Business students share experiences and tips
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Italian/Swiss. Executive MBA student, IEDC Bled School of Management, Slovenia. General manager, Cosylab. Switzerland
What was your biggest lesson?
After 20 years in an academic environment developing particle and radiation detectors for three space missions, I joined a provider of control systems for proton therapy for cancer. Appointed general manager, I wanted to address my lack of formal training in business administration. With my training as a scientist, the biggest obstacle was understanding there are many problems for which there is no right answer.
The teaching approach of IEDC, based on case studies, is a great way to push students to examine situations from a variety of points of view. In a typical case-study discussion, I change my mind four or five times, thanks to open discussion with my colleagues, mediated by the teacher.
I have learnt that, as a manager, I should know which questions to ask, look for diverse opinions, then decide on a course of action and be accountable for it. It takes more courage to manage people than to find a solution to a scientific or technical problem.
French. Masters in Management graduate, EMLyon, France. Co-founder of Cryptocurrency company Mon Livret C, France
How did you choose your business school?
I have always envisioned entrepreneurship as my future, which is why I applied for the Masters in Management, and studying at EMLyon was a logical decision. The school is renowned in France for its dedication to innovation and entrepreneurship, and its progressive incubator helped me make up my mind.
The most important thing I learnt was the need to dare as an entrepreneur. You can have the greatest ideas in the world but, if you don’t put them into practice, they will never flourish. EMLyon pushes students to come up with ideas and projects of all sorts and I’m grateful for that.
I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of students and their desire to start projects. Some people just navigate school by attending courses. Others try to create and innovate. I felt like I was at the right place to find these people — and, indeed, I met my co-founder there.
Indian. MBA graduate, Trinity Business School, Dublin. Assistant manager, climate change and sustainability Services, EY, Ireland
What did you enjoy most about business school?
I had the honour of working with diverse peers on a programme that opened my mind to new ways of thinking and challenged me every day to think and be better. I learnt that diversity of thought and experiences in a team can greatly elevate the outcome — it prevents groupthink as solutions are developed for various business challenges.
I have always been passionate and driven about the environment, having worked at various UN organisations and environmental foundations across Europe and Africa. The private sector plays a vital role in building a climate-resilient and sustainable world, and I wanted to expand my business acumen so that I could lead on and drive high-impact ESG projects in the corporate world.
The climate change journey is evolving rapidly and needs cohesive and collaborative action from all sectors. I hope I can play my part.
British. Executive education programme, Henley Business School, UK. Senior internal audit manager, Invesco, United Kingdom
What surprised you most?
The different experiences and ways of handling different situations that I learnt from other participants in the Henley Leadership Programme. The diverse careers and industries of the participants, ranging from financial services to charity to media, helped to illustrate how effective leadership can be implemented in differing environments.
The overall experience at Henley was very positive and enlightening — the setting is a breath of fresh air and allows you to immerse yourself in the course. I enrolled to equip myself for success in the next stage of my career, and the Henley programme matched my requirements closely, with a focus on increasing confidence and self-awareness, and my ability to handle difficult situations.
Reading past case studies showed a diverse range of previous students at different career levels.
German. Master of Finance graduate, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Banking analyst, Jefferies, Germany
Why did you choose Frankfurt?
The city is a financial centre that has its own international but traditional charm. Being this close to top-tier companies, consultancies and banks is not only very motivating but also provided the opportunity to study and apply for internships or student placements.
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management has an atmosphere all of its own in the middle of the city. I was surprised at how time flew by on the beautiful campus. When I wasn’t studying, I was spending time with new friends, enjoying on-campus events or having a beer on the roof terrace.
I was also surprised by the possibilities Frankfurt provided from the very beginning: someone — be they a professor, a study adviser or a programme manager — was always available to offer help when needed.