a logical choice for me. Their hiring and interviewing process at the company focuses heavily on behaviourial aspects. Obviously, your background is evaluated, but your leadership skills and ability to adapt are what count most in the end. Also, RSM MBA is a trusted name at the company, which probably increased my chances of getting hired as well.”

“In my current role as Senior Programme Manager I work in the department that handles the so-called ‘middle mile’ in our EU transportation and delivery services. I manage the processes that aim to attract as many high-quality carriers as possible. Although this is only a small slice of our entire operation, you are expected to deliver from day one and have a broad view on all departments. Having gone through an MBA allowed me to quickly develop that overview, although it’s hard to pin-point the exact part of the programme that contributed to this. Much of what you learn during an MBA, you just end up applying unconsciously.”

Luxembourg

I originally joined RSM to start a career in the Netherlands, but I found that Amazon offered many English-spoken job opportunities abroad, so I decided to apply here. Because of the lockdowns and our seasonal workload peak, I haven’t been able to really explore the city yet, but it seems safe and clean, and public transport is free! I am also convinced that wherever I will end up working, I will always find something fun to do. Over the last year, six of my classmates have also joined Amazon in Luxembourg, so a few drinks or help in getting set up here are never far away.”

Learn more about how doing an MBA at RSM opens up the European job market here.

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