“We are not a team of four MBAs, we are a team of four friends » – who will represent emlyon at the University of St. Gallen’s Case Competition?
“We are not a team of four MBAs, we are a team of four friends. We know each other and we fight, but even when we fight, we fight as one…” That’s how our group pitch started, to convince our MBA program director Rhoda Davidson, to select our team to represent emlyon business school in a case competition featuring some of the top business schools.
My name is Veronica Melendez, and this is the story of how the international MBA has helped me to embrace challenges and bring out the best in myself in unexpected ways.
I come from El Salvador, a small but beautiful country in Central America. I have a background in business administration and finance, and I made a career in different industries like banking, travel, and transportation in different countries, both in Europe and Latin-America. Even though I truly enjoyed what I was doing in my last position, I decided to take the next step and to study the MBA to boost my career in an international context. The “early makers” philosophy of emlyon totally fits what I have always been looking for: “move forward to make it happen”.
Some months ago, our cohort received the invitation of the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland, to participate in a case competition for MBAs that aims to bring the best talent of top business schools to solve innovation challenges in the world of Finance. Naturally, many of us wanted to be part of it; therefore, the school decided to start an internal competition to select only one team.
Three teams were formed and we were asked to work on 2 things: First, analyze a case study and present our solution in a 20 minute presentation and Q&A session, and second, to prepare a pitch to answer why we were a good team and why we were the best team to go into this competition and represent emlyon.
The case study was quite a challenge itself. All of our analytical skills and our knowledge about operations management, marketing and even HR were needed to solve it. Creativity and sensitivity to disruption and innovation were also tested in here but most importantly, our team dynamics.
In my experience, this is one of the best teams I have ever worked with. I was the last person to join, and I really thank them for inviting me to participate. I can tell you that work under pressure doesn’t have to be stressful. You can also have fun and enjoy the process.
My team is formed by Shaurya from India, Nathan from the U.S., Tito from Ghana and me, representing Latin-America. Everyone is unique and has different skills, backgrounds and experiences. All this diversity helped us to see things from a different angle and enriched our experience both professionally and personally.
We finally won this first challenge some weeks ago and we are now preparing the real competition case to present in Zurich in April. It’s so exciting to embark on this adventure with friends!
When I signed up for the program, I never expected to join a competition like this, but I’m taking on the challenge to push myself to the limits and learn as much as I can in the process. So, whenever you can, please be brave and take on challenges! No matter the outcome, you won’t regret it at the end.