Name: Uwa Okonkwo
Programme/year: OneMBA 2018
Job title: senior manager operations, HERE Technologies
Previous degree: master in microelectronics at KTH Stockholm
1. Why did you choose the OneMBA at RSM?
“I am progressing in my career, and wanted to broaden my horizon and explore options. I have a technical background and wanted to get more exposure to areas I’m not too familiar with in my career, like finance and economics.”
2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
“I’m working on operations within the transformation office. I can apply what we learn immediately. For example, the global operations management course ties directly into how we operate in a global company. Being in the OneMBA exposes me to people from around the world with similar challenges – we can discuss and compare stories.”
3. What is the return on investment you expect from the OneMBA?
“For me, it’s personal interest. The exposure and new knowledge I get from the OneMBA is broadening my horizons, and I understand how businesses run on a higher level. So I now have more tools to move me beyond the technical domain and give me exposure to general management roles.”
4. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“Absolutely. I’ve worked in international companies, and the benefit of the OneMBA is that you meet people in their ‘natural habitat’. You collaborate with Chinese OneMBA participants who live in China, their own environment and they don’t have to adapt. You experience the cultures as they are, not how they’ve been translated to a common environment. It has challenges, but navigating this is valuable.”
5. With your busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects?
“This is the most challenging part. It’s all about co-ordination; everyone has limited time but when you know everyone else is dealing with the same challenges it’s motivating to push it. We have a good team – we schedule to speak several times a week through Skype or What’s App.”
6. How are you experiencing the Global Residencies?
“This attracted me to the OneMBA. You really go out to different regions and experience it. It’s great to see businesses in the USA and across Europe. I look forward to exploring businesses in Brazil and Mexico this year, and then in China next year. The residencies also add fun to the programme.”
7. What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?
“The people you meet, from diverse backgrounds. You’re not only learning from the teachers, but a lot of the learning comes from the classmates. For example, people with finance or HR backgrounds want to learn more about marketing or operations. Everyone has experience in their own area and shares it while we discuss work problems. And it’s interesting: everyone here has a different goal when they start, and fine tunes it during the programme. I’m making really good friendships through this MBA.”
8. How do you plan to be a force for positive change?
“My I WILL statement is ‘I WILL help build responsible and sustainable technology businesses’. As a global community, we need to do whatever we can with the resources we have. I want to learn how good management can avoid destroying the environment and humanity for the sake of profits. We don’t need to only chase financial gains; we need to run businesses more sustainably.”
9. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
“I’m not sure yet. I have a two-month-old son so I’m re-evaluating my life. I enjoy my professional role too. If I learn more about running businesses sustainably, then I’ll see how the future pans out. The OneMBA is definitely giving me new opportunities.”