Name: Mungai Boulch
Last job title: compensation analyst, Avalon Bay Communities Inc.
Previous degree: Bachelor in history and economics at University of Virginia
1. Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?
“The dominating factor for choosing RSM was the small class size. I also like the emphasis on sustainability. The programme is known to be really good, and it’s great that it’s a one-year programme with great value for money.”
2. What has been the most challenging?
“Getting back into ‘student mode’ took some time in the first term. We had about five assignments due in one week – we had to really manage our time and prioritise.”
3. How has the Personal Leadership Development Programme affected you?
“It has helped me learn a lot about myself and how others view me. I learn soft skills about how to convey a message, to tell a story and how to best portray my own competencies. My confidence as a public speaker has increased. Judging from the comments of my peers, I’m able to reach people better than I thought I could. It woke up this side of me that I knew I had, but wasn’t apparent until now.”
4. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“Definitely. For example: when you ask someone from a certain culture if they can do something, they’ll always say ‘yes’. Others say ‘no’ and need some encouragement. You learn to approach people differently with criticism – with some people you can be straight-forward, with others you have to be more tactful.”
5. Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?
“It has brought me out of my comfort zone. It has put pieces from the ‘business puzzle’ together to get a high-level view of how the world of business works and how people behave. I’m also enjoying the extra-curricular activities like the sports event in Barcelona. It’s a great experience with faculty members and peers alike – I’m learning as much from both of these groups equally. The first time I met my classmates, I noticed the diversity and like-mindedness. Everyone is super-supportive. We have a great time learning and helping each other.”
6. What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve after the full-time MBA?
“I hope to take a more strategic leadership position in my field, or possibly in another one. I want to make long-term decisions that affect the business as a whole, and not only one group of people or a particular project.”
7. What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience?
“Take part in as many activities as you can, for example the Hult Challenge or Nespresso Challenge. Some of these things aren’t run by the school. Be open to accepting all kinds of information and knowledge from different sources and don’t only think about the field you’ve come from, but look into other industries and disciplines as well. Be an open book.”
8. How do you feel about living in the Netherlands?
“Rotterdam is a really nice city, it’s a similar size as Washington DC. The first thing that struck me was how clean it was. Everything here runs really efficiently. I’m still getting to know the city – the programme is so intense. I plan to explore more in the summer.”
9. How do you plan to be a force for positive change?
“I think a lot of people have a distorted view of what HR is. I have a view of what HR should be – a workforce doesn’t have to consist of people just coming to work and getting a pay check. People should be able to be creative and passionate. Even ‘boring’ roles can be exciting if people are passionate through the right leadership and HR framework. Hence my I WILL statement: I WILL turn a workforce into a life force.”
10. After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?
“I plan on sticking around Europe for the foreseeable future. The Netherlands sounds like a great place to start. I’m also looking into anywhere where I can speak the language, for example France or Switzerland. I’ll probably continue in the field of HR, but I’m also open to focus on sustainability.”