Our students are the core of the MaastrichtMBA programme. Students with a broad diversity on nationality, age and even professional background. The insights and thoughts of our MBA students describe the true experience of MaastrichtMBA. This time we talked with our Romanian student Ioana Nitulescu. She works as Senior Director | Client Success at Within3, a leading life science insights management platform that helps to understand the market, effectively engage global stakeholders, and get answers that drive agile, informed decision-making. Ioana joined our Online MBA track in May 2023.
After working for 13 years in Market Research, having different roles in diverse companies and working with multiple cultures and in several countries, I felt the need of having more in terms of experience, learning, reflection and personal growth and I realised that changing the working sector would bring me a new perspective on all these wishes I had, but that experience would become questionable again in a decade or sooner as it will be specific to a certain sector again. I did the change of the working sector almost 3 years ago and the learning curve went up, but I was yearning for more again. Looking back to my educational and professional background, I realised that the moments in life when I learned the most were when I was surrounded by people who are totally different from me in terms of education, working experience, culture, background; but somehow among all these contrasts, we were sharing similar values and the same hunger for becoming better versions of ourselves, for learning and progressing and challenging ourselves.
Where could I find that context and those people? The answer was definitely an MBA as this is the place where I could be part of a group of people who are looking for the same context and are willing to learn and share, to challenge and be challenged, to question and to tell stories, to generate ideas and give perspective; where culture and background diversity are gathered together to form a group of people who are in the same time so different and so alike in their journey. The MBA was for me the journey I needed to take and with every new step I take, I am more convinced the decision was correct.
The MBA is the perfect environment for the reflection, the discussions, and the perspective. I think that if you want to learn a new skill, with the access to information which is available to us today, you can always look for the books, articles, courses, workshops needed, and you could very well not purchase an MBA if you just want to develop a new skill. It is true that I look to learn concepts that were just tangential to me, like corporate finance, entrepreneurship and innovation, strategic management or sustainability and change management, but I am looking more for the unique occasions to exchange with the professors and find out from them what are the new trends on the topic they teach, how can we apply the knowledge to our specific context and then to engage in discussions with the fellow colleagues. To me, this is the most valuable part of the MBA, and this is what I am looking for to develop.
The initial reason for checking this programme was the proximity and the great feedback I received from a very close friend who was already enrolled. I did not expect to get such amazing diversity in terms of cultures as my initial thoughts were that, due to the proximity, independently of pursuing the Online MBA track, most of the candidates would be from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and I expected the same from the tutors. But after the initial discussions with MBA director Ron Jacobs, I understood that this is not as assumed and after the first course and the first educational week, MaastrichtMBA is certainly the place where the diversity of cultures, backgrounds and experiences is at its best.
I think the proposed format of the Online MBA track suits perfectly the profile of the candidates that pursue the programme. For me, as a full time professional, but also a parent, following language classes and being involved in NGO activities as part of the administration council of an association, the set up proposed could not fit better. The online courses allow me to organise my studying around my personal and professional life and be able to manage the learning, the reading, the preparation of the individual and group assignments, the reflection and the attendance to the online webinars as per my calendar and availability and the educational weeks allow for the personal encounter and dialogue and human contact that I long for after the pandemic when my professional life became fully remote.
I think the benefit from the Executive Online MBA is not necessarily something to expect in the future, it is present already, although my journey only started a few months back, I already feel more empowered by the learning I earned and more confident to think even more outside the box and push for excellence and innovation.
After the very first online course and the very first educational week, I feel that I made the right call to pursue this programme. It is difficult to mention only one thing as the most enjoyable part so far as there are so many that are worth to be counted. My first online course was Corporate Finance, and it was very challenging as I had less experience or knowledge in this area and in economics or finance in general. While working on the assignments and attending the webinars and reading the course book, I understood that the goal is not to be a corporate finance expert, but rather to understand how different tools and concepts work and leverage this knowledge and how to argue from your role and position on project or business valuation.
From the educational week, the reflection, the perspective on certain topics and the dialogue and interactions were the most valuable to me. It was the perfect context to discuss sustainability and innovation and see how ideas are generated by simple discussions and by putting together in the same room people with so different backgrounds and asking them to foster and implement.
I think the times we live should not make the argument for us to decide to progress on the personal development. There is never a perfect time to embrace a new career opportunity, there is never a perfect time to get serious in a new relationship, there is never a perfect time to decide to have children, there is never a perfect time to buy a house or travel the world. There are maybe better moments, but life is so full of uncertainty and so unpredictable that we should just go for what we want, when we want and when we feel it is the right step for us. Time is relative, so our decisions should just make us happy. I experience the MaastrichtMBA programme as the next step in my personal and professional development, that I wanted to follow, and I try to make the most out of it and learn and share as much as I can. The times we are facing are just challenges we need to overcome so we can grow, they are just part of the journey.
Applying for an MBA is a very personal decision. I would refrain myself from giving tips or advice, I would only say to someone considering applying for the MBA to be curious and try to discuss with as many people as possible and then see if the MBA is the right decision for them. If you then decide to go for it, take it as a journey, not as a destination. When I applied for the MBA programme, in my application letter, I argued about how I see this opportunity as a journey and how curious and eager I am to share this journey with people who are up for the same challenges. At the end of the first Online MBA educational week in Barcelona, one of our tutors’, Joan Albert Garcia Moga, closed the programme with the following quote: “When you start your trip to Ithaca, pray to have a long travel, full of adventures, full of wisdom” (Kavafis – Lluís Llach: “Quan surts per fer el viatge cap a Itaca, has de pregar que el camí sigui llarg, ple d’aventures, ple de coneixences”). For me, the journey started and so far, it turns out to be quite of a journey, so if you decide to apply for the Maastricht MBA, make sure your journey will be memorable!