Alumni Voices: Master’s in Management

Alumni Voices: Master’s in Management

As part of the QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2019 and the QS Business Masters Rankings 2019, we spoke to thousands of graduates worldwide about their business school programs and experiences.

Below, we hear from five students who are recent master’s in management  graduates from some of the best business schools in the world, who tell us about the highs and lows of their experience as well as providing helpful advice for future applicants.

 

Sofia Simões undertook a master’s in management at Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, graduating in 2017. Now working as a junior online marketing manager for Global Savings Group, she enthuses about the great experience she had during her masters.

Sofia Simões How did you decide on the business school in which you ultimately enrolled?

I wanted a school that had a good reputation amongst employers, that would allow me to study in an international environment and to learn interesting and innovative topics. Católica-Lisbon gave me all that and more.

What was the best and/or most unexpected part of your graduate school experience?

The best part was studying in such an international environment and from having so many international peers. Another highlight, that was quite unexpected, was the incentive we had to enroll in extra-curricular activities and business competitions, which also taught me so much and allowed me to grow my time management skills.

What were the most valuable skills that you gained from your program?

I’d say that the most valuable skills I gained were team work, time management, and multi-tasking.

How would you describe your return on investment from earning your degree?

I'm already way past breakeven level, having this degree allowed me to progress a lot faster on a professional level since I developed so many skills that allowed me to perform and stand out. On a personal level, I grew a lot, got to know lots of new people and expand my horizons, and ultimately choose to start my life abroad, in Germany.

If you could have changed one thing about your experience what would it have been?

I would have tried to enjoy every day, even the tough ones - it's a marvelous experience to be able to study!

The admissions process can be quite a daunting experience. What would be your top tip for candidates to enable them to excel when applying for business schools?

I believe preparation can make all the difference: know what you want, why you want it and how this school will be the way to get there. Once you can justify that, you will feel confident about your application and be able to face the process with a good attitude.

 

Jona Kalemi graduated from the master’s in management program at Dublin City University Business School  in 2017. Her chosen post-master’s career is consulting, as she is currently in the recruitment process with McKinsey & Company, on track to be a business analyst.

Jona KalemiHow did you decide on the business school in which you ultimately enrolled?

I enrolled at DCU Business School as it had a really good reputation in relation to the quality of teaching & curriculum content, its ranking and its student-centered approach. Another key reason was that DCU Business School offered me the opportunity to complete my masters part time while training as a full-time athlete.

What was the best and/or most unexpected part of your graduate school experience?

The best part of my graduate school experience was the course content, which was both theoretical and practical. It was an opportunity where you really got as much out of it as you put into it - the room to learn and grow was endless.

In addition, the professors and lecturers were very student-centered, and they went above and beyond to make the experience both intellectually stimulating and enjoyable for the students.

The alumni network within DCU Business School is really well maintained and as a result, I had the opportunity to attend various alumni talks and events as a student. As a direct result of the alumni network, I received a scholarship to fund my studies from a previous DCU MBA graduate.

What were the most valuable skills that you gained from your program?

The most valuable skills I gained from the program were business intuition, critical, analytical, problem-solving, creativity, self-awareness, research, digital and presentation skills. While I already had a good base of the some of these skills, the program allowed me to improve and bring these skills to a whole new level.

How would you describe your return on investment from earning your degree?

My degree was a big investment and it has definitely been worth it. While the tangible results are yet to be seen, I believe they will be evident within the next few months. The degree provided me with a toolkit for success, which will ultimately help me succeed in any field.

My investment in the degree, skills and experience, taught me to strive high and not settle for anything less. I believe this kind of attitude, combined with the skills and degree accreditations will result in long-term success, wherever that may be.

If you could have changed one thing about your experience what would it have been?

My overall experience was very positive, so on a high-level overview, I don't think I would have changed anything. On a more detailed note, I think if I had gained some experience first before completing the masters, I may have gotten more out of it.

The admissions process can be quite a daunting experience. What would be your top tip for candidates to enable them to excel when applying for business schools?

Firstly, take some time to really think if business school is for you and why. Once you decide that it is for you, draw up a plan with tasks and deadlines (start early!) Reach out to either friends, family or professional contacts who have completed a degree in business and gain some insight on their experience. If you are unclear on something, reach out to admissions and ask questions, but do your research first and do so in a professional way. Finally, ensure you leave enough time to edit your application and make sure you portray your achievements well.

 

Ørjan Elverum Holm graduated in 2017 from the joint master’s degree in Global Entrepreneurial Management at the IQS School of Management  in Barcelona, Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, and the University of San Francisco. He is currently living and working in his native Norway for financial services group DNB as a project manager.

Ørjan Elverum HolmHow did you decide on the business school in which you ultimately enrolled?

It was a highly ranked unique program which allowed me to gain a deep insight on business culture in three different continents. It was also one of the best programs for someone with a non-business undergraduate degree. I consider myself adventurous and saw this as a unique possibility to see/learn about other cultures as well as gaining invaluable contacts and knowledge.

What was the best and/or most unexpected part of your graduate school experience?

One of the best experiences for me was the focus on cross-cultural management. This focused on how to understand and better interact with people from other cultures as well as understanding their values. This course is something I will bring with me for the rest of my life and has also made me more open and tolerant when meeting people from other cultures, something I encounter daily in my current job.

What were the most valuable skills that you gained from your program?

As well as better business understanding, I would pin-point the development of soft-skills, holding presentations, interacting with others and generally gaining more and more confidence in public speaking. I noticed a change in my own mindset partway through the program, and this is probably the single thing that has helped me the most in my professional career.

How would you describe your return on investment from earning your degree?

It is by far the best investment I have ever done, not only did I get a degree, I also got a broad network across the globe as well as business contacts everywhere. If I ever need anything, I will always have someone who can help me get in the right direction, both from other alumni and from the staff at the three universities.

If you could have changed one thing about your experience what would it have been?

The one thing I would have changed would be to do more extracurricular activities. For instance, I would have loved to have done some volunteering and given something back to all the different people and places that hosted and supported me during my program. On a personal level I would have travelled more, especially in Asia.

The admissions process can be quite a daunting experience. What would be your top tip for candidates to enable them to excel when applying for business schools?

My best advice would be to start the application a long time before the deadline, revise the first draft and improve it when proof-reading. Afterwards, I would suggest asking someone who understands what an application should look like to proof-read and come up with ideas to further improve the draft. I would also recommend staying humble and letting your actions and experiences talk for themselves. There is no need to exaggerate to make oneself look better, it often backfires and weakens an application.

 

James Lewis graduated from the master’s in management program at Leeds University Business School  in 2017. He is now working as an associate management consultant at PwC.

James LewisHow did you decide on the business school in which you ultimately enrolled?

The university had close links with employers and a strong academic ranking combined with triple-accreditation. I felt these factors would leave me with the best chances of getting a top graduate role.

What was the best and/or most unexpected part of your graduate school experience?

The immense international diversity within the cohort brought new challenges and, therefore, learning opportunities that I wasn't expecting. This made me feel out of my depth at first, but I quickly adjusted and felt much stronger for it by the end of the course.

What were the most valuable skills that you gained from your program?

Modules in accounting, operations, organizational behavior and strategy have been particularly applicable in my new role. The requirement to work effectively in teams throughout several assignments has also developed extremely useful teamwork skills.

How would you describe your return on investment from earning your degree?

I wouldn't be where I am today without it. I passed the initial screening stages of every graduate scheme I applied to, before utilizing the skills I learnt through the later stages of the process.

If you could have changed one thing about your experience what would it have been?

Looking back, I feel tech skills should've featured more heavily. Data analytics especially, along with financial and office skills such as Excel and PowerPoint would've been extremely applicable.

The admissions process can be quite a daunting experience. What would be your top tip for candidates to enable them to excel when applying for business schools?

Sell your 'why'. I had a clear objective to secure a top graduate scheme which drove me towards success. Any candidate with a compelling reason for success on the course will be most likely to achieve it.

 

Johannes Munding graduated from the master’s in management program at HEC Paris in 2017. Originally from Germany, he is now living and working in Switzerland as a senior associate consultant for management consulting firm Bain & Company.

Johannes MundingHow did you decide on the business school in which you ultimately enrolled?

I felt that HEC provided the strongest and most extensive curriculum as well as a very strong alumni network.

What was the best and/or most unexpected part of your graduate school experience?

The best experience was the level of academic rigor, which was still deeply rooted in an applied way to make relevant to a future job.

The most unexpected part was the extremely close connection between the student body and the faculty which enabled a close collaboration.

What were the most valuable skills that you gained from your program?

I gained a strong academic foundation combined with a focus on implementing it in the business world, applying the latest models and teachings for the most effective business management.

How would you describe your return on investment from earning your degree?

Extremely high. Both in terms of knowledge and experiences the program provided considerable development opportunities and continues to have a lasting impact on my life and job.

If you could have changed one thing about your experience what would it have been?

I would have liked the school to create an even better interaction between the different specialized master’s programs, to learn and grow with students from different specializations.

The admissions process can be quite a daunting experience. What would be your top tip for candidates to enable them to excel when applying for business schools?

Really think about why you want to join the program and view business school as a step in your career. If you think about it as one step in your career and you understand what it is that you can get out of the experience, but also what other opportunities you might deprioritize, then it gives you the clarity to go into the program with the best intentions.

Written by Julia Gilmore

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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