Do you want to know more about the ESCP MBA in International Management? Our MBA alumnus Andres Anaya tells us about his experiences in the following interview.
Andres, Thank you very much for these interesting insights!
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Andres Anaya, I come from Mexico and I am 29 years old. I graduated from university back in 2013 as a Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. I moved to Brazil after graduation to work as a junior engineer in a machine manufacturing company for a year. In mid-2015 I moved back to Mexico to work as an operations and strategy consultant until 2018, when I decided to go back to school and start an MBA.
2. Why did you choose to do an MBA? Did you have specific goals or a general idea of how you wanted to evolve?
I chose to do an MBA because I was looking to complement my engineering background with a holistic view of how businesses work.
As a consultant, I got to work on the operations side of businesses, identifying daily problems and coming up with useful and innovative processes and tools to overcome them. But I also wanted to be trained and taught to have a more comprehensive view of the companies I worked with, to make sure that the solutions I came up with were completely in line with what the company and its people were trying to achieve.
In simple words, I wanted to make sure I was looking at the trees, but also at the whole forest.
3. Why did you choose the ESCP MBA in International Management specifically?
At the beginning I was going to look for an MBA in Mexico, but then realised that I should open my horizon to new possibilities and use this opportunity to get more international exposure as I completed my studies.
I started to research some schools in Europe and came across a business school that offered almost 200 years of experience educating and forming business professionals, with a new MBA programme that showed “International Management” in the name. These things caught my eye and I thought that this programme could be what I was looking for.
I chose the MBA in International Management from ESCP because it offered the international environment and exposure that I was looking for and the reputation to back it up. Offering the possibility to study in different countries with an excellent network of teachers and alumni to rely on, and a programme of classes and projects that were in line to what I was expecting from an MBA: active participation is expected and encouraged, with multidisciplinary projects, and classmates from all over the world.
4. You chose to study a third semester and take the ESCP MBA in International Management Thesis Track at the Berlin campus. Could you tell us what motivated you to take part in this Track?
I chose to do the thesis track at the Berlin campus for three reasons:
First, I saw the opportunity to study in depth a topic I am really passionate about and interested in, and contribute to it with the right guidance of one of the best teachers in the programme.
Second, as I was very interested in working and living in Berlin, I saw this as an opportunity to have formal recognition of my studies from Germany, on top of the already reputable French degree, which I believe to be value added to my degree and profile.
Third, as a non-European, it would help me get a visa that would allow me to live and work in Germany.
5. Would you recommend this option to future ESCP MBA students? In what ways has it helped you achieve your goals?
I would definitely recommend the thesis track to future MBA students who are looking to “put the cherry on top” of the MBA programme. It will give students the extra time needed to contribute to the academic world about a topic of interest to them.
Some students use it to even contribute to a company or industry of their interest, which will most likely help them to stand out and land the job of their dreams.
In my personal experience, thanks to the thesis track I managed to secure the job that I wanted, in the city I wanted, with great growth prospects, amazing new experiences and people that are currently helping me develop into the professional I envision to become.
6. Can you share with us a memorable experience that happened during your MBA that had a significant and lasting impact on your life, professional or personal?
For me, the most memorable experience about the MBA is not a specific event, but the people I was lucky to meet.
In my experience, the people I got to enjoy this amazing experience with were the best thing about the programme. I learned something from every single one of them. I am talking about my classmates, my teachers, the administration and everyone I got to work with during the professional projects.
Every single person taught me something worth remembering, and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be exposed to such a diverse and interesting cohort, and to call them my friends.
7. Could you tell us what the most difficult challenge was that you had to face during the year?
Funnily enough, I would also have to say the people. The most memorable experience for me was meeting people from all over the world with different ways of perceiving themselves and everyone around them. That was also the greatest challenge.
Working with such a diverse group of individuals will always cause natural frictions due to the differences that we all had to overcome to be able to work together and achieve our goals.
8. What were the main takeaways from your year as a student of the MBA in International Management at ESCP? Where they the ones you were expecting, or were there some surprises?
The main takeaway I got from my experience studying an MBA in ESCP was the ability I developed to work with people that may be completely different from me. Understanding those differences, what drives them, and actually converting them into strengths instead of obstacles will be the most significant takeaway of my year.
I will also mention my courses and professors, because I actually learned a lot during my time in the classroom. Participation is key, and our professors always encouraged us to give our opinions, and to not be afraid to disagree, even with them, while always being open to listening and understanding different points of view.
Everything I learned about finance, strategy and leadership will be tools and weapons I will leverage throughout my professional career to develop further and help others around me grow, in order to achieve personal and common goals within a company.
9. And finally, what types of candidates do you think should apply to this particular programme and for the Thesis Track, and what would be your advice to these future applicants?
In my opinion, I think that people who are looking to further boost their careers are excellent candidates, but also people who are looking to make a shift in their careers, who want to explore new possibilities and people looking for a real challenge that will demand a lot from them, physically and intellectually. They have to be driven and willing to change, because when you finally finish the programme, you will not be the same person as the one who sat in the classroom for the first time.
My advice would be to understand that this is not an easy programme, and that this programme does not guarantee future success. What this MBA provides is an environment that allows you to grow and develop, but the results depend on each participant. Use everything the programme has to offer, leverage the teachers, the facilities, the classmates, the network, the counselling, and everything around you to create a better version of yourself, and use that to build the future you want for yourself.