Noelle Etienne

Nationality: Bolivian
Age: 27
Last job title: Project controller for Urban Ropeway System in La Paz, Bolivia
Previous degree: BSc in finance at The University of Tampa

Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?             

“I wanted to broaden my international experience and learn more about other cultures. I did my undergraduate in the USA, and I wanted to go to Europe. At an education fair in New York, I learned that RSM’s MBA programme focuses on empowering women, and that it’s extremely international. I also like that the programme starts in January.”                

What has been the most challenging assignment or activity?    

“Time management in term 1 is hard, because it’s very quantitative: the subjects and amount of projects. Keeping on track with this combination of activities is challenging, because there are so many different things that are highly demanding. Going from a working life to having to deal with group projects and individual assignments is tough. Luckily, my work experience helps me with time management; I worked in a high-paced and intense construction industry. I’m used to planning and creating timelines. Embracing other people’s approach to working is helping me improve my hard and soft skills.”                

How has the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLD) affected you?

“It’s amazing! Before coming to RSM I was used to working in an ‘automatic mode’; we never stop and think about what we really want in life. Now I think about where I’m heading, and discovering who I am as a person. I’m finding myself, and know better what I want to do.”    

Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?

“I’ve never worked in such diverse groups before. There is great value in learning from each other. Our diversity doesn’t just come from different cultures and habits. There’s also diversity in age groups, career backgrounds and nationalities. This combination makes that you get the best learning experience. You become more patient and understand why people do certain things and work in different ways. You have to find a middle ground within your group.”               

Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?

“This experience will stay forever. Our class is so close and united in everything; we don’t just come to class and do our work. Wherever my future will be, I will always have a tremendous network of people all over the world. That is just invaluable. It’s also great that professors and others at RSM help you with anything you need.”                

What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve from completing the full-time MBA?               

“Before coming to RSM, I felt I had good knowledge in my area of finance. I came here because I needed to broaden that knowledge. In the future, I want to implement what I learned in my family business. The skills I’m learning here are what I need to make our family business grow and develop.”

What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience?    

“You don’t need to be 100 per cent sure about what you want in the future; the MBA helps you figure that out. Think about what you want to gain, what you want to experience, and who you want to surround yourself with. If you want an international experience and have key points of your career you want to focus on, you can get the most out of it at RSM.”    

How do you feel about living in Rotterdam/the Netherlands? 

“I love it here. I knew it would be cold in the winter, but the city is so nice and people are so friendly. I live next to the lake by Kralingen, which is near the university. It’s so nice to have a place to relax after classes. There are also great restaurants. In Bolivia, there aren’t many events. I’m excited about the summer festivals in Rotterdam, there’s really always something going on. You can’t get bored in this city.”  

After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?     

“After the MBA, I want more international work experience in Western Europe for a few years. There’s flexibility in the programme to choose your path or specialisation. I’m not sure where I want to go exactly, but it will be within finance. After living in Europe, I want to go back to Bolivia with everything I’ve learned and eventually transition into managing the family business.”