As a medical advisor at pharmaceutical giant Bayer, precision comes naturally to Maaike Van Craen. Striving for excellence has driven Maaike to take on our Online MBA, a qualification that will propel her towards a senior leadership role and beyond.
Here, Maaike describes what lead her to our 100% Online MBA, her experience of the programme so far and the advice she’d give others considering the same learning journey.
Finding an MBA programme that fits
Despite having an expert working knowledge of pharmacy, Maaike knew there were gaps in her expertise when it came to core business proficiency, and that an MBA could help round out her skillset.
“I chose an MBA for a combination of reasons,” she explains. “I was lacking knowledge in economics, business thinking, leadership, marketing and management, so I decided to do an MBA to distinguish myself from others who fit this same profile. It’s a very complete programme; you learn about all aspects of business which I knew would benefit my personal development and make me a better person to work with.”
Maaike’s decision to opt for a 100% online version of the MBA was due largely to its flexibility. “You can combine it around your life,” she says. “I have a demanding and busy work schedule and my workload can be very changeable. I liked the idea of being my own boss and doing the Online MBA whenever I want.”
Of all the Online MBAs available, why did she choose ours? “The first thing I looked for when I chose to do an MBA was Vlerick. It was an obvious choice, Vlerick has a good name and everybody knows it is a good institution.”
Experiencing vibrant professional and personal growth
Not knowing what to expect from an online programme, Maaike has relished the opportunities and support our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) offers.
“Everything is so well organised,” she explains. “The VLE is very clear and easy to use, assignments are obvious to see and everything is concise. You have an online tutor, a course leader and the participant support office. Everyone is truly supportive, even the admissions team before I enrolled. I was amazed how well the system works for me.”
Our VLE also enables Maaike to connect with faculty and her fellow Online MBA participants in focused synchronous sessions, facilitating the collaboration and debate essential to any business education programme. “Working in small groups means you get to know people much better and everyone gets an opportunity to talk,” says Maaike. “It’s much more interactive than my experiences of being in a classroom. You learn immediately, it’s not like a lecture at all.”
“I think it will be important and useful in the future for networking. We’ve created a WhatsApp group within the assignment cohort and we ask each other questions. Someone in my group even suggested meeting for a coffee as we live close by.”
Maaike’s time on the Online MBA has resulted in other unforeseen advantages too, including holistic personal and managerial development. “The Leadership course is all very new to me, I’m learning more about myself than expected,” she says. “It isn’t only about your job or how to work in a team, there are things you can apply to your daily life. If you want to accomplish something, the programme shows you how you do it, how you react and then how you can be a better person.”
Encouraging others to pursue their own career evolution
Despite initially wondering whether she was up to the challenge, the ways in which Maaike has already benefitted from our Online MBA mean that she would happily encourage others to follow in her footsteps.
“Before I started I was intimidated by the idea of a business school and an MBA. Now I know the group of people I am studying alongside are a very diverse group, you don’t have to be a CEO for the programme to be necessary or beneficial. Everyone is down to earth, helpful and we all understand each other.”
Maaike continues, “Look at your goals, at the courses, and if things appeal, don’t be afraid to take the next step. If it’s on your mind to do the Online MBA, you should just go for it!”
If, like Maaike, you believe an Online MBA could help you become a more accomplished business person headed for career excellence, please fill in our online form on the right to find out more.