Gry Glenne (Denmark/Norway) – International University of Monaco
Would you kindly share your name where you’re from and where you did your MBA?
Can you walk us through your career path to date?
Yes. Actually, the whole business concept came about a little bit unexpectedly. I was in my early 20s – and I like to refer to it as a little bit of a quarter-life crisis if you can call it that.
I was living in the States at the time and doing something quite [different] and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to do something for myself and then my sister, she was doing business school at this time, and I was not. And she found this opening in the market. She lived in Norway, and she saw that there was no one who specialized in luxury weddings. So when she kind of reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, you know, I am looking for a partner.’ I was like, ‘Whoa, okay, this sounds interesting.’ And we started a luxury wedding company!
About a year and a half, two years later, we launched our company and it’s funny because in Norway, no one really knew what wedding planning was. So it wasn’t like we came in and started a company that everyone was just, yeah, you know, another one. I think there was one other company in Norway that did wedding planning, but they did not specialize in luxury weddings and they weren’t really known like that. It was very interesting – when you start a new business, you have to do literally everything. So suddenly, you’re writing these contracts yourself and you start finding all these ways to make it work. And I really love that. Then when we started this, I also decided to then do my bachelor’s in Business Administration, just as a side thing – didn’t really think I would do much with it. The business started taking off and things were going well, we decided to do [fewer] weddings, but bigger weddings. Then my sister wanted children, so when she did that, I decided to do my MBA. (1:21)
Why the International University of Monaco of all schools?
We had a wedding that took us to Monaco a few years back. Also, I did see that Monaco is very small so I was thinking, for networking, Monaco is a great place to be because you get close to people naturally. It is a great networking place. (5:20)
So you recently graduated, what was your MBA experience like?
I really saw very quickly that this MBA was all about what you wanted to make of it. So I was like, ‘Okay, well, I want to make the most of it.’ I want to get everything, all the information I can take. From having had my business for many years, I knew that there were spots where I was not the strongest and where I wanted to get stronger. And ironically enough, you know, say, the finance parts, I was always like, ‘Oh, I don’t think, I’m not that good at it.’ But that was kind of the place I started shining. And here you have this amazing environment and these amazing professors that really want to spend their time trying to teach you and use their experiences. (6:04)
From your perspective, what would you say is the one thing that you took from the MBA that you think has helped you with your new path, both in terms of Ph.D. applications, and also looking at the role that you’re in currently as well?
You can learn a lot here in life, you might not have the skills already, or you might not have the knowledge – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get it and sometimes you need an MBA, sometimes you just need to read a book, sometimes you need to talk to someone who’s already done that, and sometimes you just need some time for it all to kind of come together. And I think that the MBA really taught me that because it really showed me that because you had some things that you just had to do very quickly because you had certain deadlines, you had certain projects – but then you also had to work with a lot of different people and not all your assignments or group projects were as great, so you learn very quickly you need to adapt, but that doesn’t mean that you need to give up or you need to stop.
Whatever you’re doing you just need to find that way and I feel that’s what I’ve taken from this MBA. Going forward, the whole restructuring and commercialization that I didn’t have much knowledge in coming from the wedding industry, that doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, if you are an entrepreneur by heart, a lot of this is about structuring business, how to grow a company, how to deal with people. There’s a lot of similar things going throughout the different industries – and the same with the Ph.D. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that, just do the first step, and the rest will follow. (14:05)