MBA 2016 classroom shot

MBA alumni views

The experience is half the learning.

What do MBA alumni say about their time at ESMT?

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Moneef Barakat

Moneef Barakat

Moneef

MBA 2014
Home Country: Syria & Russia
Current Job Location: Berlin, Germany
Job Function: Commercial Management & Business Development
Industry: Renewable energy
Company: First Solar

What did you do between undergrad and MBA?
During the five years between graduating with an engineering degree and starting an MBA at ESMT, I developed my consulting experience across many industries, including oil and gas, utilities, transportation, and airports. I started as a generalist for an IT consulting firm before joining eSolutions as a technical consultant customizing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Next, I mastered the business process of eSolutions clients in the energy sector and was promoted to lead an ExxonMobil project to digitalize supply chain business processes and help the maintenance team to automate the work order management system.

Why did you decide to pursue a Master/MBA degree? What was the “light bulb” moment you knew business school was in your future?
My last assignment at ExxonMobil enlightened me from two perspectives. First, I experienced the global scale of business operations as wide as it gets which made me realize that soft skills are equally as important as being a technical guru. Second, as I advanced to manage the project, many of my weak points were exposed, such as my lack of finance and accounting knowledge and my primitive toolbox of managerial skills. My limited people management skills became clear with the growing number of consultants on the project. Both factors motivated me to search for a solution until I discovered it’s called MBA!

Please describe your current job and the skills you need.
I have enjoyed working in two different verticals at First Solar in the last two years. I started as the head of Supply Chain for the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) before transitioning to lead country operations in Turkey for the Modules Business Development vertical. The wide scope of the General Management specialization at ESMT played a big role in this transition. I was able to switch from being a buyer to being a seller thanks to many transferable skills I acquired during my career and MBA program at ESMT.
My consulting skills across utilities, power plants, and oil and gas smoothed my transition to the renewable energy sector. I also capitalize on the negotiation skills I developed during the MBA program, daily utilizing the skills and techniques we learned in the pricing, international finance, managerial analysis, and decision-making classes at ESMT.

What did you learn or gain from business school that has allowed you to get where you are today (skills, internships, network, etc.)?
ESMT empowered me in multiple ways. With my career background limited to the Middle East and Africa, the school played a cornerstone role in building the strong and purposeful core of my European network. It is a rewarding network of classmates, alumni, and guest speakers who have helped me land two jobs during the last three years. Additionally, being an active member of the Investment Club at ESMT granted me the know-how I needed to manage my own successful personal investment portfolio.

What was your inspiration for pursuing your current job/career—why did you get into this particular line of work?
I always dreamed of a successful career bringing digital solutions to the oil and gas and conventional power generation industries. Nevertheless, our curriculum at ESMT raised many questions regarding my career plan. Where do fossil fuel exploration and conventional power generation industries fit in the global sustainability context? How can I demonstrate responsible leadership while I'm competing for finite resources and polluting the planet? Day by day, and through discussion after discussion, I developed my passion for the renewable energy industry that I now work for.

Your greatest takeaway from business school?
ESMT changed me from a heads-down employee locked to a fixed career ladder to who I am today. Where before I was a subject matter expert focused on specific topics, now I am open-minded to new perspectives. I can generate more passion not only about topics of interest, but even those I used to dislike. ESMT coached me to be entrepreneurial in every endeavor which has made not just my career but my whole life much more enjoyable and purposeful.

Describe any internships or other professional experiences you had while in business school and what you learned.
During my ESMT MBA program, I was part of a team of five students that completed a consulting project for HERE in Berlin. The project was phenomenally exciting, introducing a new autonomous driving technology to the truck industry. We received a very informative onboarding package that gave us scope to combine our passion for technology and our business analysis skills to bring a new technology to the market. As a result, three out of five students were offered full-time positions with our client.

What concerns did you have about going to business school and how did you overcome them?
I was worried that my lack of knowledge in finance and economics would be a hurdle. On the contrary, I had the chance to learn from economics gurus such as Prof. Michael Burda who generated my passion and joy for economics and made every group assignment an adventure that I still remember.

Things you wish you had known when first starting to think about business school and a career in business?
My successful and exciting MBA experience is a combination of intuition and luck because I didn't do as much due diligence as I would do now. I always advise young professionals to research thoroughly and write to alumni of schools of interest. You would be surprised how helpful they can be!
Secondly, even if you are not sure if you will start your MBA degree in one year or two, start preparing early. I knew that I needed some business education after my engineering degree. Although I didn't know then that MBAs existed, I knew I would need TOEFL and GMAT certificates which I obtained over a two-year period. When the day came to apply for the MBA program, I didn't have to go through crash courses or emergency exams, which don't usually come without extra cost or difficulty.

Where do you see your career taking you 10 years from now?
Even though I'm comfortable in my current role, I plan to leave my comfort zone in the future. I want to start my own business, one that will help make the world a better place. It doesn't have to be in the energy sector. I'm more passionate about technology and the positive impact of digital solutions on business. By increasing efficiency, reducing waste, and moving towards sustainable resources, we can create a positive impact on people and planet.

This interview was originally published on www.mba.com.
 

Andrian Gavrilita

Andrian Gavrilita

Andrian Gavrilita

MBA 2016
Home Country: Moldova & Romania
Current Job Location: Bucharest, Romania
Job Function: Consultant
Industry: Consulting
Company: McKinsey & Company

With experience in transport and logistics, international trade, and consulting the government, Andrian has worked as Policy Advisor in Chisinau, Moldova, prior to his MBA.

"The year at ESMT is one of the best things that ever happened to me. It has been a game changer in both my career and life. The year is intense, so it is up to you to balance and prioritize: You can learn enough, a lot, or everything. Some professors were awesome, while others were ‘only’ great. But the learning came both from faculty and classmates."

Carlina Rincon

Carlina Rincon

Carolina Rincon

MBA 2016
Home Country: Colombia
Current Job Location: Berlin, Germany
Job Function: Senior Product Manager
Industry: Online Retail
Company: Amazon

With a background in consulting and technical project management in the IT industry, Carolina has worked as a Project Engineer in Bogota, Colombia, prior to her MBA.

"Career Services are present throughout the year and are as useful as you want them to be. My personal coach helped me improve my soft skills, which was just as important as the knowledge learned in the classroom. The organized company visits were a very useful way to start discerning the career path I wanted to pursue post-MBA. Other important milestones in my career search were the interview day and the case practice day. These two events were crucial for my preparation of job interviews, and helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses – which ultimately benefitted me during my job search."

Liliane Patricio

Liliane Patricio

Liliane Patricio

MBA 2016
Home Country: Brazil
Current Job Location: Munich, Germany
Job Function: Strategy Execution Manager - Global Life & Health
Industry: Financial Services
Company: Allianz

With experience in sales, operations and general management in the financial services industry, Liliane has worked as a Regional Operations Manager in Sao Paulo, Brazil, prior to her MBA.

"Berlin is a vibrant city, culturally fascinating and affordable compared to other capitals in Europe. It is a city where cultures come together in an exciting and fast-moving environment. It has all the comfort and advantages a big city provides, while still offering quiet residential neighborhoods.
Studying at ESMT has not only allowed me to study business concepts, but has also enabled me to learn from a very diverse group of people, creating a very enriching experience. In terms of professional development, an MBA will help you land your dream job. But for me personally, the greatest asset of my MBA is the opportunity to be part of an amazing network at ESMT."

Marwan Dessouki

Marwan Dessouki

Marwan Dessouki

MBA 2016
Home Country: Egypt
Current Job Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Job Function: Corporate Treasury Consultant
Industry: Accounting
Company: KPMG

With a background in finance and strategic management, Marwan has worked as a Senior Financial Analyst in Cairo, Egypt, prior to his MBA.

"Being in a class of 65 students from 40 different nationalities was a unique experience of its own. The diversity adds a lot to the peer to peer learning experience that an MBA has to offer. With ESMT leading in diversity, the experience is one of a kind. You get to interact with and learn from people coming from unique backgrounds. With the intimate class size these classmates become your friends, transitioning over to a strong and dedicated alumni community."

Charbel Nasrallah

Charbel Nasrallah

Charbel Nasrallah

MBA 2016
Home Country: Lebanon
Current Job Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Job Function: Partner Technology Strategist
Industry: Technology
Company: Microsoft

With more than eight years of IT and project management experience in managed services and computer networking industry, Charbel has worked in the USA and Gulf region prior to his MBA.

"The learning process at ESMT Berlin is based on class interaction and candidate’s contributions while highly skilled professors direct the conversation. Company visits and the International Field Seminar were great opportunities to network with professionals from different backgrounds and understand the challenges of day to day management as well as strategic issues facing the different industries. The ESMT campus is centrally located in Berlin and well equipped to facilitate student’s life during the year. The Learning Center has exhaustive references on the management subjects and permanent access to hundreds of specialized publications."