Maria Daniela Perez started her MBA journey in Germany this year after completing her bachelor’s in mass communication at Louisiana State University in the US. Before enrolling at ESMT Berlin, she was working in a public relations agency back in her home country Costa Rica. In Germany, she plans to experience the European lifestyle and get involved in the Women in Leadership Club at ESMT Berlin.
This 29-year old is used to challenging herself and getting out of her comfort zone. Since she was a little girl, she has dreamed of studying abroad. Through her search for new experiences and broadening her horizons, in 2014 she spent a semester abroad in Germany at Philipps Universität Marburg. “It was there that I gained respect for the German education system and I knew at some point I would return to continue my studies at a graduate level,” she tells us.
Although Perez is pursuing her MBA remotely now, she is anticipating finally being on campus in Germany at ESMT Berlin in a few days to fully immerse herself in her educational experience abroad. Read below of what she has to say about her MBA experience thus far:
Why did you choose to pursue this programme at a school in Germany?
I am a very curious person and have always been captivated by the different cultures around the world. After my semester abroad in Germany, I wanted to return. So the question of which country to pursue an MBA in was answered straight away.
Then, I started researching different programmes. The MBA programme at ESMT offered me the chance to not only have contact with people from different backgrounds, but to think globally and lead with respect — two aspects that align with my personal and professional objectives. This programme would allow me to learn from and study with faculty members and students with a similar mindset.
Do you think it would have made a difference if you studied at a local institution?
Yes, studying abroad offers me the opportunity to learn more about other cultures around the world. I also get to understand other perspectives on issues, expand my network, and challenge myself to grow personally.
What has been your most memorable class so far?
So far, it has been the “Managerial Analysis and Decision Making” class for me. Through real-life case studies, the professor was very assertive in teaching strategic managerial decision making. These cases were very engaging and dealt with a great variety of topics. For instance, deciding the best way to manufacture a product, surviving in a frozen forest, and saving the life of a loved one.
What fond memories with your teachers can you share with us thus far?
I feel all the lecturers and school staff in general, have stood by my side. The current situation has challenged everyone to be creative in the way we usually do activities, and the school has managed to be there for its students despite the distance learning.
What are the practical learning elements in your MBA programme?
Even though I have just started, I have already learned a lot about managerial skills and efficient teamwork. With workshops such as Diversity and Inclusion, Building High-Performance Teams, and Global Virtual Teams, this has given me the elements to be a better team player and leader. I have already used my learning in group assignments and projects, and I am eager to continue applying them in other real-world situations.
What are your academic goals in this course?
From this MBA programme, I want to learn how to analyse a business as a whole so that I can understand the way it operates deeply . I want to comprehend how to be a successful global leader.
Do you plan to progress further after your MBA programme?
After completing my MBA in Germany, I would like to work for a multinational company — a place where I will have the chance to continue my professional and personal growth. Personally, I would like to create awareness and promote a positive change in gender culture stereotypes in Latin America.
In the long run, I want to be someone who inspires people to act responsibly and follow their dreams — even though it feels impossible. I want to be the person who challenges the phrase “this is how we have always done things,” and promote my peers, subordinates, and bosses to be the change we need to help bridge the gap with gender equality.
What would you say to international students looking to study in Germany?
I would advise them to look for programmes that align with their passions and objectives. Trust yourself and go for it! Studying abroad not only helps you grow professionally but also personally. This is an opportunity to learn about yourself and who you are.