Double M for her
Published: 20th May 2013 12:00 AM |
Born in Nigeria and having my roots in Kerala, I did my schooling in UAE and graduated as a civil engineer from Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi. After graduation, I returned to Dubai to work as regional sales manager in an Italian company, handling businesses in more than 11 countries in Asia. I consider myself a truly global citizen, as I have been exposed to a multi-cultural environment right from childhood. In order to grow further in my career, I decided to pursue higher education. This pursuit led me to University of Miami, Florida, USA, where I am completing a two-year full-time MBA. Imagine my surprise when I had a culture shock despite having experienced my share of international exposure!
Heaven on earth
Miami, a city on the Atlantic coast, is very similar to Kerala in its topography and monsoon climate. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, abundant greenery and active night life. The university campus, just like the city, is very beautiful with trees and flowers all around and a waterway adjacent to the business school building that made it the Venice of the West. The weather is perfect to sit under the shade of a tree with a book for company. My MBA classmates comprised many nationalities — China, Korea, Germany, Venezuela, Grenada, Trinidad and India. Even among American students, we had a blend from Seattle, Texas, Las Vegas, Washington and New York. This diversity led to engaging conversations and class discussions. We also have faculty from different countries such as China, Brazil, US, Israel, India, etc, who have prior work experience and were experts in their subjects. Many were world renowned researchers with a number of articles, journal and textbooks to their credit.
Fitting into this new experience took some time as everything was very different from what I was used to, including the culture, people and even the language. Even though English is the main language spoken in the US, it is so much different from the British English that I am used to. When I first came here and if anybody asked me “How’s it going?”, I used to give a detailed report about everything that’s happening in my life — right from how difficult it was to settle down to how homesick I was. It dawned on me much later that this is the American way of asking “How are you?” and they really didn’t care about what’s happening in your life! It was also difficult for them to understand my accent and I had to slow down while talking to them. I also found it initially difficult to adjust to the American style of education that focused more on the local Fortune 500 companies and the American economy.
Medley of companions
Classes were intense with regular presentations and case reports to work on, not to forget the exams every six weeks. Many of the classes had us working in teams which made us realise the advantages and complexities of getting work done individually versus teams. Class participation was encouraged and many times, we would end up having animated discussions. The students also came with work experience in different fields like medicine, law, construction, coast guard, banking, advertising and research. This resulted in us getting different perspectives of the same idea. The professors were easily accessible through emails or in person. Being a marketing student, I used to regularly meet professors to understand the market situation and the current trends and I have gained valuable insights about marketing from them.
Plenty to take home
The MBA programme taught me to be more confident of my own skills and capabilities, to think creatively and strategically, to manage diverse teams, handle tough work situations and to be an effective leader. The course has also increased my interest in pursuing a career in marketing and sales. The experience here has given me an opportunity to develop strong business acumen and to finely hone my business relationship building skills.
With the expertise that I gain from within the MBA class, I will be able to bring in a new perspective and dimension to the workplace and exhibit my leadership abilities.