The core of the MaastrichtMBA programme is our students. 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 to our American student Mirna Pereira. Mirna works for ASML, a Dutch company and currently the largest supplier in the world of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry. As a senior specialist, she is responsible for project level engineering and process change management. Mirna joined the Maastricht programme in May 2019.
Ever since completing my first degree in Engineering, I have always wanted to continue studying. However, at that time I was not completely sure that I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in Engineering. After having worked a few years, the idea of getting an MBA as my second degree started to take root.
However, life happened and when my kids came along, taking care of them and my husband, as well as growing my career in the semiconductor industry took precedence. It was many years later when I finally decided to bite the bullet and enroll in an MBA programme.
I want to improve my impromptu speaking and presentation skills as well as my presence and leadership skills. All too often, I find myself dreading having to deliver information even though I know the material well. Besides this, my industry lacks women in leadership positions. It is time to change that and I want to be instrumental in bringing about that change.
My family and I moved from Virginia, USA to the Netherlands in August 2017. First and foremost, my priority was to ensure that my children settled down well in their new environment. I was anxious that they wouldn’t learn the language quickly and integrate well. The moment they started making friends and doing well at school, I knew that they were adjusting and I could stop worrying.
In that time I had run out of things to watch on Netflix and decided it was time to get a job. I applied for a job outside my immediate area of experience and I was surprised when I got it. The job called for me to use skills that I had not needed to use before and I found out that I was really good at some of them.
This led me to thinking about exploring other areas and goals that I had allowed to take a back bench over the years and the MBA was the first thing that popped into my mind. I started exploring MBA schools nearby. I was pleasantly surprised to find that MaastrichtMBA, which was accredited and well recognised, was just a stone’s throw from Eindhoven. The structure of the Executive MBA programme also appealed to me, since it allowed me to schedule my work and family commitments much better than a fortnightly programme.
I want to be able to use the knowledge, experience and tools that this MBA will provide to make a difference in my company and ultimately in my community and in the world. So far, the topics on sustainable and ethical business practices that I learnt in my first module at MaastrichtMBA – Entrepreneurship and New Business Development – have really resonated with me.
These ideas and topics align with my career goals of ultimately wanting to help move my company into being more socially sustainable and responsible to each other and our environment.
For me, learning again has been very enjoyable. I must admit, I was a bit worried at first given that I have been away from any form of formalised learning for about 20 years but so far, it goes reasonably well. Meeting people from various backgrounds and learning from the experiences and insights that they have from their particular careers and industries have also helped expose me to different perspectives.
Shanghai was wonderful! It’s a city with a mass of contradictions – tall, modern skyscrapers interspersed with dilapidated old buildings and dwellings; well-dressed young people on a mission with unkempt beggars trying to scrape a living on the streets of the biggest city in the world; wonderful smells of street food with the foul stench of sewage; good people willing to help you hail a cab on Didi ( Uber equivalent in China) with bad people waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.
Overall, I will always remember this experience. My key takeaway is that “no matter how thin the pancake, there are always two sides”. We need to try and understand people and their perspectives.
My tip would be to just bite the bullet and do it! It is a big investment but it is an investment in yourself.