Alexandra Kutilin: How the Beedie MBA is empowering women and closing the gender gap

Alexandra Kutilin  – SFU Beedie School of Business

Meet Alexandra, Canadian born but raised between Santiago, Chile and Vancouver, Canada. Alexandra is now an MBA candidate and Student Ambassador at SFU Beedie School of Business. We wanted to find out why getting an MBA was so important to her and what her advice was to prospective MBA students.

What are the highlights of the MBA program at SFU Beedie?

When it comes to the highlights, I’d say make sure to get involved with extracurricular activities. For me, that’s just as valuable as the learning experience we receive in class. For example, I’m part of The GMCCP, The Graduate Management Consulting Club Program. It takes you through the interview process at top consulting firms like Deloitte or Accenture.

Take advantage of your extracurriculars, that’s the best advice I can give. As much as you learn from the course that you take your entire education experience can be advanced tenfold by taking part in extracurriculars.

What made you sign up to be a Student Ambassador?

I wanted to get involved because I had someone helping me with my application process and cheering me along from the sidelines as I applied for my MBA program. I wanted to do the same for someone else!

Can you tell us more about your experience on the MBA program at SFU Beedie?

The course really dives deep into who you are as a person, I’ve developed so much not just in business acumen but also as a person. I’ve really had to think about my leadership style, which wouldn’t have been possible outside of an MBA.

Your courses can be intimidating but remember you’re not in it alone, your professors are there to help you.

What would be your advice to someone considering an MBA?

“Right now is the best time to invest in an MBA. Leaders that are developed throughout this period of change are going to be the ones to lead the world on the other side of it.”

An MBA is a big investment but it’s worth it. When embarking upon an MBA journey you’re increasing your pool of opportunities. The two best decisions I’ve made in my life are getting engaged to my fiance and doing my MBA!

What was your background before you chose to study for an MBA?

I have a non-traditional background when it comes to coming into an MBA program, I have a diploma in Business and a Bachelor’s in Psychology but I don’t have a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. At SFU Beedie it’s not required to have that prior business education, they focus on getting everyone in the cohort as diverse as possible so we can all have the opportunity to learn from others with different perspectives.

Keen to learn more about studying an MBA degree at
SFU Beedie School of Business? Reach out to Alexandra directly and ask her anything:

by Fern Pearson

Ariel Lai: Utilizing the most influential MBA network in Hong Kong

HKU The University of Hong Kong MBA

Ariel Lai – HKU MBA

Some of the biggest companies in the world today – think Airbnb, Groupon and WhatsApp – were founded during the last global recession in 2008, and there’s every chance that the next generation of cutting-edge companies are being founded during the current COVID-19 recession. For Ariel Lai, these unprecedented times have represented an opportunity.

Ariel recently completed her MBA at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), a program which she buckled down to complete in 12 months rather than the suggested 24 months. Ariel used the enforced lockdown period to trial her education-based startup on her young children, who haven’t been able to attend school since the start of 2020. With the skills she has gained from her time completing the HKU MBA, we certainly wouldn’t bet against this startup being a corona-inspired success.

Doing the HKU MBA was one of the best decisions of my life, it has totally changed my career, changed what I pursue in life and now I’m able to follow my dreams.

Her latest business venture has certainly been a long time in the works. Ariel comes from a banking background, but decided to study the HKU MBA in order to learn the business fundamentals necessary to founding a successful startup. Having this very clear aim in mind before starting the program proved beneficial. She was able to choose the entrepreneurship electives that interested her and could absorb business advice, knowledge and networking chats every single day of the program.

Any startups get a lot of help from HKU alumni

Having founded the startup during the MBA, Ariel went on to secure funding for it through HKU’s business incubator. Yet perhaps the most valuable part of her MBA journey was the opportunity to talk with HKU’s global network of alumni, who were ready to offer help every step of the way. So grateful is Ariel for the help she received, she’s now desperate to give back by offering advice to any current or prospective HKU students. You can get in touch with her via the link below!



Ariel Lai MBA

by Fern Pearson

Marco Balarezo: Why he chose an MBA in The Netherlands and what surprised him about Dutch life

RSM MBA mbagradschools

Marco Balarezo – Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Marco Balarezo is a native of Peru who has lived in various countries throughout the world including Chile, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States. He studied for an MBA at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) before recently starting a role as Operations Manager at Amazon in Barcelona. MBAGRADSCHOOLS chatted with him to learn more about how he came to live in so many different countries, his motivations for studying an MBA and how his journey has still had the capacity to surprise someone as well-travelled as him.

As the son of a diplomat, Marco had the chance to live in several South American countries when he was growing up before moving to the United States, where he spent his undergraduate years. After ten years working in his native Peru, he decided he wanted to rediscover his wanderlust and set himself up for a new career abroad. An MBA seemed the perfect way to do that.

“The good thing about this program is that it was not static – kind of like my life!”

Having already studied in the US, Marco wanted the opportunity to explore all that Europe had to offer. After doing his research and reaching out to alumni, which he saw as a big factor in his final choice, he settled on RSM as his MBA study destination. It has the highest proportion of international students of any business school in the world, so for the internationally-minded Marco it was a perfect fit. In actual fact, the highly international make-up of the class surprised even Marco!


“I’m on a path where I feel that I belong”


During the MBA program he had the opportunity to work on regular team projects. This focus on teamwork proved to be a major takeaway for Marco as it also allowed him to develop his leadership skills and learn that it is important to be vocal, but also to know when to listen, take a step back and delegate when necessary. Now working as an Operations Manager for Amazon in Barcelona, Marco asserts that his time at RSM set him up to achieve his goal from day one: to work for a company outside of his home country and continue his globe-trotting existence.

by Nick Harland

Would you like to learn more about styding an MBA degree at RSM? Reach out to Marco Balarezo directly and ask him anything:


Wei Low: His creative background gave him a unique advantage in the INSEAD MBA program

Meet Wei Xiang Low  INSEAD MBA student

Wei Xiang Low, who graduated from INSEAD in July 2020, took some time out of his day to chat with MBAGRADSCHOOLS about why he chose to study for an MBA, his experiences during the program and how they are already helping him to forge a successful career path for himself.

Originally from Singapore, Wei comes from a background in journalism but most recently was working in Tokyo at the global pharmaceutical company Kyowa Kirin. During his time there he grew interested in the strategy and business development side of things, but soon realised that he lacked the business essentials such as accounting & finance to really advance in his chosen career. So he decided to get those skills at INSEAD; one of the most prestigious and most international business schools in the world.

“INSEAD opens doors both professionally and personally.”

Journalism isn’t typically an area that leads naturally into an MBA, and being surrounded by high-achieving individuals from industries closely related to business was initially quite daunting for Wei. However, he identified the personal development aspect of the MBA as one that really gave him the confidence to overcome this initial trepidation. Meeting like-minded people from all over the world who shared his appetite to live abroad was both inspiring and comforting. 

What’s more, Wei found that his creative background gave him some unique advantages over coursemates who tended to have a more technical background. As he put it, this allowed him to see the grey area whilst others only saw simple black and white solutions.

“Whatever field you choose to go (in)to…there will always be someone at INSEAD who can help you out”


Ultimately the vast network of INSEAD alumni and the unique international focus of the school were a big part of the reason why Wei got so much out of his time there. Ex-students were a click away on LinkedIn or through the INSEAD website and invariably gave Wei the answers he needed when he ran into any issues. And, with campuses on four different continents, he doesn’t believe many business schools can match the exposure to global issues & global trends that INSEAD students benefit from.

by Nick Harland

Would you like to learn more about styding an MBA degree at INSEAD? Reach out to Wei Xiang directly and ask him anything:

Tamara Johnson: From working in Fashion in New York, to life as an MBA student at the University of Miami

women in business

Meet Tamara Johnson, Miami Herbert Business School MBA ambassador MBA in America

“I thought: why would I NOT be able to do an MBA from a fashion background?”

In a new podcast series from The Modern MBA, current & former MBA candidates explain how they are making the transition from typically unorthodox MBA sectors such as the arts, healthcare and hospitality into business. In the latest podcast, Tamara Johnson talked through her experiences in transitioning from a career in fashion to the MBA program at Miami Herbert Business School.

MBA Miami

Tamara previously worked in the fashion industry as a technical designer, which is the person responsible for the size, fit and construction of each garment. Having studied fashion in her undergrad years she was already well-versed in the creative side of things, but was starting to become interested in the workings of the business as a whole. She elected to study an MBA in order to fully understand the business side of the fashion industry.

“Know what you’re strong at, know what you’re weak at, and target those things appropriately.”


A common challenge facing those who come into an MBA from an unorthodox sector is their lack of experience in certain areas of business. In Tamara’s case, the modules in accounting and finance were particularly challenging, but it only led to her doubling up on her study time and more determined than ever to grasp concepts that had been alien to her not so long ago. Surprisingly, she also found that there were parts of the MBA that related back to her career in fashion; whether that be manufacturing, marketing or product development.

Now midway through her program, what are Tamara’s career plans post-MBA? Well, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out! The one thing to say is that her eyes have been opened to the possibilities that now lay ahead in her career – and there’s no doubt that it was her decision to study an MBA that opened these new career doors.

Listen to the podcast here:

by Nick Harland

Would you like to learn more about styding an MBA degree at Miami Herbert Business School? Reach out to Tamara Johnson directly and ask her anything:

Miami Herbert Business School

Introducing the WHU Global Online MBA

Why Study Online?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shift in the way we live, work and study. Team meetings now take place over Zoom, remote working is the new norm for many and study courses all over the world have been hurriedly shifted into an online format.

What’s clear is that many of these developments are here to stay because they work well. When online courses work well it is because they have been designed from the ground up with the learner in mind, and are not simply an online adaptation of a program intended to be taught in person.

Flexibility, too, is a key benefit of studying online – and one that is particularly important when it comes to business degrees. Not everyone can commit to taking one or two years away from their job to study for a master’s or an MBA, so the option of studying when, where and how you like is more popular than ever for prospective MBA students.

Under the backdrop of this global shift towards remote working, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management has just launched a Global Online MBA to meet the needs of the modern day MBA candidate. It looks likely to be one of the best online MBAs on the market.

“The WHU Global Online MBA equips students with knowledge and skills which they can implement right away in their daily work.”
Rebecca Winkelmann, Program Director, WHU Global Online MBA


Key Features of the WHU Global Online MBA

  •  Study a program optimised for online study thanks to innovative teaching methodologies such as (project) group work, case studies, simulations and lectures
  • Receive the same triple-accredited qualification as the traditional WHU MBA from one of Germany’s top-ranked business schools
  • Benefit from unmatched access to knowledge and idea exchange with WHU’s global alumni network of 4,500 in 65 countries
  • Achieve your career goals thanks to WHU’s top-ranked career services, who will be on hand every step of your MBA journey with bespoke advice and guidance
  • Go at your own pace by completing the program in 18 or 36 months, or even complete core modules individually over the course of five years


Course Content

Without accommodation costs, visas and a full-time commitment to the course, the best online MBAs can be more accessible than the traditional presencial MBA. It means that you will be joining peers from all over the world and from various backgrounds in live interactive classes and asynchronous sessions led by an international faculty of business experts.

Rebecca Winkelmann, WHU Global Online MBA Program Director, believes that experience in designing online learning experiences and a thorough overview of timings during online classes are two crucial characteristics of any successful online course.

“What may work in a classroom will likely require stricter time management online. Both aspects come down to a more detailed script of what happens when, which methodology is being used, and when to create interaction between faculty and students as well as among students themselves.”

The WHU Global Online MBA places a particular focus on personal growth and leadership development, using leadership lectures and one-on-one coaching to teach you the fundamentals of both leading and being led. Meanwhile, the opportunity to improve your communication skills in an online setting is especially valuable in this post-COVID world of Zoom meetings and remote working.

Although the course is online, you will also have the opportunity to meet your coursemates in-person by attending the five day mid-term challenge at WHU’s Düsseldorf campus in Germany. Optional modules can be studied abroad to further broaden your global perspective in one of the best online MBAs out there.


What Comes Next?

for the WHU Global Online MBA open on August 3, 2020 for the next intake in October 2020.

Virtual Information Sessions will take place on August 6, August 27 and September 10, 2020. You will be able to chat with the admissions team directly to ask them any questions you might have about the course.

Register online to secure your place.

To find out more about the program, visit the WHU website

Sam Dorman: From USA Diving National Team to an MBA at the Miami Herbert Business School

Sam Dorman

Sam Dorman – Miami Herbert Business School MBA 

“In my eyes it [the key to passing the GMAT] is taking the attributes from sports of creating goals, setting a plan and working towards the execution. That execution comes down to the day-to-day and if you can perfect your day-to-day then you won’t have to focus on the end goal, because the end goal will happen.”

Sam Dorman

In a new podcast series from The Modern MBA, current & former MBA candidates explain how they are making the transition from typically unorthodox MBA sectors such as the arts, healthcare and hospitality into business. In the latest podcast, Sam Dorman explains how he has made the jump from being part of Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics to studying for an MBA at The University of Miami Herbert Business School. Although it may initially seem like a peculiar move to make, his reasoning for the shift becomes clear by the end of the podcast.

Sam had been competing on the international circuit for Team USA since 2013, and in 2016 won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in the synchronised diving event. However, ongoing injury concerns eventually meant he was forced to call time on his diving career. Although for many that may have been earth-shattering, for Sam it was simply a chance for a fresh start in his life to follow a recently-acquired passion of his.

During his time as a professional athlete Sam’s interest in business had been piqued by his attempts to seek endorsements to support his career. That interest was further ignited after the end of his career, when he started to learn about how a business works during his time at a boating company. Sam goes on to describe in detail why he chose Miami Herbert Business School, the best thing about studying for an MBA so far and how he has managed to zone in on a future career path post-graduation.

by Nick Harland

Listen to the podcast:



Miami Herbert Business School

Contact MBA student ambassador Sam Dorman