Lessons learnt while completing an MBA

By @GeorginaFarley, Senior Account Director

ESSEC Business School launched its MBA in International Luxury Brand Management in 1995, the first of its kind at the time, with the objective of producing a talent pool of specialised professionals to develop the luxury business in emerging markets and beyond. Whilst much has changed in the luxury industry since this time, and the course has adjusted accordingly, the lessons one learns from completing a masters’ programme such as this remain largely unchanged. Having had time to reflect during lockdown has given me the opportunity to look back on what the most valuable takeaways have been, and how these influence the work I do today.

Teams make better decisions than individuals: more than any other course, an MBA focuses on collaboration, cooperation and coordination (the three C’s). Over half of our workload was devoted to team projects, and this established a platform on which to share responsibilities and gain mutual benefits from other’s experience. Considering varying perspectives, and thinking of potential solutions to a problem from different vantage points leads to better decision making. Everyone’s unique experience adds to a given situation, which collectively increases the overall value of any study or business solution. 

Your worldview is as important as your experience – if not more so: my class was comprised of 40 students from 14 different countries. This, coupled with market trips to Dubai, Hong Kong and Switzerland afforded us the opportunity to experience a diverse range of cultures and meet with business leaders from around the world. This has undoubtedly had a profound effect on my international point of view. As the world continues to become increasingly globalised this perspective carries even more weight, and the knowledge of how to conduct business in these countries and work with people from different backgrounds becomes all the more valuable.

The connections you make and relationships you build during the course are as important as the course work you study: these facilitate a positive dynamic of give and take. The ability to connect with people and maintain relationships is instrumental in the business environment, and my alumni network post MBA has proven an invaluable tool for professional success long after the studies were completed.

Attitude is everything: a positive mindset and ‘can do’ attitude was essential for coping with the immense workload; a seemingly endless stream of reading, research, lectures, projects and presentations, and this outlook has had a tremendous impact on my performance in the working world – it enables you to view challenges through a different lens.