I started my career working in Belgium as project engineer and later on as project leader, until I realised I wanted to do something with a bigger social impact. I moved to Democratic Republic of the Congo where I worked as a project manager for ENABEL (Belgian Development Agency). I currently work in the Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs for GIZ (a German Development Agency) in South Africa as an international renewable energy advisor.
“Once I had decided on an online learning format, for me Vlerick was the obvious choice.”
As a Belgian, I wanted to retain links within the country in case I return. My goal is to become the link between the private and governmental sector in developing and implementing renewable energy projects.
I don’t have a business background, so it opens up a whole new world for me. It has given me practical skills that I can use. Coming from a technical background, I was missing the ‘business’ side of my profession. Studying an Online MBA enables me to link the technical with the financial, to see the bigger picture of how a business should actually work, and to keep developing myself.
What’s more, the flexibility of being able to study whenever and wherever I want has been a huge benefit for me. I travel a lot so this format makes it possible to combine my busy lifestyle with studying.
The diversity of people and modules on offer is very interesting too. Being bombarded with knowledge really opens your eyes. I like to dream big, and there is still a dream of starting my own company, doing what I love to do and what I can do best. Hopefully by the end of the Online MBA I will get some answers on how to achieve this.
“I really enjoy the live sessions because they are interactive; it’s not just sitting in a classroom. They ask you to do things and give you things to think about and discuss. This works well in the online environment.”
Group assignments stand out the most for me, as here you can learn from other students and work together over Skype. This actually makes you connect with other students more than I thought possible in the beginning. I hope to one day meet in real-life.
Doing Business in a Global World was a very interesting module. It has allowed me to explore different cultures and gain more of a theoretical background. It creates a framework that you can put all you have learnt into.
The Leadership Development module was my favourite on a personal level, as it made me so much more aware of who I am and of those around me. I learnt what my qualities are, how to approach certain situations and how to further develop myself.
On a more technical level, the Financial and Managerial Accounting module was one of the main reasons I chose to follow an MBA. Studying economic development has given me a lot of new ideas and approaches that are immediately applicable in my job. Just as an example, it has helped me support the implementation of a local community mini-grid that generates energy for isolated areas here in South Africa. I could immediately use all information from the module within the financial proposal of this mini-grid because we talk about inputs, outputs, the whole balance sheet, about investment. These were things that were completely applicable to the mini-grid I was working on.
“There is a lot of interactivity with the professors, which keeps the ball rolling so you don’t fall behind or stand still.”
It’s been a steep learning curve, but that has helped to ensure an immediate impact on me as a person both personally and professionally. That’s the beauty of learning whilst working. All of this extra knowledge has given me a whole new set of brushes to paint my own personal canvas.
If you are thinking of doing the Online MBA, if the time is right and you are willing to invest in yourself, then don’t be doubtful, just do it! It is not an easy degree to follow, but it is definitely something decent to invest in.
“There is no better investment than educating yourself. It benefits you from the moment you start, people around me have witnessed that.”
After the Online MBA I want to have achieved both personal and professional growth, to most importantly never reach that professional ceiling. Before starting the course, I thought it was going to be much lighter, especially because of the online format. But the reality showed me that it can’t be taken lightly. What is the point of an Online MBA when there is no challenge?