I am glad to tell my story, since one of my classmates offered me a CEO job when I finished the program.
Many applicants are motivated to join an executive MBA program to make a move forward in their careers, or to get insights from a different industry. My experience with IE went beyond my expectations in both professional insights and personal enrichment. From a top business school, I was expecting world-class professors – and they were. But I learned both from the professors and from my classmates.
I would outline the diversity of the class as a strong source of personal/professional enrichment and, after my own experience, I can say very clearly: I have 28 new friends for ever. Diversity is critical for an organisation’s ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment, and the same is applicable to executive education.
After we graduated in December 2014, we have done our best to meet at least once a year and organise our own face-to-face get-togethers: Berlin, London, and Moscow. Even after finishing the program we feel we should still keep the learning experience alive, and there is great value capitalizing our own networks.
Everyone was truly standing out from the crowd in his industry or company; many of us had a predominant entrepreneurial spirit. The common ground was the aim of making something successful businesswise with a great bunch of people in your team. IE definitely made a good job putting all of us together. And it is always about people!
I faced scepticism about the efficiency of an online methodology before joining the program, mainly because I lacked the experience of any similar learning experience in an online environment. However, I realised that:
- It is the only way to connect executives from 28 nationalities, and 12h time zone differences. The time factor is key to get people with this kind of senior profile into the classroom and to contribute.
- It also went beyond my expectations in a positive way!
- The forum system has many advantages in terms of learning. I have always learned by working hard and being challenged. In a written post, I did not want to repeat others´ ideas, and instead I worked hard to build on someone else’s or even open a discussion. I felt challenged many times. We tended to create more value with each written contribution, since it was written and stayed visible.
Talking from an executive women’s perspective, there is a long way to go to reach equality. In our case the female contingent made up 5 of 28 participants – brilliant mothers, international executives, and managing to balance the MBA program, the family and responsibility at work in an exemplary way.
I find it important that, since I myself was a positive example – being trusted as a pregnant CEO during the first year – I could spread the word and, on top of that, empower other women very strongly. My own objective will be to pull other women to where I am right now.
I am passionate to work for each woman in this world, so she can fulfil their own professional dreams without having to choose not to be a mother, without having to lead in a different way, without being recognised.
I must praise IE as I think that creating diversity remains a key feature of executive education and will help fill the unfortunate gap we still see at executive level around the world.
Last, but not least, I would highly recommend anyone to join the GXMBA. It is an eye-opener on today´s global business world; it goes beyond a professional, once-in-a-lifetime experience, where you will get a compressed injection of top knowledge, but also be exposed to different cultures, insights, and high-end discussions. Be ready to fully enjoy the program, as a part of this enrichment will be missed when the experience is over!
“If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee that there is no hope. If you assume that there are opportunities to change things, there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.” Noam Chomsky (watched in the film “Captain Fantastic”).