First degree: International economics, an American university in Switzerland
Year of graduation: 1997
Postgraduate degree: MBA, Tanaka Business School
Year of postgraduate degree: 2004
Occupation: Junior investment counsellor at Citi Private Bank
Why did you decide to continue your studies?
An MBA is a good way to refresh your understanding of your first degree. It takes elements that were left out at undergraduate level and brings a practical perspective. Also, it is a recognised qualification in the business world and allows people to a switch to new careers – and possibly gain a pay increase.
How did you fund your postgraduate studies?
I applied for a stipend scholarship, through the British Council, known as a Chevening Scholarship. Funded by the UK government, it is available to students around the world.
What was the workload like?
It was intensive because it was a one-year programme. But it was also lots of fun, because of the group work and meeting people from different backgrounds. There were people from all sorts of professions: from engineers to consultants; from entrepreneurs to those in the finance industry. Tanaka focuses on entrepreneurship, and many MBA students from there have gone on to establish their own businesses.
What was it like studying again?
It was very refreshing but also challenging. After being in a full-time job for five years, you forget how to study. I think people need to study constantly in their lives. You do that indirectly through learning in a job, but an MBA broadens your horizons with regard to the business environment in general. There is a lot to learn in a short time, but if you are dedicated you will learn not only to pass the exams, but also look a little deeper, too.
How was it different from undergraduate study?
You can take out of it whatever you want in terms of independent study. You are mature enough to value what you’re getting, and you are also enriching yourself. Although you are not receiving a salary, you are investing in your education. It is really for dedicated individuals interested in broadening their horizons.
Did you enjoy it?
Very much so. I still miss those times, and I will remember them forever. The challenge, probably, is that there are no limitations. When you are in a job, there are obviously limits.
Advice to those considering taking a postgraduate course:
If they are considering a postgraduate course, then they are already interested in elevating their careers and getting a deep understanding of opportunities in business life. I would support them in this interest. They should try to find ways of funding the MBA through scholarships, or long-term bank loans: it’s a one-time opportunity to change their lives.