“I Wanted to Shape and Drive Change”

April 18, 2023

How an MBA can make the difference

Can you, please, share with us your career development until now? What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?

In my memory, I have always tried to work and earn money. This started with private lessons for younger students when I was around 12 years old and got a bit more serious when I was 15 and did my first job training: I officially became a ski instructor and from then on worked in my parents’ ski school during school holidays.

The ski school was the business I grew up with and it taught me that you have to do the work when it’s there and not when you think it should be there and when it suits your personal calendar. It also taught me that you can and should treat your co-workers - no matter if they are your employees, business partners or your boss - with respect, decent pay and healthy working conditions.

During and after university, I lived in different countries for studying or working: Nigeria, Turkey, Belgium and Colombia. It was important for me to live in places outside of Europe and it gave me a very different perspective on life.

While I finished my second Master’s degree in political science, I worked as a teacher for German as a foreign language, supported my father in running the ski school and I also worked in the European Parliament.

The WKÖ trainee program finally brought me to Vienna, where I have been living since 2016. After 1 ½ years of working at WKÖ, I started at Accenture, where I still work as a management consultant and project manager for IT projects in the public sector.

Did you originally want to pursue a different career? If so, what made you change your plans?

My plan was to become a journalist, but this changed for several reasons: firstly, I discovered that I am not as interested in media and communication as I thought I was. I prefer to work in teams and to drive projects. Secondly, I found out that I enjoy working with numbers and data – and not only text. Thirdly, I wanted to work for an industry that shapes and drives change. This is how I came into consulting and IT.

What was your biggest professional/personal success?

The jump into consulting. It was a lot of hard work to pass interviews, get accepted and learn the rules of the industry.

What was your biggest challenge? What was your biggest professional mistake (from which you learned a lot)?

During my trainee program at WKÖ I had to choose a public sector organization in which I would work for half a year. Without further research, I chose a small organization that turned out to be a highly conservative organization in which there was no room for development or new ideas. After six months I was close to a bore-out.

I learned that not only too much but also too few work and development can be devastating for professional performance.

Which 3 most important experiences in your life have led you to where you are right now?

  • Living and working in Nigeria, Colombia and Turkey.
  • The experience of running a ski school together with my father.
  • My MBA at WU Executive Academy.

When you think of the most talented high potential in your company, what 3 pieces of advice would you give him/her to live a successful and fulfilling life?

I would give the following advice:

  • Do not (excessively) overwork
  • Find a sponsor for your career, i.e. someone who supports you in your development
  • Work with people from which you can learn (and who might not be your type at first sight)

Using just 5 words, how would your team describe you as a leader?

I actually asked them, and here is what they answered:

Empathetic (emotionally intelligent), encouraging, captivating (I like what I do and inspire others to do the same), pragmatic & sustainable (I teach others rather than just give them tasks without explanation), structured, self-confident, outcome-focused.

What has changed in your career because of your MBA degree? How did the program support you in reaching your career goals? What concrete career opportunities have opened up for you?

First and foremost, I learned a lot about data science, finance, marketing and leadership skills and I make use of this knowledge on a daily basis. Secondly, I am leading several projects and teams by now and this development would probably have happened slower (or not at all) without the MBA. Thirdly, I am highly visible on the job market and interesting opportunities have opened up for me. 

As far as the workload is concerned, how did you manage an MBA next to a demanding job and your family life?

I mainly managed it with weekend studying sessions. In order to write my thesis, I went to a cafe to meet with fellow MBA students to get the work done.

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

Having the best of two worlds. For me this is city life on the one hand and mountain life on the other hand - and it’s currently possible for me!

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

I am currently reading “Resonanz” by Hartmut Rosa – an amazing book about the notion that we as human beings need to interact and “sing” with the world around us.

If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Some time ago, this would have been Angela Merkel. Maybe even more interesting than her job must be the job of Xi Jinping.

Wordrap

I can laugh about...
Oh, I laugh a lot! And very loud!
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook...
I overlook any shortcoming if it’s not ignorant towards other people.
My funniest/most exciting travel experience was...
Ski touring in Kyrgyzstan.
I could not live without this app on my cell phone...
The four different communication apps to connect with all my different groups of friends.
You can always find this in my fridge...
Jam and butter for breakfast (you don’t want to deal with me if I haven’t had breakfast).
I would spend my last money on...
A good Negroni.
Ten years ago, I thought...
People in leading positions are smarter than me.
Today, I know...
I can do it as well.

Read more interesting career stories of our students and graduates here.

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