Elena YUSHCHENKO Interview
- Age: 29
- Nationality: Russian
- Years Professional Experience: 8
- Position before the MBA: Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at Danone
- Why did you choose to join the International MBA at emlyon business school?
I wanted to choose the school that can provide me not just with general business knowledge, but with a unique set of skills that would give me a true competitive advantage for many years ahead. emlyon’s focus on entrepreneurship, its international outlook (students are required to speak at least one foreign language, and previous international experience is a must) as well as a 9-month long Entrepreneurial Leadership Project were the key factors for my decision. Besides, since I would like to start up a business in the future, it felt that here I would get the tools I’ll need and get inspired by like-minded classmates.
- What are your thoughts about the Entrepreneurial Leadership Project and how is it contributing to your experience?
ELP enriched my experience a lot. First, it was a unique opportunity to closely work with a French company and to understand local business environment. At the same time, it had a strong international focus as well, since our task was to develop an international strategy. It also made a link between theory and practice: after learned new tools in our courses, next week we were implementing them in our project. Last but not least, now I can finally say that I learned how to work in an international team: we were six people from four countries, speaking three native languages, and had very diverse backgrounds. Yet we managed to develop a positive synergy and to create something valuable!
- How is the program incorporating academic learning with practical experience?
For me it was first of all being able to participate in solving real problems for real companies that came on campus and to present them the results. We were also encouraged to fulfill various studies for our actual business projects. One of the most valuable experiences for me was the integrative course, where we combined different topics we had studied (Strategy, Marketing, HR, Finance) to propose how to turn around the performance of a company. This is when you understand that every aspect of business is like a brick: if you disregard one, the whole construction may fall down.
- How is the diversity of the class contributing to the learning experience?
We learn from each other a lot! Sometimes; when we discuss an issue, it feels like the whole world is represented in the room, and we can hear opinions of how it would be managed in different countries, for example, in France, India, or Russia. At the same time, being diverse does not mean being different in everything: you understand that certain goals, problems and feelings we share across countries and continents. Though mostly entrepreneurs start in local environments, in the end, we have the same aspirations across the globe: to create a successful business and to make a contribution to the society.
- What benefits have you gained from the career services offered throughout the MBA?
Our career services offered us 360° help: we got overall information on how to write a CV that will be relevant for a particular country, how to do efficient job search and how to position oneself as a true leader. Many of us joined the program to change the industry / company / country of work (or sometimes all together), so career change was an important topic as well. Basically, every week we had some activity dedicated to personal- and career development. A big part was also individual coaching and mentoring, since each of us has their own career project.
- What are your career goals after the MBA and how is the program helping you achieve them?
My main goal is to use my analytical skills and knowledge about marketing and strategy in an international marketing role. Our core courses gave me a better understanding of how all business functions interact; how to increase the efficiency of your company, work in a team and motivate people. The specialization in marketing that I took during the second semester gave a structure to my previous knowledge and provided me with insights into its future development.
- How are you finding living and studying in Lyon?
It is a truly French experience! Lyon is the perfect place for learning the culture and especially tasting the real French cuisine. It also has a convenient location for those who want to explore the country at weekends: right between Paris, mountains, wine regions and the Mediterranean coast. Switzerland is also just a couple of hours away. Even though Lyon is not the capital, some industries, like chemical or pharmaceutical industry, are strongly represented here, including the headquarters of several international companies. The city also has a big startup community that organizes many events, so you don’t need to go far to start your professional network!