We met Stela, a graduate of corporate finance, who has great confidence that an MBA is the next step after 5 years of experience in the field. Get to know her better by reading the conversation we had during the Access MBA event in Prague on December 6, 2018.
Q: Why did you choose to apply for an MBA?
A: I made this decision after working in business for several years. I believe an MBA will help me to close the knowledge gap, but even more than that it will expand my network. Also to learn more about business, and gain more opportunities.
Q: Can you tell us about your academic and professional experience?
I graduated with a four-year bachelor’s degree in corporate finance. As part of the program requirements, I applied for an internship and I’ve now stayed at the same company for the past 5 years. Since I had already progressed considerably on my career path, I have been able to postpone a bit my choice of doing a master’s or MBA. But now is the right time to decide. I already have three years’ leadership experience in coordination and project management— I think I am the right fit.
Q: Are you living in Prague?
A: I was in Budapest before, now I am in Prague, and thanks to an MBA who knows … maybe another country.
Q: At what stage are you in the application process?
A: To be honest, I’m still at the initial phase. Many of my colleagues convinced me that doing an MBA was the right choice for me. They told me that the application takes time, so it’s just a matter of waiting. I think by the time I graduate with an MBA, I will be ready for my next career move. I’m only 28 years old but already have 5 years of experience in the corporate finance field.
Q: Have you taken the GMAT or GRE before?
A: I haven’t taken these tests yet, although I have started researching more about them. I also discovered that some of the universities— even one I met today, provide a prep course for students and allow you to pass the test before starting to study with them.
Q: Have you taken the English proficiency exams: TOEFL or IELTS?
A: Well, I think the challenge there would be the grammar. In the corporate field, you work with so many international professionals who speak in their own version of English. I think I need to do a bit of homework before taking the exam.
Check out: What is the TOEFL Test?
Q: How do you best prepare for exams?
A: I derive most benefit when I focus on a bit of theory— maybe a specific topic, and then try to understand how to apply it, or how to transform it into a practical business case. Then, I also test my knowledge with people who have already passed the exam, so they can tell me if I have understood the concepts correctly.
Q: What are your thoughts about the Access MBA event in Prague?
A: I found it very well prepared by the schools themselves. I came here and I was fully confident that I would meet the schools that match my criteria.
Q: Is there a school you really enjoyed meeting?
A: I was really impressed by the University of Vienna. They showed me something I wasn’t expecting, and I ended up changing my preferences in favor of their school’s program. Initially I wasn’t considering taking that much time off work. However, the structure of their program, as well its international focus, attracted my interest. The program allows you to explore various business fields, travel to different economic regions— and that makes the whole experience way above any alternatives I could pursue by myself without an MBA.
Q: What do you think makes an MBA candidate stand out?
A: Every candidate’s experience is unique, and combined with their profile— that would make them stand out.
Q: Where do you see yourself professionally in 10 years?
A: That’s a long way ahead. I see myself as part of a very fast-changing environment. I also see myself as the zone president of my current company.