Name: Elena Pupazan
Programme: OneMBA Class of 2019
Job title: Digital Strategy and Innovation Manager, Accenture
Previous degree: Master in Business Analytics from VU Amsterdam, and a Master in Computer Science from Politehnica University Timişoara in Romania
1. Why did you decide to do an MBA?
“I’m at point in my life and career where I needed space to reflect, re-connect and understand how I can make more impact in my next steps and live up to my full potential. I used to dream of being an architect. Along the way though, I got fascinated and absorbed by the digital bubble, and how fundamental this will change the way we live, interact and do business. Today the business landscape is changing at an incredible pace, and it became imperative to understand and master all a business entails in order to act timely, adapt and stay relevant.”
2. Why did you decide to join the OneMBA?
“I wanted to learn first-hand how others see, think and engage with the current trends and dynamics in politics, economy, industries, social culture and especially digital innovation. We live in a liberal and progressive time, with great freedom to express ourselves, create and innovate. Through my work I see though that we are reaching a fine line where innovation becomes an objective in itself and even an excuse to stretch various boundaries for a competitive advantage. And that should not be the case. The OneMBA is truly the only programme that brings together leaders from across the world and cross-industries, creating a practical platform to exchange experiences and collaborate. It also connects us with governments and established corporates, enabling discussions on business dynamics and strategies as well as essential topics like ethics, human rights, engagement and contribution to the social development goals. I also love the personal leadership development aspect. Leadership needs to change today as well. It needs to truly shift towards values, building sustainable bridges and nurturing collaboration between people.”
3. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
“It really complements it and I can see the benefits immediately. I play various roles in an international organisation and this gives me the context to asses, reflect and directly apply new information and knowledge acquired. The OneMBA gives me the theory I missed in certain areas and by being able to apply it, I feel I’m building a better foundation for myself. I’m also learning how to adapt as a leader and understand all aspects of the decision-making process.”
4. How has the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLD) affected you?
“People are the enablers of success, at individual and collective level. Learning to connect and collaborate with people starts with myself. PLD gives us the space, tools and support to understand who we are, where we want to go, and how to do achieve this. It’s a process and a continuous journey. We need to develop it as an engine of our life. It is also the only way to be able to truly be respectful, understand and effectively engage with others.”
5. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within your global teams?
“Yes, and I love it. Due to my work, I feel much like a fish in the water. I’m always fascinated and can appreciate the beauty in being different. To build a team and perform, we just need to connect on and interconnect our interests and strengths. The OneMBA gives us a safe environment to experience, discuss our differences openly, find each other and make changes together. We learn a lot from each other and we become aware of what works and why.”
6. How are you experiencing the Global Residencies?
“They are an excellent platform to address questions relevant for us and our future development. It is amazing to have access to and be able to brainstorm with representatives of governments, leaders of influential corporates like Amazon, PayPal and Petrobras, as well as entrepreneurs and investors. The global residencies are also a direct contact with the cultures, local economics and the political and social dynamics. It’s truly inspiring and prepares us to act on a global level.”
7. What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?
“The people: from my local and global classmates, to the RSM MBA staff and all the professors. We share a joint vision of the global impact we can make. Everyone’s eager to add their personal experiences, take initiatives and think along. It’s a great constructive environment and we are building lifelong friendships. Having access to so much knowledge and forward-thinking people, we are actually learning more than we probably realise at this point in time.”
8. How do you hope the RSM MBA helps you to be a force for positive change?
“This is my personal mission too and a reason to engage with RSM. I see the OneMBA as a beginning, and it will most probably be a lifelong collaboration. I’m committed to develop and contribute to the UN’s SDGs agenda for Accenture, our clients and beyond. Through my work I have the right platform to bring together public and private, small and large, and spin off new collaborative business ideas and models, from providing access to education, health and work for the disadvantaged social groups to accelerating the shift towards a true circular economy in various industries. These constructions ask for an intrinsic motivation, fit, commitment and trust. They will then fuel the troublesome path of making it happen. Once that is achieved, structural and sustainable shifts of mindset, culture and system already took place. ”
9. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
“I’m in a good place on a professional level. Accenture is a global platform enabling me to spin off large programmes and drive significant impact. I also have the chance to shape and shift the business culture on how profitability and doing good go better hand in hand. This is important to me as it is a core personal believe. The OneMBA is giving me additional knowledge, skills and perspectives to further build on this agenda. I do want to go back to Romania eventually. I’ve learned a lot and I would really like to contribute concretely and directly to the development of our economy, education and social services.”