About a year ago, I came back to Denmark after having spent 1 year in Switzerland completing an MBA at IMD business school. This was an amazing personal development experience and my family had a great time in Switzerland. Furthermore, a couple of months after graduating I was fortunate to make the career transition I had hoped for.
However, the decision to follow my MBA dream came with trade-offs. Firstly, both my wife and I had to leave well-paid jobs so that my wife could take care of our 2-year-old daughter. Then, upon returning to Denmark, I had to convince future employers to hire a non-traditional candidate in the middle of a pandemic that put most application processes at a full stop.
Obviously, securing finance for such an adventure isn’t easy. It might also be that in countries where education is free (which is a really good thing!) it can be more difficult to convince bankers to give a loan for international studies. However, I was lucky to receive a full scholarship from the CO-RO Foundation, which is awarded to a qualifying Danish national.
If you are considering investing time (and money!) in pursuing a similar dream, I offer three pieces of advice:
Every MBA experience is different, choose one that fits your personal narrative
When choosing between top international MBA schools, you need to find the one that fits your personality and future career goals. I chose the IMD MBA for its focus on personal leadership; its small and experienced group of classmates; and because I wanted to keep my career opportunities as open as possible. While the MBA definitely taught me the business foundation I was looking for, it is the personal development I would recommend IMD for. I was stretched, received tough feedback, and acquired personal confidence. And I treasure the friendships I made with my fellow classmates who brought so many experiences from all over the world.
Bringing family is challenging but rewarding
I was lucky to have my family join me in Lausanne for most of the year. That said, while we were living together under the same roof, we had two very different experiences. Mine mostly revolved around group work business dilemma discussions, whereas my wife and daughter explored all over Switzerland. Personally, I had hesitations asking my spouse to come along and focus on ‘my career’ solely. However, having them as part of the overall experience turned the year abroad into our adventure and we can look back at this as a shared part of our family story.
It is possible – my MBA experience got me to where I find passion
I wanted to make a switch from procurement to marketing, to change industry, and maybe also get a sense of entrepreneurship – and I found all in my current job in Novozymes OneHealth! Not only can I use my combined experiences, but most importantly I work with what I am passionate about – every day.
I believe the reason that I love what I do today is because the IMD MBA helped me identify my passion and match my career aspirations with my talent. Despite the challenges, I made it – and so can you, so pursue that dream!
Alexander Broe, 2019 IMD MBA CO-RO Foundation Scholarship recipient