European Business School Alumni Share Relocation Experiences

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Luiz Antônio de Souza

Brazilian; Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics; master in finance, graduated 2018; business developer, investor relations, and market intelligence; Santiago, Chile

Why did you want to study in Europe?

We have a myth in Brazil that everything happens in Europe and the US; it was important for me to go abroad to know how business has developed in different countries and understand other points of view. I did my undergraduate degree in Brazil and although we have the same language as Portugal, there were big differences in how we studied. In Brazil, we focus mostly on theory, not on ways to make business better; in Portugal, it was a more practical approach. The cultural impact was also important. The way young people think about business is so different: Europeans are more open-minded, perhaps they take more risks. I was sure that when I came back to Latin America, doors would open, and they did indeed. After the course, I came to Chile because my wife got a job here, and I found a job in a consultancy — having the masters made a huge difference.

Prachi Mathur

British; Henley Business School, UK; Executive MBA; graduates 2020; Emea business planning, strategy and sales operations lead at Apple, London

Why did you want to do an MBA?

I had more than 20 years of experience across several industries, but I realised that in order to progress further into leadership I needed to learn from experts. Some ex-colleagues had done a Henley MBA and told me how it had helped. I had been applying to courses and then I won a Henley Women in Leadership scholarship. I expect it to galvanise my career, with new perspectives and experiences. We have people in the cohort from the army, banking, aviation — it’s a diverse mix of people that I would not otherwise have had the chance to work with. That was the most important aspect. I started a new job and the MBA at the same time — it’s an enriching experience but it’s also hard; you need a strong support network around you. I just keep picturing myself on graduation day in the black gown — that keeps me going.

Leonard Kaffenberger

German; Kozminski University, Warsaw; master of management; graduated 2019; researcher, SRI Executive; Munich

What impact did the course have on you?

I chose a masters in management as it was not too specific and I thought it would give me good opportunities in general because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. I researched business schools and I liked Kozminski — it was a bit different. Talking to alumni, I heard that most professors have good industry links. Also, I had lived in England, the Netherlands and Germany, and as a city Warsaw appealed; it was really international and welcoming. The professors had the biggest impact on me — the way they delivered the theory and had the practical knowledge behind it. They also had an objective view of my strengths and weaknesses. During the course, you find out whether you enjoy working with people or more project-based work, and whether you like bigger or smaller teams. If you really want to get things done, you can get a lot from this course — for your career but also for your personal development.

Sophie Van Gool

Dutch; Esade, Barcelona; MBA; graduated 2019; founder of Moonshot: Diversity & Inclusion analytics; Amsterdam

Why did you choose Esade?

The location was important. I had studied in Spain before as an undergraduate and wanted to return. Esade was known for being open-minded and flexible — you could do the programme in 12, 15 or 18 months. I loved it so much I ended up staying for 18 months. I was working in management consulting so when my company offered to sponsor an MBA I thought, why not? I also liked that the school was focused on entrepreneurship, the direction I wanted to go. I learnt to experiment; not spending too much time on business plans but adjusting, talking to customers, adjusting again. I set up my business during the course and secured my first clients. When I went back to Amsterdam I decided to quit my job; it was not an easy decision but the company understood (I had to pay back the cost of the MBA). Building the business took time, but now it’s going very well.

Akinlolu Adedayo Ayo-Vaughan

Nigerian; ESMT Berlin; MBA; graduates 2019

What is your experience so far?

ESMT has a high proportion of international students — there are 20 or so nationalities in my class — which gives me perspectives from all over the world. As the only black person, I had to adjust to not being around people exactly like me, but my classmates were welcoming and nothing has been overtly uncomfortable. That took some getting used to — and also how Berlin is really cold in winter. The fast pace of the programme is challenging: there is a lot of coursework, reading, and you have to compromise on your social life. Coming from Nigeria, I find the student-teacher relations more interactive, which is very different to what I am used to. I have some experience of business development in Nigeria, but I wanted to understand how this is different in Europe, to learn to help entrepreneurs back in Africa. One thing I have taken away is that business is not just about the numbers: there is more emphasis on the psychological aspect — a business is run by people and is meant to run for people.


This article was originally published on Financial Times.

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