Tracy Ann deSouza: The things not advertised in the brochure are the most spectacular

Tracy Ann deSouza RSM MBA

Tracy Ann deSouza PortugalRotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM)

Tracy Ann Dsouza from Goa, India had four years of work experience in retail and investment banking and had volunteered for a year and a half as a teacher at a school for underprivileged children in India when she decided to move to the Netherlands for her MBA at RSM.

She shared more about her choice and how the things not always advertised in the brochure – the culture, the relationships and friendships- the things that changed her life – have been most spectacular.


Why did you want to do an MBA?

I wanted to move to Europe to work as I realized the work culture is “more me.” The field that I wished to go into – impact investing – is very big in Europe. I specifically picked RSM for my MBA because I really like the culture of the school and I like the curriculum. They focus heavily on sustainability which I like and appreciate and is what I would like my career to be in future.


You mentioned you visited the school.

I visited the school before I joined. I had an appointment with someone from the Admissions Team. They showed me around the campus and the school building which I really liked. I attended a class the next day and also had lunch with a few current students. I asked them a lot of questions relevant to me. I really liked the atmosphere, everyone was very helpful, very nice and very supportive. This is the kind of culture I wanted for my MBA. I did not want a school that is overly competitive. And, to be honest, it’s the Netherlands. It is a very cool place to live. People here are very direct and open and honest; it has a great work-life balance and people speak English very easily.


How was the transition from the MBA into your job?

It was not particularly easy but that is only because the kind of work I wanted to do which is impact investment is very niche. Although the Netherlands has some of the highest number of companies in that space, a lot of times not knowing the Dutch industry proved to be a disadvantage. Furthermore, I wanted to switch from what I was doing before namely middle office and operations to transition into the investment and front-end side of things. I had to find a way through risk management which is like the middle ground between middle and front office. This is how I could get into a company that does what I ultimately want to do where I can eventually move into investments. From my first interview, I told my employer that I will not be in the department forever and that I want to ultimately move into the investment side of things. They have been super supportive in my plans. So, it was a challenge, but not a very big challenge. I finished my MBA in December and I had a few interviews lined up and by mid-February I already signed my contract and was ready to start working.

Tracy Ann deSouza RSM MBA

Tell us about the Personal Leadership Development Course at RSM.

The course is one of the unique things about RSM. The focus is to help us learn more about ourselves. We start with learning about ourselves – we are asked questions that require us to introspect. We then move to the next step which is our teams. We are assigned teams and they make it a point to assign the most diverse team you could possibly get. People from all over the world, different kinds of professional backgrounds and different personalities. It is all about how you interact with such a vast, diverse group of people. You get feedback from your team about things they like and maybe don’t like. For me that was a very big eye opener – I felt like I knew myself, but some of the feedback I received was not what I imagined at all.

What is the return on investment of the MBA?

I think it is immense. It is not just my salary as soon as I finished the MBA but it is the personality I have developed and the ability to rise within an organization and do more with my skills that will take me so many more places than if I had not done the MBA. I wouldn’t say the ROI should be something you consider tangible in the short term. Of course, salary is important, but at the same time the growth you experience in your personality is the real return. I already have new opportunities coming up three months into my current role and it is not because of my knowledge – my personality, spirit and energy is such that they think I am capable of handling a lot more and I think that in itself is a great return on investment.


When she started looking for an MBA, Tracy Ann was drawn by the ethos of RSM: a force for positive change. This proved to be true for her in all aspects of the MBA experience. If you listen to her journey, she is certainly set to carry this forward in her post MBA role and beyond.


Keen to learn more about studying an MBA degree at Rotterdam School of Management RSM? Reach out to Tracy Ann directly and ask her anything:

Tracy Ann deSouza RSM MBA

by Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp

Violeta Todorova: the ROI of an INSEAD MBA

Violeta Todorova BulgariaUSAINSEAD Business School


You cannot put a price on friendship and community – the ROI of an INSEAD MBA

Born in Bulgaria, raised in California, studying her undergrad and then working in London, Violeta Todorova was eager to take the next step in her international career. She realized that she needed to diversify her skills set to be able to diversify her opportunities and an MBA seemed the natural fit to enable that. After weighing up several options, she decided to enroll in the INSEAD MBA.

She told us why she has no regrets about going to INSEAD and how the MBA gave her so much more return on investment than she anticipated.

Why did you want to do an MBA?

I would say there are three primary reasons. The first one was expanding my network, not only professionally but meeting people from all over the world and extending the number of people that I know. The second one is career switching. I wanted to do a transition outside of marketing and advertising as my whole career had been in a very specific part of an industry. The third reason is opening my perspective. Getting to live and work in regions that I had not been to before and taking the time to explore new things and figure out what the next step would look like for me. It was all about pushing my personal growth story.


Tell us about your choice for INSEAD

I chose INSEAD Business School because of the one-year format. I wanted to career transition to something that was similar to what I was doing before thus I felt I did not need a summer internship to get to where I wanted to be professionally. The diversity also attracted me to INSEAD. When I visited some other schools, I felt that they were very locally focused in terms of their work experience, their ambitions and general student body. Having lived and worked in so many different countries and speaking three languages it felt natural to be surrounded by people that are similar to me. Furthermore, the cross-continental exposure Insead offered with their multiple campuses would give me maximum exposure to live in various parts of the world.


What has stood out about the INSEAD students?

I think beyond simply just the student clubs, one thing Insead students excel at is taking the initiative to organize things. We do have the official clubs which can be broken down into professional and non-professional clubs. Professional clubs are geared towards getting your CVs out to potential employers, organizing coffee chats with alumni that work in industries etc. Non-professional clubs cater to interests of students such as sports and cultural activities. Secondary to the official clubs is the initiative students take to organize sports tournaments, personal trips, showcasing native countries and passions.


There is always somebody at INSEAD that is interested in something and out of five hundred students you will find at least another ten students that are interested in the same thing. It amazed me how many small groups formed and how powerful they were in spreading something they were passionate about to the rest of the community.


What has been the biggest challenge on the program?

Prioritizing and finding time! You have so many things you could be doing from academically to socially to trying to sleep and trying to exercise and remain healthy that prioritizing what to do when is extremely hard. You are always calculating trade-offs on where you are going to spend your time and how you are going to spend each individual period. Especially with INSEAD being a ten-month program compared to some two-year programs it forces you to prioritize early on and constantly check your priorities to make sure you are hitting the objectives you wanted coming into the program.

What is the ROI of the MBA?

The INSEAD program is a one-year program which helps from an investment perspective since you only need the funds to support you for one year. Depending on your personal career goals, the MBA can definitely help. My salary doubled compared to what I was earning before the program. From an investment perspective it definitely helps me personally and I think I will continue to see the pay-off in the next five to ten years. However, ROI is really hard to calculate when it comes to MBAs because you gain so much in terms of friendship and community. To me, that is what I came to INSEAD for. The friends I made at INSEAD, having that network and group of people that gives you constant feedback and support, you cannot put a price on that.


Violeta knew that an MBA was the right choice for her and that it would be money well spent. After her program, she is even more convinced of the fact. She sees the experience from an intrinsic point of view – the ROI is longtime and it compounds over time and only gets stronger the longer you are out of your program. Judging by her journey so far, for Violeta, this will most certainly be the case.


Keen to learn more about studying an MBA degree at INSEAD? Reach out to Violeta directly and ask her anything:

Violeta Todorova INSEAD

by Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp

Eugenio Galvan: How the Nyenrode MBA changed him from a technical expert to an all-round business professional


Eugenio Galvan Guzman Mexico – Nyenrode Business University


“I needed to gain the human touch”

Eugenio Galvan Guzman was working as a project engineer in his native Mexico, very involved in the operations and technical side of things. Trained as a mechanical engineer, he enjoyed his job, all the physics and engineering, but he felt a little bit stuck.

“The projects were kind of cold. As engineers, we tend to only focus on results and I was lacking the human and administrative part of business”

Solid reason for him to enroll in an MBA to complement his technical experience with more business acumen and a change in mindset. 

We asked him to share more about his MBA journey.

How did you choose your MBA?

It was an interesting process. When I started looking for options, I was lucky to be able to speak to people from Nyenrode Business University directly – they were in my hometown for a couple of days doing interviews and explaining the program. Being directly in contact with them was one of the main sparks of me pursuing the MBA. I did see other options but in the end the Netherlands offered me better development and network. Nyenrode also made the process very simple.


Can you tell us about one course that stood out during your program?

Meet the CEO -this course is mentioned in the brochure but it is so much more than you can imagine. You get to meet CEOs from different types of industries and you get to pitch an idea or a new revenue stream or something that picks their brains to them. I have participated in two of these courses and it is an interesting journey because you have to come up with something that the CEOs have not heard of which is very hard. You get exposed to every single part of the business. You do not focus only on a specific operation or task but engage in brain storming and you can make things happen. These courses have provided me with some of the main take-aways of my MBA.


What is the Nyenrode community like?

It is very interesting to see what the professors bring to the discussions in class and how everybody from different countries have different opinions, or sometimes the same opinions. Comparing these different backgrounds will help us in future to understand how culture impacts things. The professors always enhance and facilitate the discussions between topics and cultures.

From my application stage, the staff has always been very helpful and made me feel comfortable. They gave me the sense that I am not just a number. Their support for all logistics like housing, visa, application etc. has always been there and while on the program you can approach them with any questions or concerns or comments you might have.

We have the biz lounge – a little cafeteria where you can meet people and have the extra value of not just having classes together but getting to talk to people and hearing different point of views. There is also an incubator which have some startups that you can talk to and in the end, you get a lot of practical and theoretical help. You build friendships and community and that is what it is all about.


How do you view the financial investment of your MBA?

The financial investment needed for this type of education is obviously a big investment. There are ways to bring down the cost – you just have to be prepared and conscious and explore the different funding opportunities there are. For me, I was looking for something not super high in cost that would be beneficial for me in the long run. I really needed what this education gives me as quick as possible. I did not want to lose a lot of time out of work, so with this MBA I will get what I want within one year. The investment is completely worth it:  I feel like I am already getting my money back through the experience and development on the program and on top of that I get exposed to the job market in the Netherlands which is what I am looking for. My plan is to stay here.

What is your advice to other Nyenrode applicants?

I personally think you should apply to the Nyenrode MBA if you are looking for ways to get into the European job market. Doors open for you to be in the Netherlands and to understand the Dutch business practices and be connected to the whole of Europe. And, obviously, to gain the academic and practical knowledge through the MBA. I have absolutely no regrets. Despite the Covid-19 situation, the Nyenrode MBA has been a very rich experience from an academic, professional and personal perspective. I feel much more prepared to work in different types of industries and am excited about what is coming next.

Getting an all-round business perspective that will see his technical skills complemented with a business base, managerial mindset and the all-important human touch is what Eugenio was after when embarking on the Nyenrode MBA. Judging by our conversation, he gained exactly that.


Keen to learn more about studying an MBA degree at Nyenrode Business University? Reach out to Eugenio directly and ask him anything:


Eugenio Galvan Nyenrode

by Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp