Name: Hakima Charef-Khodja
Programme/year: OneMBA 2018
Job title: Europe data services manager at Schlumberger, UK
1. Why did you decide to join the OneMBA?
“I was already considering going for an Executive MBA several years ago but it was never the right time. Then I thought it’s not about shaping your education to your career but the other way around. So I took ownership of my personal development. I have lots of interests in the industry and how the business works. A strong programme like OneMBA set me on the path to new directions in my career and personal growth. I was interested in Erasmus University in particular. Nothing else compared and the diversity of the OneMBA stuck in my head. It was the right combination; I work in an international company and wanted to connect it to other industries and cultures.”
2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
“I work across many cultures in my current role and what we learn during the program is relevant with direct application facilitating how I deal with my teams across regions. In the OneMBA we build relationships with common strategies, we’re more than just business colleagues. Handling multiple projects brings additional value more than just completing assignments. It’s about achieving it together.”
3. What is the return on investment you expect from the OneMBA?
“It’s about personal growth, I want to learn about the dynamics out there, continue growing and be fully comfortable with my strengths and weaknesses for interesting times to come.”
4. How has the Personal Leadership Development programme affected you?
“There’s a nice dimension in the programme and it’s an interesting opportunity to focus on personal leadership. It has been valuable to realise that things that I thought were weaknesses can be valuable assets if you know how to use them. I want to embrace these and increase awareness to make it a strength.”
5. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“It is interesting. I noticed while working on assignments with the group, that even when people have the strength to lead they sometimes need or ask for direction. I respect the different cultures and it’s an opportunity to reflect how we can support at best various backgrounds to achieve together. Some value friendship and others value quality to always be on the agenda. You must consider these aspects to achieve group synergy.”
6. With your busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects?
“I changed my role in the company two months ago, and moved from Norway to Scotland. Between a busy role, relocation and assignments it takes some effort, and with the personal growth I’m managing and improving on what works best. It’s a good test to see how much I can take on. Sometimes I need to re-focus. In my group, we always discuss what everyone’s working on and family challenges, then we divide the tasks and everyone takes ownership of their part. If someone has special challenges, they talk about it. Communication is key to make things work.”
7. How are you experiencing the Global Residencies?
“There is a lot of energy and motivation. We’re quite focused on the path but when we meet again from all corners of the world the connection is amazing. OneMBA considers our diverse interests and we talk about events that are happening in the world right now, for example political developments. It’s relevant and this complements the experience during the residency.”
8. What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?
“I appreciate the interaction and the quality of the discussions during residencies and I really enjoy the richness of human capital with so many cultures and personalities. I’m learning more about different backgrounds and industries: banking, health care, and other sectors. It’s great to have this experience with the environment the OneMBA provides.”
9. How do you plan to be a force for positive change?
“By increasing self-awareness and embracing diversity. There are a lot of valuable people out there and we need to accept and understand diversity, socio-economic and political influences. In business, we can never forget that the best asset a company has is its people. I want to be fully equipped and learn how to balance different aspects. This all leads to sustainable growth.”
10. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
“I only see positivity after the OneMBA. It’s only been six months and I’m already noticing growth in how I’m looking at the business too. It’s difficult to put a name on the future with a world that is changing rapidly but I only see positivity. For now, I’m focusing on the learning and enjoying it.”