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 Mexican student Raibel Alvarado. He works as CI Manager EMEA Components & Master Black Belt at Clarios, global leader in advanced energy storage solutions, powering one in three of the world’s vehicles. Raibel joined our Online track in September 2020.
A year and a half ago, when COVID-19 just hit us, with the extra time on my hand I felt this was the ideal moment to start an MBA. Our economy and environment would experience a process of hibernation and uncertainty for a considerable amount of time. The combination of this feeling with the desire to learn new skills were the two main factors that pushed me to inform me towards an MBA journey. Since a long time, I knew that I wanted to do an MBA.
Some friends already have obtained their MBA degree and they just talked widely about this learning experience. On the other hand, the feeling of pursuing something new challenged me to add something on top of the skills I’ve been learning through the seventeen years I’ve been working for my current employer.
There were basically two things. When it comes to the hard skills, my work experiences up to now have been around how a product is manufactured and how to optimise the performance of the process that is build around a product. Nevertheless, in order to understand this procedure, I want to experience potentially new opportunities. I want to challenge myself to explore other parts of the company. I certainly wouldn’t rule out to become an entrepreneur myself in the future, therefore understanding how that works and being able to have a word about it, was definitively a skill a wanted to cultivate and learn.
On the other hand, over the last years the responsibility of my work increased. I have learned that in order to make agreements, move forward and having the willingness to do it wasn’t simply enough. You need develop also soft skills in order to be a good manager. In my case, this includes negotiation and simplifying a message. Working with different cultural backgrounds and the ability to understand the context and the background of different people is certainly is a major factor in my job. The faster you understand this process, the better it gets to make interactions and helps both parties to build trust and exceed their expectations.
When I reviewed different programmes, one of the things I liked about Maastricht is the requirement of a minimum of 5 years of working experience. Therefore, you will meet up with your peers who have already gained a lot of professional working and life experience and sets a common ground. By having this requirement the MaastrichtMBA programme clearly distinguished itself from the rest. The other feature that helped me to make my decision was the content.
I wasn’t sure if an executive MBA or regular MBA was the right choice, and by comparing them, an executive MBA definitely had my preference. And the last item that pushed my decision for MaastrichtMBA was the blended format. Being online allowed me to have the flexibility of reviewing materials on demand and to define my schedule to contribute and learn vs. a fixed timing to participate. Moreover, combining online education with three educational weeks is the ideal situation for me, because it is not an entire in front of a screen experience.
I already mentioned this in the previous question: I really love the blended educational format. The ability to combine the learning experience through an online programme with three educational weeks is a unique setting that few other universities offer. Moreover, MaastrichtMBA chooses to differentiate itself from these few by partnering with other European universities for the educational weeks. At the time I took my decision for pursuing my MBA dream, it was clear these elements together were the “deal breaker” for choosing MaastrichtMBA.
My expectations are:
Working with my peers, getting to know their background and interact with them through the team assignments is the best experience for me so far. During these activities, you will all start on the same level. Not your job title, but your ideas will effect your involvement to an assignment. The structure of the programma offers you a feeling of equality and together with the educational weeks you can put this in practice.
Overall, the experiences I have gained met up with my expectations. However, only once it has been a disappointing experience. Last December, during my first educational week in Maastricht it only allowed the organisation to execute the first day of week in a face-to-face setting. Due to government restrictions, the rest of the week was moved to online. And even when the organisation team did a very good job modifying the content to an online experiences just in one day, the spirit was to my opinion a bit incomplete. The unique value of this experience is based on face-to-face interactions and the restrictions caused by this pandemic had a direct impact on it. Apart from that, the rest of the programme has been keep intact mostly because of the online teaching structures.
Take a chance! I don’t regret it for a second giving myself the opportunity to be part of this MBA programme. It has helped me to grow as a professional as well as a person. It has widened my scope of what can be achieved with the all the available resources we have (time & energy). People often lack perseverance and the willingness to take up such challenge. The features, learnings and the opportunity to strength your network of this programme are the key takeaways I’m finding truly valuable for my personal growth and career.