You may remember that one of my previous tips about being open and learn from others. A class profile is something I took into serious consideration when I was choosing which MBA to study. The IÉSEG IMBA is particularly focusing on having students with diverse perspectives, opinions and talents. There are 15 nationalities in our batch representing a wide range of cultures. I had interviewed some of my colleagues to have them share their MBA journey with you!
Vivien: Hi Sebastián, I knew you founded two companies in Venezuela. What was the motivation for you to return to school? How do you manage your work and study at the same time?
Sebastián: I wanted to do an MBA for a long time, as I wanted to improve my managerial skills in different areas, but I never found the appropriate time for doing it. Two years ago, the intensity of my work decreases significantly, for which I decided it was the right time to do it. My partners are currently running the businesses and I help them with some task remotely. As this program is very demanding, it has been very difficult to manage work and study at the same time, but all the sacrifice has already been paying back with all the great experiences that I have lived, all the great people that I have met and all the friends that I have made.
Vivien: What is the most memorable thing in your MBA journey so far?
Sebastián: This is a truly international MBA that has given me the opportunity to meet people of different nationalities and backgrounds and to learn from different points of view. Having the opportunity to work and have fun together has broaden considerably my awareness to other cultures and behaviors, which is one of the most valuables things that I will take from this program. Now I have many friends and contacts from all around the world!
Vivien: Hi Michael, can you tell us about your background and why you choose IÉSEG for your MBA?
Michael: I embarked on an MBA because I felt it was essential for me to pivot my career into the direction I wanted long term and also to expand my network and meet professionals at a similar career point.
I have a background in accounting and finance. I worked for 3 and half years in international trade finance. Prior to my departure for France I supervised a team of 4 in the establishment and monitoring of documentary credits (technical). I felt the MBA will be essential to develop my leadership skills necessary to take on the added responsibility. I’m however more passionate about investment banking hence my elective focus geared towards corporate finance and strategy.
It’s been an awesome experience so far!
Vivien: Do you find any difficulty living in Paris as a foreigner?
Michael: None really. Looking for a house is a complete disaster if you don’t have a French guarantor. I can tell you because I’ve had to relocate two times during my stay. But aside that you don’t really experience much of a hassle as a foreigner. Paris is an international city. Everyone at the stores speaks okay English so don’t worry if you’re not fluent in French. They might just look at you in a funny way.
Vivien: If there are 3 advice you can give to the future students, what would it be?
– Put a lot of effort in the first semester. Its more tasking and weighs more in your transcript.
– Try to mix and have friends with the other PGP program candidates.
– Try not to live too far from Paris 75. Especially if you work (or play) late at night.
Vivien: Hi Gycel, I knew you come from a background in Human Resources in the educational sector before joining the MBA. Can you describe the learning experience you have had in IÉSEG so far?
Gycel: I am passionate for Human Resources. However, one of my main goals with the MBA was to open the scope and learn from other areas: strategic management, negotiation, leadership, people in the organizations, and others. Learning from the teachers, classmates, reading cases and books, and being able to do software simulations, has been amazing in order to strengthen my skills and achieve what I wanted. I feel that studying the International MBA at IÉSEG School of Management has been such a great input for my future jobs and has given me many opportunities to keep developing with an international context.
I recently got accepted in ABInBev to do an European Training Program in Human Resources that will take place in Prague – Czech Republic. I will work in projects with France and Spain. I found studying the IMBA, living in Paris and learning a 3rd language, are key to acquire better opportunities worldwide.
Vivien: What changes do you see yourself in the last 7 months?
Gycel: The experience of living alone in another country, learning subjects that you had no idea before, learning a new language, adapting to a new country, travelling around Europe, learning from your friends cultures and experiences, has been amazing for me and I have now a global mind-set.
What I appreciate the most, is that after these 7 months I feel that I now have friends that are going to last for the rest of my life. They became my family in Paris, we care about each other and I am sure we will still support each other no matter the country we will be at. Doing the IMBA at IÉSEG, was the best life experience I could ever have .