From science to business with a full-time MBA by emlyon business school
From her full-time MBA in France, Emma Devos got the business acumen she needed to take on a leadership role at big pharma firm Bayer.
Emma Devos has always been passionate about life sciences and its applications to the real world.
While working in highly technical roles and leading global projects in the pharmaceutical industry, Emma found herself having to deal with operational challenges on a regular basis.
Emma realized that to improve business processes and influence decision-making she needed to build upon her business acumen. For Emma, the full-time MBA program at emlyonbusiness school, ranked in the top 100 in the world, was the key to filling this knowledge gap.
Emma was drawn to emlyon’s highly diverse cohort—over 20 nationalities are represented in the MBA class, made up of 89% international students.
emlyon offers a life science specialization, which Emma believed would deepen her knowledge of the industry from a business and strategic perspective. And Emma loved the city of Lyon itself and was excited to explore it during her MBA experience.
Around 90% of emlyon’s MBA graduates are employed within three months of graduating—Emma landed a project leader role at top pharma firm Bayer in Switzerland right after the degree.
How did the role at Bayer come about?
I started the search for my next challenge fairly early during the MBA at emlyon business school. Before doing the MBA, I knew I wanted to transition from working for an equipment provider to joining a top-ten pharma company, and to get a position related to project management, program management or strategic planning.
On the one hand, it was relatively straightforward to identify opportunities which fit my search, because I had well-defined criteria. However, the search was also limited due to the availability of open positions. While I networked to find opportunities, my winning strategy was to invest my energy in shaping cover letters and CVs to these few open positions.
It worked out! I got several interviews which allowed me to identify the job that matched what I was looking for, and that’s how my job at Bayer came about.
How did emlyon enable you to transition from science to business?
The full-time MBA at emlyon certainly gave me the complete toolbox. I needed to gain confidence in my abilities and to develop the business knowledge required in my current role. The program’s solid core curriculum allowed me to be familiar with fundamental topics in finance, strategy, and marketing, to name only a few.
I also gained practical knowledge through the numerous case studies we had to solve. Combining analytical skills from my engineering background helped me solve these cases while learning new business concepts. Finally, the entrepreneurial concepts that I encountered during the MBA turned out to be highly applicable to the corporate world.
What stands out from your MBA experience at emlyon business school?
My MBA experience at emlyon was not only about courses and projects. It has been an enriching experience as a whole. By the end of the year, I realized that I’d become more agile in my thinking; that I was combining various concepts in my approach to business problems, and that I was truly ‘connecting the dots’.
The tools we learned during the design thinking and entrepreneurship courses helped us adopt innovative approaches for other topics too. I improved my communication skills which makes a big difference now in my daily interactions with peers and senior management.
The MBA confirmed that working with international colleagues is a powerful and constructive way to build solutions. Now, I am looking forward to further applying skills and concepts that I learned during my MBA in the next steps of my career.
Written by Breikhna Khan