Name: Marianne Boelens
Programme: OneMBA Class of 2017
Job title: Digital Product Owner as a Contractor
Company: Publishing Company De Persgroep
1. Why did you decide to join the OneMBA?
“I work as a contractor, and wanted to take my career to the next step. Companies look for people who keep developing. The OneMBA is a way for me to take the next step and get contracts on a more strategic level.”
2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
“It’s given me a broader perspective of the work I’m doing. I used a relevant case from my current company for our global operations management course assignment, allowing me to do more research about the company and our project. New ways of working are introduced, for example using certain tools to analyse how a process is going. At work, we’re dealing with a pricing strategy online, so for the economics course I used this case, and used it at work immediately. It’s a great learning experience.”
3. What is the return on investment you expect from the OneMBA?
“I’ve worked in IT a lot and felt like I should invest in a broader perspective and background information on marketing and strategic subjects, which I get from the OneMBA. This enables me to contribute better to the executive decision-making process. I’ve already experienced this in the OneMBA courses. Being able to apply it is helping me to get to that next step.”
4. How has the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLD) affected you?
“It helps to reflect on how you’re doing your work, especially the interpersonal aspect. The coaching sessions help me to analyse a case and see how I can do it better or differently next time. I have more awareness of why I show certain behaviour, and how I can be more effective when working with others. Normally I don’t take time to think about this, so the PLD is a great way to really reflect on these types of things.”
5. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“Definitely. In both teams I’ve worked with, we all represented different nationalities and work in different ways. I learned that it really adds value to a project when you take the time to hear everyone’s opinion and figure out their strengths. It’s important to really put yourself in the other person’s shoes to know how they work and think. The better you are at this, the better the final result in the group. Especially the ‘leading and managing global organisations’ course gave me the tools to better understand people’s behaviour because of their cultural backgrounds.”
6. With your busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects?
“It’s been a challenge because of the time zones, so we’ve planned global calls on Saturdays so it’s the morning for Americans, the afternoon for Europeans, and the evening in Asia. We use all different communication apps during the week. We’re managing because we have realistic expectations, prepare well with action points, and learn to use our time during meetings effectively.”
7. How are you experiencing the Global Residencies?
“The first was really intense because there were a lot of new impressions, an information overload and new people to meet. You have to figure out what’s expected. Once you’ve figured this out, the second residency was a lot more relaxed because you know more people. There are inspiring presentations and company visits. It’s always a lot of fun.”
8. What has been the best part of the OneMBA for you so far?
“I’m learning things in areas I didn’t have a lot of experience in, for example finance and strategy. It’s all taught in a fun way, and I can apply it in my work. I do the learning in the evenings, but never feel like it’s a lonely experience – my classmates around the world are doing the same and we’re in touch a lot. I really feel like I’m part of a group.”
9. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
“That’s a good question. When I’m going to look for new contracts, I’ll look in a whole different way. The OneMBA will open a lot of new opportunities. My options are broader now and I’ll be able to choose from better contracts. Also, I grew up in several countries and like the lifestyle and new experiences, so if there’s an opportunity to go abroad, I’d do it.”