Tracy Ann deSouza – Rotterdam 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.
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:
by Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp